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Study: Wind Providing More Than 10% of Total Power in SD

August 9, 2010

PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota is a national leader in wind power, according to a just-released national study. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is out with its 2009 edition of the Wind Technologies Market Report. It shows South Dakota, along with North Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, as states where wind is becoming a bigger player when it comes to electricity generation.

Mark Bolinger, who is a research scientist at Berkeley, says those are places where wind power is a substantial part of total electricity generated.

"The amount of wind installed in each of those states at the end of 2009, was sufficient to provide more than 10 percent of the electricity that's generated by all sources within those states."

Bolinger says the open landscape of parts of the Midwest and Great Plains make it ideal terrain for wind power projects.

He says there's also been an effect on renewable portfolio standards, meaning the amount of renewable energy utilities have to use as part of their power supply mix.

"If their overall sales decline, for example during a poor economy, then the amount of renewables that they have to provide will also go down."

Bolinger says longer-term projections looked at for the study indicate growth for domestic wind power in 2011 and 2012.

"Now, once you get beyond 2012, some of the major federal policies for wind power in the U.S. expire, or at least they're currently scheduled to expire, so moving beyond 2012, it's just really hard to predict at this point."

The study found that more of the equipment being used in wind projects in the U.S. is being built domestically. It also determined that 2010 will be a more challenging year for wind power due to ripple effects from the recession, including lower power demand and lower wholesale electricity prices.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - SD