Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today commented on the Wind-Hydro Integration study released by the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). The study analyzes the potential integration of wind power in central South Dakota and the use of hydroelectric power generated by the Missouri River.

“South Dakota has tremendous energy resources in the forms of wind and water, and the combination of these resources would be a huge benefit to consumers,” said Thune. “While the draft report represents the beginning of this process, I am heartened by the integration potential that exists in our region.

“South Dakota has made tremendous advances in developing our state’s wind energy potential, and I believe this study has the potential to push our efforts even further.”

The WAPA study calls for the creation of a demonstration project to test the large-scale feasibility of wind-hydro integration along the Missouri River.

Currently, 56 percent of electricity generated in South Dakota stems from hydroelectric sources. However, electrical output can vary greatly as a result of fluctuations in annual precipitation in our region. Total energy production for the six main stem power plants along the Missouri River in 2008 is only forecasted to be 4.9 billion kilowatt hours, which is roughly half of average annual output.

“In an integrated system, wind power has the potential to fill in the gaps when water levels are low and hydroelectric output is limited. Similarly, when wind generation is down, hydroelectric can be a reliable form of base load power.”

The WAPA study suggests that wind-hydro integration projects could be built on tribal lands along the Missouri, which could create significant economic development opportunities.

A copy of the study can be found at:

WAPA will hold a public meeting on the Draft Feasibility Study Report on January 13, 2009 at 1:00 PM MT at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota. The study is open for a comment period until 4:00 PM MT, February 13, 2009 and written comments may be submitted to:

Mr. Robert J. Harris, Regional Manager
Upper Great Plains Region
Western Area Power Administration
2900 4th Avenue North
Billings, MT 59101–1266
or e-mail