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For Immediate Release
September 9, 2003
Contact: Jim Burg

Commissioner Burg To Gather Information on the Development of Renewable Energy Abroad

Pierre --- Public Utilities Commissioner Jim Burg is a member of a delegation from Powering the Plains Project that will tour the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Iceland to learn more about their development of wind energy and initiation of a hydrogen economy. The trip will allow Commissioner Burg to see first hand the experience of Europe and Iceland in planning, strategies, policy development and projects related to renewable energy, especially their integration of up to 20% wind in their electricity fuel mix.

"The trip will show us excellent examples of what South Dakota and our neighboring states can do to develop our renewable resources," says Burg. "These countries have benefited economically from these projects and our mission is to learn their strategies, which will help establish a framework to bring those same benefits to our state and region."

The delegation will work to build relationships and lay a foundation for partnerships between government and private institutions in our region and their counterparts in other countries. Commissioner Burg believes these new relationships will open many doors for South Dakota and move us down the road in the development of our renewable resources.

"These countries have made remarkable strides in this technology and are very much willing to share their experiences," says Burg. "Since we are now living in a global economy, we can all benefit, economically and environmentally, by establishing a hydrogen economy."

Powering the Plains is a comprehensive energy and agricultural policy development project that includes representatives from South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and the Canadian Providence of Manitoba. The project brings together top elected and government officials, industry and agricultural executives and renewable energy and sustainable agricultural advocates. Participants are working collaboratively to develop and implement government policies, model programs and cooperative public-private ventures in energy and agriculture that add value to the region's economy and reduce the risk of climate change and other environmental concerns.

Powering the Plains recently helped launch the Upper Midwest Hydrogen Initiative (UMHI). This new industry-led, public-private consortium aims to accelerate our region's shift to a hydrogen economy and to position the region as the continental leader in the production and distribution of hydrogen from renewable and carbon-neutral sources.