Wind. A Prominent Part of North Dakota's Energy Mix
Wind energy is a prominent part of North Dakota’s energy mix, producing about one third (1/3) of the electricity generated in the state. Unlike fossil fuels that are important but finite, wind is forever.
Yet some policymakers continue to fight wind energy, despite its obvious advantages and economic impact on our communities. For instance, a state legislator recently circulated a letter calling for a moratorium on wind development suggesting landowners are not capable of representing themselves on wind contracts and the North Dakota government must intervene—a notion rejected by the 2017 Legislative Session.
Wind energy development has demonstrated a sustained momentum in North Dakota. Wind projects are present in 27 counties in North Dakota (having earned the approval of County Commissioners in each of those counties). Thousands of landowners in the state are making money from leasing their land for development. With 3,000 megawatts on line, wind is a substantial energy resource in North Dakota, contributing to our economic vitality and diversity. Like oil, gas and coal, more than 70% of the energy we produce in the state is exported. We’ve always been proud of the resources we grow, harvest, drill or mine and now North Dakota is recognized as a leader in capturing a natural resource … wind!
Here’s an example of what a 250 megawatt wind project would bring to a county over 25 years, which is the average life span of a wind farm. (Just a few of the taxing categories.)*
Total tax revenue: $28,232,800
School District: $12,673,875
Road Districts: $4,273,675
Fire and Ambulance: $1,204,700
Park and Library: $283,625
VA Officer: $132,575
Garrison Diversion: $134,675
Roads and Bridges: $617,175
*Source: Numbers reviewed by the ND Tax Department.
These dollars are significant to any county government in North Dakota – offering a stable, long-term revenue stream to many counties where declining populations are a reality.
County commissioners and legislators are embracing wind energy developments with open eyes as a viable energy resource for today and tomorrow. We should continue to find policies and strategies to make the North Dakotas energy pie bigger, rather than suggest one sector should stop developing at all. Now that’s the right path for North Dakota.