North Dakota's future in wind energy is looking promising.
According to a study by North Dakota State University's Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, wind energy had an economic impact of more than 170-million dollars in 2016. Tammy Ibach is director of North Dakotans for Comprehensive Energy Solutions. She says the study predicts a growing future for North Dakota's energy strategy.
"We have about a$119 million manufacturing influence that's attached to wind - those are strong economic indicators in the state, and when you see a downturn in oil and gas, and we know that we have another energy source that can pick up that slack it makes for a strong, vibrant economy in wind."
Ibach says the energy industry in North Dakota supports 500 jobs and accounts for 7.7 million dollars in property taxes, which goes back into local communities. Wind energy is part of the state's growing and ever diversifying energy portfolio. Ibach says for now they're going to keep watching the numbers to get further perspective on its impacts.
"We're taking a look at additional projects that are going to happen in the state. There's some projects in cue, there's some developers looking at additional opportunities in the state and then taking a look at what that major impact will and can be. I think Governor Burgum says it best; 'North Dakota is a great exporter of products.' And energy is right next to all of our ag production in terms of what we export from our state. We want North Dakota's economy to continue to flourish in the production of electricity."
The study was based on data provided by wind energy firms, the Public Service Commission and the state tax commissioner.