One of the largest hurdles to large-scale wind farms in South Dakota is the cost of transmission lines, lines that can be helped along by new energy projects, such as Big Stone II, which I talk about in a previous post.
Another possible way to avoid the transmission line hurdle may be to utilize residential wind turbines. These are smaller turbines designed to supply power to individual homes or businesses, which can reduce electricity costs by up to 80% once the turbines are in place.
According to KELO, recent tax credits encourage these types of wind generators, providing a tax cut of $1000 dollars per kilowatt of capacity up to $4000. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) states that residential turbines cost anywhere from $3000 to $5000 per kilowatt of generating capacity, and around $40,000 to install the whole system. The PUC also states that these turbines last from 10 to 20 years, with proper maintenance.
Although these turbines may not be a feasible option for many, the PUC suggest that if an individual has an adequate amount of wind and electricity bills over $150 per month, residential wind turbines may be smart option. Read more here…
Large scale wind farms and expensive transmission lines are needed to sell all our wind potential to other states and large cities, but these smaller, cheaper options may help us provide electricity to our smaller communities. All these options help us harness our wind energy potential and reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels.