Library filed under Energy Policy from South Dakota
Consolidated Edison Development gets four days to make its case next week before the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, regarding NorthWestern Energy’s position on avoided costs for power that ConEd wants to supply from wind farms in Brule, Aurora and Sanborn counties.
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.
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.
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.
South Dakota landowners interested in leasing their property to wind-energy developers should have an interest in bills to be presented to the State Affairs Committee on Thursday afternoon. Three bills that the State Affairs Committee has scheduled for testimony ...State Rep. Mitch Fargen, D-Flandreau, has proposed adding several new requirements and restrictions to state law in HB 1268 that are intended to protect landowners.
But reining in greenhouse gases globally could end up costing the Miiller's - and everyone else in the state - an extra $38 a month in higher electric bills. It's but one possible consequence for South Dakotans in the discussion about the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the landmark climate legislation being considered by Congress.
South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Dusty Johnson said the general consensus is that South Dakota should move faster to bring certain industries — wind farms, for instance — to the state. The amount of channeled wind power in the state has increased 700 percent in the last 18 months, Johnson said, and work is continuing to lay groundwork for new wind farm projects.
Facing a May 1 legal deadline for a permit decision, the state Public Utilities Commission gave all sides 48 hours Tuesday to identify where they disagree on the proposed Buffalo Ridge II wind-power project. Iberdrola Renewables needs a construction and operation permit from the South Dakota regulatory agency for the $620 million project, which the Spain-based company wants to start building yet this year and have in operation possibly by December 2010. ..."We have not even had a hearing yet," Rogers said. "It appears to me that it would be premature for the commission to approve this stipulation at this point, because what this stipulation actually is findings of fact and conclusions of law."
Depending on whom you talk to, emerging plans to build 765,000 volt transmission lines to bring power from the "Saudi Arabia of wind" in the Dakotas to population centers in the Midwest and East Coast are either vital to the nation or a boondoggle waiting to happen. "This state has vast resources it can't use without building new power lines," says Mr. Nelson, gesturing at lines on a grid map at the East River Electric Power Cooperative in Madison, where he is manager.
The state Senate refused Monday to re-open debate on Sen. Frank Kloucek's proposed tax break for noncommercial wind-energy systems. The legislation failed on the first attempt on Friday, when Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard broke a 17-17 tie by voting against it. An attempt to reconsider the bill on Monday fell short 17-18, as Sen. Jim Bradford, R-Pine Ridge, switched from yes to no.
Wind energy is not an alternative for baseload generation, and the Big Stone II plant will meet Minnesota's increasing demand for baseload electricity. There still is a place for wind energy. The co-owners plan to purchase or install 850 megawatts of wind energy by 2015 in addition to constructing Big Stone II. But Minnesota will need baseload power - power that is available 24 hours a day/seven days a week - and wind energy cannot meet that reliability standard. ...Baseload generation is needed to help justify the million-dollars-a-mile that it costs to construct these transmission lines.
A study conducted by South Dakota State University students to determine the feasibility of wind energy in Charles Mix County has determined that personal wind generators are the way to go. The group of engineering students, which was hired by Charles Mix County, presented their results during Friday's Agricultural Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Workshop at the Wagner High School Auditorium. According to Charles Mix County Commissioner Red Allen, transmission issues factored heavily into the group's decision. ..."They're recommending that people in Charles Mix County go with small wind generators for their homes," he said. "You can get one that produces 800 kilowatts per month for $12,000 to $14,000." Allen expects the group to present its complete results at a set of future meetings in the area.
The concept of wind energy is viewed by state and civic leaders as either a good thing or a bad thing, Public Utilities Commissioner Dusty Johnson said, something he hopes to change when he addresses a group of officials from several counties today. "A lot of people believe that wind power is sort of a ‘silver bullet' that is going to create tremendous economic development and prosperity for South Dakota," Johnson said. "(Others say) that wind power is ‘fool's gold' - that it's expensive, that the wind doesn't blow when it needs to, and that wind power has the effect of raising energy prices." ...The reality is that wind has some tremendous challenges. It's not the answer to our energy solutions in the country, but it is a part of the answer."
It's our turn now, Spearfish City Planner Jayna Watson said about when it comes to erecting wind generators within the city limits. Spearfish Planning and Zoning Commissioners met Wednesday to discuss the future of wind energy. This discussion comes on the heels of news that every school district in South Dakota received a letter from the Public Utilities Commission requesting administrators to consider constructing wind generators on their property. Watson explained that it is part of an initiative to have 20 percent of South Dakota's energy come from wind power by 2030.
There is good news and bad news for South Dakota wind energy from six years of monitoring data. The state's wind resources have long ranked at or near the top in the U.S., though turbine construction has lagged states such as Minnesota and Iowa. The Wind Resource Assessment Network confirms the potential is high, and has even been underestimated in some places. The bad news is that peak wind speeds tend not to match up with peak demand. The assessment shows the highest wind speeds at 10 locations are at night and in the winter, whereas peak electricity use occurs during hot summer days. Future developments such as the wider use of plug-in electric cars could overcome those limitations, engineering professor Mike Ropp of South Dakota State University said in a news release. SDSU set up the wind assessment network, along with electric cooperatives and other groups.
The U.S. Senate has passed Amendment #1609, an energy transmission infrastructure amendment to the recently passed energy bill. Proposed by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the infrastructure amendment would encourage the creation of energy corridors to facilitate the transference of wind energy generated in South Dakota to high-demand areas, according to Thune's office. "This legislation is critical to promoting the development of wind energy in South Dakota and around the country. As the windiest state in the nation, South Dakota will greatly benefit from these provisions. Today's vote in the Senate is a major step in the direction of clean, alternative energy," Thune says.
DEADWOOD, S.D. - Discussions over clean energy opened the 2007 Western Governors' Association's recent annual meeting in the Black Hills. Ten of the 19 governors were in attendance and elected officials from Canada were also present. Clean energy was not the only topic for the meeting June 10 - 12, but it took up a good portion of event. Carbon capturing and sequestration, or CCS - the process of capturing CO2 emissions for storage underground - was discussed at length. Western states have had to rely most recently on fossil fuel as a power source because a seven-year drought has substantially reduced the flow of water to hydroelectric dams on the Missouri River. The hydro power from those dams is allocated through the Western Area Power Administration.
Washington (AP) Senator John Thune is pushing provisions that would promote the development of wind energy as the Senate debates a new energy bill. The Senate today passed a Thune amendment that would promote the development of energy transmission infrastructure. It would promote the creation of "energy corridors" that would make it easier to transfer wind energy to high-demand areas. Thune says South Dakota already has the wind energy and that the missing link is the way to deliver the energy. Also today, the Senate Finance Committee passed energy legislation that would extend a production tax credit for wind energy. That bill will be added to the energy legislation being considered by the full Senate.
Renewable energy is proving to be an oasis of cooperation amid conflict in Congress, but technology probably will determine how long that lasts and how much South Dakota benefits. A U.S. Senate committee last week passed a measure by a 20-3 vote increasing ethanol production seven-fold. The majority included a proxy vote by Sen. Tim Johnson, according to a spokeswoman. Sen. John Thune proposed a major tax break for wind energy, and this week will hear arguments for increasing vehicle fuel-economy standards.
You can’t accuse John Koskan of thinking small. Koskan, a former Republican legislator from Wood, outlined a plan Wednesday to use money from the state cement plant sale and a temporary sales tax increase to build three power lines across South Dakota. The transmission lines would help South Dakota position itself as a leader in production and export of wind energy, Koskan told the Senate State Affairs Committee. Big vision, little support.