Senator John ThuneThe cold South Dakota winter may be drawing to a close, but regardless of the temperature, South Dakotans can count on plenty of windy days. Wind is an ever-present reality in South Dakota, and I believe wind energy can be a permanent part of America’s long term clean, renewable energy strategy. This is why I have cosponsored the bipartisan Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act of 2008, which would extend the renewable energy production tax credit for one year.
An extension of the renewable energy production tax credit would allow our state to attract a number of new wind energy projects. During meetings with our state’s wind energy producers, they have made it clear that an extension of the tax credit is critically important to their plans for future investment in our state. To provide the certainty necessary to make investment decisions for the coming year, the Senate should act quickly on this bipartisan plan to expand clean, renewable energy.
Wind energy production is a developing industry, and tax incentives are needed to spur growth and create jobs. Currently, the existing production tax credit incentive of 2 cents per kilowatt hour is scheduled to expire at the end of 2008. It is especially important that Congress extends the production tax credit so that wind energy developers have certainty in planning for future projects both in South Dakota and across the country.
According to an official at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, South Dakota is capable of producing 566 GW of electrical power from wind, which is the equivalent of 52 percent of the nation's electricity demand. NREL's estimates indicate that the wind energy potential in South Dakota is twice as large as states such as Montana, Minnesota, and Wyoming.
I believe that South Dakota’s windy prairies are part of the long-term energy solution, and I am truly excited for the future of this growing industry.