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MSU Extension Economists Provide Wind-power Irrigation Tool
Producers considering wind energy to offset irrigation system energy expenses have a new tool to help them analyze their alternatives.

The tool is a spreadsheet developed by Duane Griffith, Montana State University Extension economist, with funding from the Northern Rocky Mountain Resource Conservation and Development Council, a nonprofit partnership of private enterprise and government. The tool allows producers to compare the kilowatt hours of electricity they need to power their irrigation systems to the electricity produced by several wind turbine systems, Griffith said.

The spreadsheet is available free and can be downloaded from the Internet at Read the full news release.

Ten-Year Outlook for Electric Reliability Highlights Environmental Initiatives, Transmission among Key Concerns
The impact of environmental initiatives and the need for transmission infrastructure are among the most important issues facing electric reliability in North America over the coming ten years, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) recently announced in its 2008 Long-Term Reliability Assessment . While the total miles of transmission additions have increased slightly over the 2007 report, generation additions are projected to significantly outpace new transmission development.

“We need more transmission resources to maintain reliability and achieve environmental goals,” commented Rick Sergel, president and CEO of NERC. “Transmission lines are the critical link between new generation and customers, yet we continue to see transmission development lag behind generation additions. Faster siting, permitting, and construction of transmission resources will be vital to keeping the lights on in the coming years.” More…

Billionaire Oilman Investing in Wind Energy
Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens has made billions of dollars in the oil industry. Now, he's investing billions in a new wind farm in Texas that could become the world's largest. The farm will produce enough electricity to power some 1.3 million homes. Read CNN's interview with Pickens and learn why he's supporting wind energy. More…

U.S. Continues to Lead the World in Wind Power Growth
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released the 2007 edition of its Annual Report on U.S. Wind Power Installation, Cost, and Performance Trends, which provides a comprehensive overview of developments in the rapidly evolving U.S. wind power market.  Notably, the report finds that U.S. wind power capacity increased by 46 percent in 2007, with $9 billion invested in U.S. wind plants in 2007 alone, making the U.S. the fastest-growing wind power market in the world for the third straight year.  The report also showed that wind is on a path to becoming a significant contributor to the U.S. power mix—wind projects accounted for 35 percent of all new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2007, and transmission facilities capable of generating a total of over 200 GW of wind power are in the early stages of development throughout the nation. More...

DOE Announces Effort to Advance U.S. Wind Power Manufacturing Capacity
DOE has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DOE and six leading wind industry turbine manufacturers: GE Energy, Siemens Power Generation, Vestas Wind Systems, Clipper Turbine Works, Suzlon Energy, and Gamesa Corporation. The two-year collaboration is designed to promote wind energy in the U.S. through advanced technology research and development, and siting strategies aimed to advance industrial wind power manufacturing capabilities.

“The MOU between DOE and the six major turbine manufacturers demonstrates the shared commitment of the federal government and the private sector to create the roadmap necessary to achieve 20 percent wind energy by 2030,” DOE Assistant Secretary Karsner said. “To dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance our energy security, clean power generation at the gigawatt-scale will be necessary to expand the domestic wind manufacturing base and streamline the permitting process.” More...

Article Explores the Cost of Wind Energy
Unlike other forms of power, calculating the cost of power generated from wind energy is not exactly a simple or straightforward matter, reports The Montana Standard. The reason is that wind power is intermittent, available only when the wind is blowing. And while this fact complicates the process of determining wind energy's cost, “ Montana utility managers and regulators must determine the true cost of acquiring and managing this additional power, if we're going to have more wind on our system and more wind-power projects in the state,” says the article's author. Read the full story.

South Dakota Approves Tax Incentives for Wind
South Dakota has announced new tax incentives for wind energy facilities and the transmission lines that serve them. House Bill 1320, approved by Governor Mike Rounds on March 14, waives all state and local property taxes for wind energy facilities with a capacity of at least five megawatts. Instead, the owners of the facilities have to pay a tax of $3 per kilowatt of capacity plus 2% of the gross receipts of the wind facility. The wind facility developers can also earn rebates for up to half the cost of underground distribution lines, substations, and transmission lines built to support the wind power facility. The rebates can equal 90% of the taxes paid for the first five years and 50% of the taxes paid for the following five years. The remaining tax proceeds will be divided among the state and the county and local governments where the wind facility is located. See the governor's announcement of the bill signing and the full text of the bill, House Bill 1320.

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