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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, Aug. 17, 2007                                

CONTACT: Leah Mohr, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201

Wind energy forum part of Dakotafest Aug. 21

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission will participate in the Energy from the Wind Forum, Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. at Dakotafest in Mitchell, S.D. PUC Commissioners Dusty Johnson and Gary Hanson will be joined by South Dakota State University professor Dr. Michael Ropp as they exchange ideas and information about the state's existing and potential wind energy crop.

"A lot of people know something about wind energy, as we at the PUC know from hosting meetings around the state about the topic," said Johnson. "There are several components, such as transmission, intermittency and forecasting, though, that really need to be understood in order to have the full picture about wind energy in South Dakota," he concluded.

"This forum provides a tremendous opportunity for folks to ask questions and learn about the status of wind energy development," suggested Hanson. "There is a great deal of interest among the agricultural community about wind energy. I expect this to be a fruitful discussion, especially with the contribution of Dr. Ropp explaining the data he has on wind research," he said.

Ropp oversees the Wind Resource Assessment Network, a series of instrument stations throughout South Dakota that collect information about wind speed and predict capacity at varying heights. WRAN is supported by organizations that include the PUC, U.S. Department of Energy, East River Electric Cooperative, West Central Electric Cooperative, FPL Energy, Black Hills Power and Light, S.D. Department of Tourism and State Development, Gettysburg Development Corporation, S.D. Public Broadcasting and several private landowners.

The Energy from the Wind Forum is being organized by SDSU and will be held in the Agripreneurship Pavilion located in the northwest corner of the Dakotafest grounds. The PUC will also have a booth in the Agripreneurship Pavilion on Aug. 21. Dakotafest is located on the Schlaffman Farm, along Interstate 90, near Mitchell.