May 1, 2008

Not much of a strategy

We’ve stomped on writer Thomas Friedman a time or two in the past as he has dwelled on the misguided notion that global warming is caused primarily my mankind. This week, however, Friedman authored an excellent op-ed piece in the New York Times about U.S. energy policy – or lack thereof.

Friedman’s column, “Dumb as We Wanna Be,” rightly observed that our government should be raising taxes on things it wants to discourage --- gasoline consumption and gas-guzzling vehicles – and lowering taxes on things we want to encourage, like renewable energy production. He lamented that the Congress can’t seem to get its collective act together to renew the investment tax credits for solar and wind energy producers.

He’s right on target.

We also appreciate the suport of U.S. Senator John Thune, who cosponsored an amendment to the 2008 Housing Act that would extend the credit through 2009. It’s not as much as we’d like to see, but it’s better than letting the credit lapse…..again.

The entire South Dakota delegation has been supportive of the big Minn-Dakota Wind Farm in Brookings County. The facility came on line in December.

One only need spend a little time in our fair state to appreciate the fact that South Dakota has enormous potential for developing a robust wind energy industry. As I write this post, the wind outside my window in Spearfish is howling up a storm. Of course, even after high-wind warnings have abated, we have ample evidence of just how valuable this resource can be.

Take a look at how South Dakota – as well as other states – stacks up in the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

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