Library from South Dakota

They toil not, neither do they spin

Nothing illustrates the distance between the political culture and reality in modern governments so much as the billions invested in wind power. Presumably the purpose of such investments is to a) reduce greenhouse emissions and b) reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The plain fact that it increases both seems not to have bothered anyone.
10 Apr 2011

Fickle turbine winds

As a wind-turbine factory in Pipestone, Minn., lays off most of its workers, competitors in South Dakota and Iowa are booming. ...The stark differences among the three Midwestern manufacturers show how business can blow hot and cold in what is still a young and growing wind-power industry.
29 Dec 2010

Wind turbines becoming fixture of Wessington Springs horizon

All of the tax credits that help wind power become affordable to consumers are directed in hopes of having tax benefits, but the cooperatives don't pay taxes and haven't been eligible. But as part of the federal stimulus package, the Treasury Department created a renewable energy grant program that provided an opportunity for South Dakota Wind Partners to develop a community-based wind project so average people could invest.
20 Dec 2010

Harnessing wind to help economy

South Dakota's wind energy industry is confident that if given the right incentives, short-term production gains would be a boon for the state's economy, and in 15 years, the state could be producing 10 times as much energy from wind as it is today. ...Not everyone shares this optimistic view. "Your state is being used because it has land," was the blunt assessment of Lisa Linowes, executive director of the New Hampshire-based activist group Wind Action. Linowes said the wind industry's economic forecasts typically don't take into account higher utility rates or the unreliability of wind as a power source. That the industry has potential to expand is a testament to years of government preference, not merit, she said.
1 Dec 2010

Wind energy losing speed

if wind farms want to continue to grow at the rate they once were, someone's going to have to invest the money to pay for transmission lines. "You know we made that one leap. To make the next leap it's going to require not a hundred million dollar investment on transmission lines like we've been doing, but a multi-billion dollar investment in transmission," Johnson said.
4 Aug 2010

Aurora County to consider permit for wind farm

The Aurora County Board of Adjustments will have a public hearing at 8 p.m. Tuesday on a conditional-use permit to build about 53 wind turbines on portions of 17 sections in Patten Township owned by 28 landowners. The meeting will be at the county courthouse in Plankinton. Basin Electric submitted its application on May 24.
28 Jun 2010

Throw caution in the Wind?

According to data recorded from actual wind generators located from the Mexican border to the Canadian border through the high plains including Nebraska and wind information from Northwest's service area, the lights will be on only 30-40% of the time with much of it at partial power. Due to the fact that most renewable resources are intermittent their generation equipment becomes a duplication of electric generation cost and will increase the cost of providing electricity to all because the full capacity of our other resources must be in place and rotating at all times.
13 May 2010

Alliant official: Wind energy is not cheaper

On the day President Obama stopped at Siemens and touted advancements in wind energy, a hard truth came to light on the other side of town. Wind energy is not cheaper. At least that is what Tom Aller of Alliant Energy/Interstate Power and Light told a crowd at St. Mary's Parish Center in Fort Madison.
29 Apr 2010

Wind energy company to lay off workers at SD plant

A company that makes and repairs wind turbine blades said Wednesday it is laying off about one-third of the work force at its plant in the eastern South Dakota town of Howard. Knight & Carver Wind Group Inc. is laying off 16 of the Howard plant's 55 workers this week, and the firm might temporarily close the plant.
28 Apr 2010

Sage grouse disappearing in S.D.

While Eastern game bird aficionados are quick to announce that the ruffed grouse is the "king of upland birds," there is little doubt that the sage grouse can lay claim to the throne in the West. As the largest grouse species in North America, the Greater sage grouse is a massive bird, with males often exceeding 5 lbs in weight. Those who hunt the giant birds claim that a flushing sage grouse is akin to a small turkey taking flight at your feet.
21 Apr 2010

Tax breaks for wind projects saved as 3 vetoes overturned

The overrides included a bill that gave large wind energy projects in excess of $500 million in tax refunds not available to other industries. Rounds vetoed the bill in part because it singled out the wind energy industry ..."If we have an incentive program for economic development, I think it is important to have a program that is available across the board rather than picking winners and losers among industries."
30 Mar 2010

SD gov vetoes tax refund for wind energy projects

Gov. Mike Rounds vetoed a bill Friday that sought to modify South Dakota's tax refund program for wind farm development, saying it would have unfairly provided large wind farms a better deal than what was offered to other construction projects. But there's a good chance lawmakers will override the veto when they convene Monday for the final two days of this year's session, said House Republican Leader Bob Faehn of Watertown.
26 Mar 2010

S.D. making renewable energy incentives easier

South Dakota is trying to streamline its complex maze of tax incentives for small renewable energy projects. A bill that passed the Legislature last week rewrites state law to make the first $50,000 of the assessed value of a small to medium renewable energy property, or 70 percent of the assessed value if that figure is greater, exempt from real property tax.
15 Mar 2010

Wind farms get tax break

Lawmakers had approved legislation on Thursday reforming South Dakota's program of construction-tax refunds for large business projects and agriculture processing projects. That legislation included a $500 million limit on the project costs that could qualify for the refunds. But there were second thoughts overnight that the cap might send the wrong message to companies considering developing wind projects in South Dakota, according to Rep. Val Rausch, R-Big Stone City.
13 Mar 2010

Location of wind turbines blowing up storm

Certainly no one in South Dakota should be against wind power development, but the city and county also can't ignore concerns and questions raised by individuals who will live close to the modern-day version of the windmill. One or two turbines might not be an issue but what happens in months and years to come if more and more requests are made to allow individual wind turbines in residential areas?
17 Feb 2010

School Board: No wind turbine planned for Central High School

A small wind turbine won't be going up on Aberdeen public school grounds, school board members decided Monday. The board heard an update on the proposed wind turbine, part of the national Wind for Schools program, from Bob Pitz, the school district's director of operations. ...Assistant Superintendent Becky Guffin said the turbine wouldn't impact that many students. Financially, she said, the money could be better spent elsewhere.
16 Feb 2010
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