Renewable energy brings great change and opportunity to the
electrical grid and the communities benefitting from it. The Midwest is being
powered by wind and solar energy in the home, as well as in the economy and job
market. As generation increases, North Dakota reaps the benefits in both rural
and urban areas.
Ranking 9th in the
country for installed capacity, North Dakota has embraced wind energy as an
asset to its livelihood. Capacity has more than tripled
since 2009, and now stands at 3,628
megawatts (MW), enough to power 500,000
homes. There are 449 MW under construction and another 200 MW in advanced
development. Its four manufacturing facilities make products for the wind
industry that are exported across the country. Capital investments have reached
a record $6.9 billion, and state and local taxes contribute $11 million
annually. Another $22 million in annual land lease payments flow to rural
North Dakota’s power sector has created opportunity for the state’s economy, as
well as its environment. Wind power generation creates no emissions and uses virtually
no water. North Dakota’s wind sector helped to save 1.4 billion gallons of
water and avoided 2.5 million metric tons of CO2 — the equivalent of taking
530,000 cars off the road.
solar sector is just getting started, and there’s plenty of potential for
growth. Although it only ranks 51st in the nation for installed solar energy
MW, North Dakota is projected to add nearly 78 MW over the next five years,
ranking 4th in new project additions nationwide. Solar is one of the cheapest
sources of electricity. Prices have dropped 88
percent since 2009. North Dakota’s solar industry employs 257 people
through its 12 solar companies, four manufacturers, three installers and
developers, and five other related companies. The solar industry has invested
$1.73 million in the state, and this is likely to increase.
As the state
welcomes more clean energy projects, ratepayers will continue to benefit
from low-cost clean energy, new jobs will emerge in urban
and rural communities, and businesses will continue to grow. North Dakota is a
leader in clean energy jobs, ranking 5th in the nation with over
9,000 jobs. Renewable energy is the second largest employer in North Dakota
with 2,255 workers, a 4.3 percent increase from 2018.
energy sector transitions to a clean energy economy, states are implementing new
strategies so that everyone can access these resources. North Dakota was one of the first states to implement
This gives residential properties and small businesses small renewable energy
and combined heat and power systems up to 100 kilowatts, and the ability to
sell any excess electricity to investor-owned utilities.
States are also setting carbon-reduction goals. North
Dakota adopted a goal to gather at least 10 percent of in-state electricity
from renewables by 2015, which was exceeded. Today, about 34 percent of North
Dakota’s power supply comes from clean energy. Wind energy
accounted for over 25 percent of the state’s electricity in
2019, which was North Dakota’s second-largest source of clean energy generation
As a net exporter
when it comes to energy, North Dakota abides by an “all of the above” policy.
Wind is a growing portion of that energy. By 2030,
property tax revenues from wind energy could reach more than $37 million every
year. This revenue would allow communities to maintain and repair
infrastructures, improve schools and invest in better emergency and public
safety measures. More renewable energy also means fewer costs for consumers.
Through 2050, wind could save customers nearly $4.5 billion on their electric
bills. North Dakota’s future is being powered by renewable energy, and that’s