Wind Energy Potential | VideoJennifer Joas | 6/26/2012
North Dakota has 1,400 megawatts of wind power installed, but it is capable of much more.
"The potential is amazing for wind energy," said Geronimo Development Director Justin Pickar.
One of the challenges standing in the way is funding. Currently there is a federal production tax credit that provides 22 cents per megawatt hour to reduce the price of wind projects. That tax credit needs to be re-authorized every few years, which leaves wind energy companies feeling uncertain about long-term projects.
"It`s very challenging for us to continue to move forward and have a future pipeline in the wind industry when you have your incentives running out," Pickar said.
"We have constantly a roller coaster or a boom and bust cycle. And that`s not good because the industry really needs certainty to be able to do the most cost effective and efficient wind development," said Wind on the Wires Executive Director Beth Soholt.
Another challenge is infrastructure. Soholt says the Midwest needs 17 more transmission lines, but they will take another five to six years to build.
"It`s really about preparing the marketplace to be able to do additional wind power and then being able to transmit it out of the state of North Dakota."
Pickar`s company has been trying to overcome these challenges as they`ve spent nearly four years on a wind project near Courtney, North Dakota. But he doesn`t expect it to be complete for another two to three years.
Another factor in building wind farms is the price of steel.