Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published April 10, 2009, 07:51 AM

Our View: Wind energy here to stay in S. Dakota

When it comes to wind-energy development, South Dakotans have talked the talk for some time now.
We’ve discussed at length the merits of wind power. We’ve talked about the ample supply of wind that blows across the hills and prairies of central and eastern South Dakota. And we’ve lamented the lack of transmission ability to take this new power source — harnessed wind energy — to metropolitan markets that can most use it.

When it comes to wind-energy development, South Dakotans have talked the talk for some time now.

We’ve discussed at length the merits of wind power. We’ve talked about the ample supply of wind that blows across the hills and prairies of central and eastern South Dakota. And we’ve lamented the lack of transmission ability to take this new power source — harnessed wind energy — to metropolitan markets that can most use it.

South Dakotans now are getting the chance to walk the walk.

A 34-tower wind farm recently went into full operation near Wessington Springs, taking advantage of the steady breezes that float along the high ridge of hills there and turning it into usable energy.

Atop the high bluffs along the Missouri River at Chamberlain, two wind towers churn against the gales that blow through that valley each day.

In Forestburg, a single turbine spins in the breeze, part of “Wind for Schools,” a program designed to educate students about alternative energy.

Here in Mitchell, our local technical college this fall will begin a new wind-energy education program, preparing students for what we expect will be a burgeoning industry.

And in Howard, not only are there two turbines capturing the wind on that city’s west side, but a wind-turbine business has sprung up to service turbine blades.

This week, county commissioners in two areas near Mitchell are considering the possibilities of a large wind farm coming to their neck of the woods. Prairie Winds, a subsidiary of Basin Electric Power, wants to develop a large wind farm at one of two locations in the region — either north of White Lake in Aurora, Brule and Jerauld counties, or south of Winner, in Tripp County.

The possibility of 100 wind turbines jutting from the prairies around these parts was nonexistent until only recently. Suddenly, it seems to be the talk of the decade, and we think it’s rightly so.

Although we do have concerns about wind towers dominating the beautiful vistas of South Dakota, we cannot help but think that wind energy can do so much good for Americans of the future.

Large wind farms — and the millions of dollars they bring with them — are a sort of economic stimulant for rural areas. They provide jobs, pay taxes and pay rent to the landowners who host them.

And, of course, they provide a clean source of power to a country that’s starving for energy.

Wind energy development is no longer a futuristic dream. It’s good to see this state now taking an active role in making windenergy a reality.

Tags: