Recent Press Releases

Thune Announces Progress on WAPA Wind-Hydro Study

Study Plan Will Be Open for Comment

August 14, 2007

Sioux Falls, S.D. —  Today, Senator John Thune made an announcement regarding the coordination of wind power in central South Dakota and the use of hydroelectric power generated by the Missouri River. To better understand the potential of coordinating these two sources of energy, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) has been charged with completing a Wind-Hydro Integration Study.

Thune said, "I'm pleased to announce that WAPA contracted with Stanley Consultants earlier this year to conduct a wind-hydro integration feasibility study. This study will be an important step in the process of coordinating wind and hydro power sources to complement one another."

This study, required under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, will assess the feasibility of integrating wind energy generated on tribal lands within the Upper Great Plains Missouri River Basin for use by WAPA in meeting its power obligations. Stanley Consultants has offices in Englewood, CO and Muscatine, IA and will be coordinating data collection efforts with several South Dakota power entities including Rushmore Electric, Heartland Consumers Power District, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, as well as several South Dakota tribal entities via the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy.

The draft of the Work Plan for the study will soon be published in the Federal Register and is expected to be open for public comment by mid-September. The final Wind-Hydro Study is expected to be complete by the summer of 2008.

"South Dakota has abundant sources of wind energy that can provide clean renewable energy for our nation," Thune said. "If it is possible to tap South Dakota's strong winds for electric power generation and utilize our hydroelectric dams when the winds are low, it would mark a major development in South Dakota's power generation. I am pleased that WAPA is moving forward with this study, and I look forward to reviewing its findings."

Senator Thune has been a consistent supporter and advocate of promoting wind power development through the use of the renewable energy Production Tax Credit and Clean Renewable Energy Bonds. Senator Thune has introduced legislation to extend both of these incentives and is working to ensure both are included as part of a larger energy bill the Congress expects to approve later this year. Also, earlier this summer Senator Thune successfully offered an amendment to the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007 to create Clean Energy Corridors. If enacted, Clean Energy Corridors will strengthen transmission infrastructure that services areas with high concentration of wind, solar, and geothermal energy.