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Small Wind Generators for South Dakotans

South Dakotans who want to install a small wind system to provide power to their home or other facility should consider these points:

Need – Determine the practicality of having a wind system. It may be worth investigating if your property has a good wind resource, is located on at least one acre of land, if your local zoning codes or covenants allow wind turbines, if your average electricity bills are $150 per month or more, and if you are comfortable with long-term investments.

Cost – A residential turbine costs about $3,000 - $5,000 for every kilowatt of generating capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association. AWEA estimates that a typical home wind system costs $40,000 (10kW) to build. Other factors affecting cost are maintenance, connection and payments to a utility provider for when the wind doesn't blow, insurance, etc. AWEA advises that after 10 years, blades or bearings may need to be replaced, but with proper care, a machine should last up to 20 years.

South Dakota Wind for Schools program
In August 2008, PUC announced eight schools were to participate in the inaugural launch of the Wind for Schools program in South Dakota, an educational project that includes the installation of a small wind turbine. Selected school districts include Douglas in Box Elder, Sanborn Central in Forestburg, Faith, Selby, Aberdeen, Elkton, Stanley County and Memorial Middle School in Sioux Falls.

South Dakota State University in Brookings has been designated as a Wind Application Center by the U.S. Department of Energy. SDSU will provide data analysis, technical assistance and implementation for the Wind for Schools program; offer technical assistance for school and community wind projects; and train engineers to enter the wind marketplace/industry.


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