Recognizing American Wind Energy Week in North Dakota
As we recognize American Wind Energy Week across the country, we at North Dakotan’s for Comprehensive Energy Solutions are reflecting on the importance of wind energy in North Dakota.
Modern wind energy development began in North Dakota in 2002. Today 3,100 megawatts of electricity are generated from wind with more under construction. Twenty nine counties enjoy the financial benefits of wind energy property taxes. A typical wind farm will pay about one million dollars annually in property taxes. These new tax dollars are keeping rural schools vibrant and roads maintained. As one county commissioner in the heart of coal country stated last week, “Wind energy has been good for our county.”
Approximately 2,000 landowners across the state are recipients of $15 million in annual lease payments. On average, one turbine generates a lease payment of $10,000 annually, generating new wealth for landowners for 25 years, the expected life of a wind farm. Wind energy has allowed landowners to diversify their financial operation, making them more resilient, and contributing to a more stable, dynamic rural North Dakota
The best strategy for North Dakota is an “All of the above” energy policy that promotes collaboration among energy sources and discards old thinking that one source is better than another. We need to become more efficient, more productive and more innovative so North Dakota can sell more electricity to neighboring states from all energy sources. Working together, we can make North Dakota energy dominant. North Dakota sells over 60% of the electricity generated to 26 other states. Electricity is one of North Dakota’s export products and wind energy contributes to the cheapest power on the grid. It’s good for North Dakota landowners, homeowners and businesses who all enjoy some of the cheapest electricity in the USA as stated in a 2018 study by the Energy Information Administration.
A drive on Highway 25, along the rolling plains, creates a perfect picture of North Dakota’s energy story. Coal has been king in this region for decades and yet looking to the west, you see energy sources displayed in tandem … a wind farm located within the same view of a coal power plant. And as far as the eye can see to the west of that, is the edge of the Bakken where wind also contributes to North Dakota’s diverse energy mix.
Working together and keeping the focus on what’s good for North Dakota, we can celebrate all the energy that North Dakota has to offer.