Future of wind energy uncertain - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Future of wind energy uncertain

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The sheer size can cause awe.


"The massive size of these turbines is amazing," said Al Kruse, a candidate for Minnesota State House District 16A.

Like any science, learning about wind energy can be like taking on a foreign language. That's what Minnesota legislative candidates were learning first-hand.

"Where the transmission lines go, how the tower has to be based, and how much steel," said Cheryl Avenel-Navara, a candidate for Minnesota State House District 22B.

This is Minnesota's latest investment in wind energy - 15 turbines on 3,000 acres in the Buffalo Region northwest of Worthington.

"To the top of the blade we're going to come out at 430-some feet. That will enable us to capture more wind, make more power, and add to the grid," said Aaron Peterson of juwi Wind.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, in 2011, Minnesota's economy included 2,000-3,000 wind energy jobs.

"Good paying jobs down here are essential," said Avenel-Navara. "We're a high employment area, but not high wage, so having good paying jobs in technology is extremely important."

juwi Wind believes this is the energy source of today and tomorrow.

"This is going to be another record breaking year for wind energy in the United States," said Peterson.

But, the industry is facing a big political problem in Washington - the December 31 expiration of a federal tax credit. 

"So, we need some stability in policy because that industry needs that to project our workforce," said Kruse.

Adds Avenel-Navara, "It bothers me because it's the gridlock in Congress."


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