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Published May 21, 2009, 08:21 AM

Our View: Sen. Johnson has the right idea for wind

It’s hardly news anymore to announce that a comprehensive grid must be put in place before South Dakota can live up to its potential as a major player in the wind energy industry.
We know we have wind here in South Dakota. Plenty of it.

By: Staff, The Daily Republic

It’s hardly news anymore to announce that a comprehensive grid must be put in place before South Dakota can live up to its potential as a major player in the wind energy industry.

We know we have wind here in South Dakota. Plenty of it.

This past week accentuates our status as a wind producer, and the fact is that South Dakota ranks No. 4 in the nation in wind potential. Yet even as we have plenty of breezes and certainly plenty of space to erect wind turbines to catch them, we are limited in our ability to send the resulting energy to metropolitan marketplaces. Also, we are hindered by the costs associated with building that infrastructure.

Again, this is a problem that has been discussed ad infinitum, here and elsewhere.

Recently, however, U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., told reporters that he is pushing legislation that would A) reform the process for siting interstate electricity lines to reduce the likelihood that lines crossing several states are hampered by delays; and B) direct federal energy regulators to develop rules to ensure each region of the country is paying its share of the costs to build interstate lines. At present, residents of the East and South are not paying their fair share to have wind-generated energy delivered to them from places such as the Midwest.

Johnson said he hopes both A and B can be included in the energy bill, which will go before Congress later this year.

Both are good ideas, but we especially agree with the latter. If America truly wants to realize its wind-energy potential, the states with the wind shouldn’t be expected to shoulder all of the costs that come with transmission.

Putting the financial burden on a few states will only hinder the process, and won’t achieve the ultimate desired effect; i.e., true wind-energy development.

This idea is on the right track.

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