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A new policy brief by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance says that removing barriers to owning and investing in renewable energy projects can pave the way for energy independence. John Farrell, author of "Broadening Wind Energy Ownership by Changing Federal Incentives," says lack of a federal tax incentive and security regulations make local ownership difficult.

A bill by Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., would make the federal tax incentive for wind power available to up to a third of all Americans.

"Removing this barrier to energy ownership makes smaller projects more accessible to the local community and draws local investors back into the process," says Farrell. "Plus, ownership brings more economic benefits to a community than an absentee firm putting up a turbine."

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