Wind Energy Development Benefits Rural Counties
It’s not often areas of rural North Dakota are gifted an economic opportunity where counties can diversify their rural economy through wind development. A typical wind farm will generate about $400 million in new tax dollars and $1 million a year in property taxes to the county in which it is located. What other business or economic opportunity could bring this kind of revenue to our rural counties? Some counties in North Dakota have lost about half of their population base over the last 30-40 years causing a decrease in tax revenue.
For 30 years and counting, Governor’s and economic development officials have worked to diversify the economy and keep main streets alive in our rural communities. Wind energy is a tremendous local economic opportunity that has been embraced by 27 of our 53 counties in North Dakota. Wind energy developments provide good jobs in small towns, where good jobs are sometime hard to come by. Remember 20 years ago, when our Governor would run to some small town and hold a press conference because someone opened a call center with a dozen jobs and paid $10-12 an hour? We appreciated those jobs at the time, but they are long gone. Rural North Dakota needs NEW opportunities. The jobs that wind energy provides will be around for decades and the economic impact from new tax dollars will be around for 25-30 years.
Wind provides new opportunities for landowners, allowing them to do with their land as they see fit. Wind is good for the local government and provides a huge revenue stream that they are not likely to get any place else. And wind is good for North Dakota businesses and homeowners as it provides some of the cheapest power in the market. That’s the reason our utility companies are buying wind for their customers…it’s cheap.
If the details of any wind application before the PSC are in order, they should approve it. (Click here to send the PSC a letter). Wind is good for North Dakota, and represents an economic opportunity for rural North Dakota. Our state has spent millions of dollars in economic development funds looking for these opportunities to diversity the state’s economy and now these opportunities are at our fingertips. Public Service Commissioners, Julie Fedorchak, Brian Kroshus and Randy Christmann, wind is a natural resource that we have a lot of; let’s continue to harvest its power for North Dakota.