A rural wind energy development revolving loan fund is established as an account in the special revenue fund in the state treasury. The commissioner of management and budget shall credit to the account the amounts authorized under this section and appropriations and transfers to the account. Earnings, such as interest, dividends, and any other earnings arising from fund assets, must be credited to the account.
The rural wind energy development revolving loan fund is created to provide financial assistance, through partnership with local owners and communities, in developing community wind energy projects that meet the specifications of section 216B.1612, subdivision 2, paragraph (h).
Money in the fund is appropriated to the commissioner of commerce, and may be used to make loans to qualifying owners of wind energy projects, as defined in section 216B.1612, subdivision 2, paragraph (h), to assist in funding wind studies and transmission interconnection studies. The loans must be structured for repayment within 30 days after the project begins commercial operations or two years from the date the loan is issued, whichever is sooner. The commissioner may pay reasonable and actual costs of administering the loan program, not to exceed interest earned on fund assets.
A loan may not be approved for an amount exceeding $100,000. This limit applies to all money loaned to a single project or single entity, whether paid to one or more qualifying owners and whether paid in one or more fiscal years.
(a) Applications for a loan under this section must be made in a manner and on forms prescribed by the commissioner. Loans to eligible projects must be made in the order in which complete applications are received by the commissioner. Loan funds must be disbursed to an applicant within ten days of submission of a payment request by the applicant that demonstrates a payment due to the Midwest Independent System Operator. Interest payable on the loan amount may not exceed 1.5 percent per annum.
(b) A project is eligible for a loan under this program if:
(1) the project has completed an adequate interconnection feasibility study that indicates the project may be interconnected with system upgrades of less than ten percent of the estimated project costs;
(2) the project has a signed power purchase agreement with an electric utility or provides evidence that the project is under serious consideration for such an agreement by an electric utility;
(3) the ownership and structure of the project allows it to qualify as a community-based energy development (C-BED) project under section 216B.1612, and the developer commits to obtaining and maintaining C-BED status; and
(4) the commissioner has determined that sufficient funds are available to make a loan to the project.