Wind Energy Development Lacking in Western ND | VideoBy Evan Kruegel | 1/29/2013
"The best wind resources are right through the center of the state. That doesn`t mean wind projects can`t be located elsewhere, but the best are right through the center of the state. They can start producing at 8 miles an hour, but they aren`t able to reach full generating capacity until wind speeds are 25 to 30 miles per hour”, says Basin Electric spokesman Daryl Hill.
Another aspect hindering the growth of wind turbines out west is on again off again tax policies instituted by the federal government. Tax incentives have been offered to developers installing wind energy for over 10 years, but those incentives have expired and then been renewed 4 times over that span, including just over a month ago. Developers were forced to finish projects before the end of 2012, unsure if the incentives would be available after December 31st. Just before the new year, the government extended the incentives again, by including a wind production tax credit in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Those incentives will expire again in 2014, leaving developers with minimal time to research and build before tax incentives expire.
"Before people develop wind projects, there`s at last a couple of years of meteorological data that has to be gathered to tell you how much wind resource is there. Whether there would be enough time in a year to do that? That’s a darn good question... I do not know”, says Hill.
Electric users across North Dakota may benefit from wind energy production, but until a more permanent tax incentive system is put in place, that energy will most likely not be coming from the Western third of the “That energy will most likely not be coming from the Western third of the state”