Wind Energy is Growing North Dakota's Economy

NDSU study estimates wind industry's impact on North Dakota’s economy at over $170 million in 2016

BISMARCK ND – Research completed by North Dakota State University’s Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics predicts a growing future for North Dakota wind energy as part of the state’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

North Dakotan’s For Comprehensive Energy Solutions, (NDCES), an organization of community leaders working to promote an all of the above energy policy in North Dakota (including wind), is pleased to help share these significant findings. Tammy Ibach, Director of NDCES said, “North Dakota is ranked sixth in U.S. wind generation potential.  With 29 large scale projects currently operating in the state, wind energy creates jobs, provides millions in lease payments each year to landowners, and contributes to growing communities through property taxes.”

Ibach continues, “Energy is one of North Dakota’s most important industries with renewable energy, including wind, growing substantially in recent years. The economic impact is huge, contributing over $170 million in economic activity in the state in 2016, which includes nearly $60 million in personal income. The industry supports 500 jobs and pays $7.7 million in property taxes ... money that goes back to the communities for schools and other local services. A majority of these new dollars are benefiting communities that are not located in oil and gas producing counties.”

“Wind energy helps to diversify the economy and provides a new revenue source for North Dakota landowners.  Economic diversification remains a top priority for the state and is as important today as ever”, Said Nancy Hodur, one of the authors of the NDSU study.   

The study states that in addition to jobs related to wind energy operations, two firms engaged in the manufacture of components for the wind energy industry provide over 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs, up from 567 in 2015. In addition to direct economic contributions from the industry, average land lease payments to landowners is an estimated $9,394 per turbine. Land lease payments are annual payments to landowners that reoccur for the lifetime of the turbine.    

“As North Dakota continues to grow in energy development, we need to figure out how we can export more electricity in a competitive, multi-state market and utilize our wind and coal resources, rather than restrain or curtail this growth in our energy sector,” says Ibach.

The study was based on actual expenditure data provided by wind energy generation enterprises, actual wind generation capacity as reported by the North Dakota Public Service Commission and actual tax collections as reported by the North Dakota Office of the State Tax Commissioner.  

The Study was made possible by a grant from the Utility Shareholders of North Dakota. More information on the study can be found at:

ND For All Energy