Wind energy right decision

South Dakota should discuss its energy resources (J.L. Fisher, July 19), but it must do so on facts, not misinformed opinion.

The fact is, wind power is a cheap, clean and reliable source of electricity that South Dakota should continue to invest in.

Wind energy creates jobs, boosts the local economy and keeps our air clean for generations to come.

Wind is the cheapest source of new electricity generation in the Midwest, outcompeting coal, nuclear and even natural gas. Wind-generated electricity is consistently the lowest-cost new resource on the system, because wind is, and always will be, free. Plus, no fuel-costs means no price spikes like gas and no carbon emissions like coal.

Wind is reliable, too. Wind power already provides South Dakota with more than 25 percent of its energy needs and provides our neighbors to the north and east with more than 15 percent of their electricity needs. Iowa has reached almost 30 percent. Wind can and does help us meet our energy demands.

All forms of domestic energy receive federal support. Total oil and gas subsidies are 75 times greater than renewable energy, and 80 percent of all tax-related energy allowances are concessions for oil and gas, according to official reports. The temporary subsidies for wind aren’t comparable to the permanent tax-breaks we have given to coal, gas or nuclear energy.

No human activity is without wildlife impacts. Comparing all of America’s energy options, wind power is the safest for our environment. Birds do occasionally collide with wind turbines at some sites; however, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates up to 976 million birds are killed by collisions with buildings and 60 million are killed by vehicles, far more than those attributed to wind turbines.

As an affordable, clean and reliable source of electricity, wind is a smart choice for South Dakota.

Joe Sullivan