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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 10, 2006        
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, (605) 773-3201

Legislation adds value to renewable energy

PIERRE, S.D. – A bill sponsored by the Public Utilities Commission and recently signed by Gov. Michael Rounds boosts the value of South Dakota wind, biomass and other renewable energies. The act allows the PUC to participate in the establishment of the Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS), a program designed to track the trade and sale of renewable energy credits (RECs).

"The new law creates a marketplace for the environmental benefits of clean renewable energies like wind power," explained PUC Chairman Bob Sahr. "This added value should lead to more South Dakota wind and renewable energy projects becoming realities."

Commissioner Dusty Johnson explained why the M-RETS legislation is important. "South Dakota is one of the windiest states in the country. Hundreds of companies, including Toyota, Kinkos, and Ben & Jerry's, have committed to buying large amounts of renewable energy, and M-RETS makes it much easier for South Dakota wind power producers to sell their product," he said.

M-RETS allows South Dakota wind producers to sell two products. The first is the power created by their wind turbines that is sold to area utilities. The second product is renewable energy credits that can be sold to utilities, businesses or individuals interested in supporting renewable energy.

"M-RETS doubles the crop for our state's wind producers," said Commissioner Gary Hanson. "In addition, it provides a tracking mechanism that verifies the generator is producing renewable energy that meets the definition of an REC.  That ensures the integrity of the RECs."

The M-RETS legislation received unanimous support in both the South Dakota House of Representatives and the Senate. South Dakota joins M-RETS participants Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

Visit the PUC Web site for more information on M-RETS. Go to and click on the Energy link at the top of the page.