Department of Energy is Optimistic of US Wind Energy Future - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Department of Energy is Optimistic of US Wind Energy Future

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Amid concern over tax incentives, the low cost of wind turbines and the price of wind powered electricity, a federal agency is predicting a large increase in the amount of electricity generated from wind.

 "Since 2000 North Dakota has gone from virtually zero megawatts to 1700 megawatts," says Julie Fedorchak, one of three Public Service Commissioners, who oversee the permitting of wind farms. "Wind farm permitting has been quite brisk and I think you can see that across the state with the wind development that we have."

The development of wind energy could continue. In a new report the Department of Energy predicts wind could provide 20 percent of the country's electricity by 2030.

But there are hurdles to reaching this prediction. The federal tax credit for renewable energy production expired last year, so companies will no longer receive tax credits based on generation. On the other hand, policies like the proposed EPA rules on carbon emissions from coal burning power plants could benefit the renewable industry.

"There's a path forward for wind it actually forces wind into the mix because of these CO2 rules so there will be some that will be getting on the band wagon of more wind, more wind, more wind," says Brian Kalk of the PSC.

But regulators say there are drawbacks to placing all of your megawatts on one power source.

 "I get concerned if you rely too heavily on renewables because they are not there 24 hours a day and we have to have those resources that are available all the time to provide the energy we need," says Fedorchak.

By the end of this year the state will have 2 thousand megawatts from wind farms.

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