Recent Press Releases

Thune/Dorgan Measure Promotes Wind Energy

Budget Framework Includes Endorsement of Production Tax Credit Extension

March 14, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  Last night, as part of the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget debate in the Senate, the bipartisan wind energy amendment (S.Amdt. 4200) offered by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Senator John Thune (R-SD) was added to the Senate budget resolution. The amendment provides the authority within the budget for Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for up to five years, which is critical for the continued development of wind energy.

"South Dakota continues to lead the country in wind potential, and yet lags behind its neighbors when it comes to energy generated from that wind," said Senator John Thune. "The wind energy industry is poised to grow, but an extension of the PTC is needed to avoid the boom and bust cycles. I will continue to work to expand the wind energy industry in South Dakota and I believe a long-term extension of the PTC is a necessary component of moving this industry forward. There are companies interested in putting our wind resources to work, but progress will not happen without a continuation of the PTC."

Senator Thune is also the primary sponsor of the Wind Energy Development Act of 2007, which would extend the current PTC through 2012.

"South Dakota could and should be a national leader in producing electricity harnessed through our abundant wind supply," Thune said.

Currently, the existing PTC incentive of 2 cents per kilowatt hour is scheduled to expire at the end of 2008. Senator Thune and other wind energy leaders in the Senate are working to extend the PTC so that wind energy developers have certainty when it comes to future projects both in South Dakota and across the country.

Michael C. Robinson, Deputy Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, has said South Dakota is capable of producing 566 GW of electrical power from wind, which is the equivalent of 52% 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.