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Governor's Weekly Column: Enhancing Our Energy Potential





With the winter months coming to a close, folks across the state are getting ready to turn off the heat, throw open the windows, and breathe in the fresh air of spring. And while the fresh air does good for the soul, it also does good for our monthly budgets.  

 

Due in part to our long winters, South Dakotans pay higher energy bills than many people in the nation. An average South Dakota household will pay an energy bill of $305 per month. To put that in perspective, a typical Mississippi household pays only $122 each month. That means a family in Timberlake pays $2,000 more each year than a family in Tupelo.  

 

I’ve long supported an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to energy. Whether it’s energy from coal, natural gas, the sun, wind, or other renewable sources, we need policies that support and encourage a diversified approach to meeting our state’s energy needs. Working toward a balanced energy mix enhances our national security and helps us avoid price spikes associated with any one resource. You wouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket, and you wouldn’t put your retirement all in one stock... The same goes for energy sources.  

 

And while our state doesn’t have the coal, oil, or natural gas reserves that some of our neighbors have, we have plenty of wind, sun, and other renewable resources. Advancing local renewable energy creates jobs here at home.

 

During the legislative session, I was encouraged by the attention to energy development. In February, I signed a bill into law that expands energy potential by streamlining wind and solar energy development on state-owned lands. This is a small but important step toward better utilizing our state-owned lands. In March, I approved another bill that simplifies permit procedures and reduces regulatory redundancy surrounding solar energy production. It’s important for us to harness these renewable resources so we can expand clean energy solutions and combat high energy bills.  

 

Tackling energy costs in South Dakota will require a concerted effort, and these bills are solid steps in the right direction. I will continue working with energy providers and regulators, like the Public Utilities Commission, to ensure our state policies are encouraging the right mix of affordable energy sources that can be reliably provided to South Dakota families and businesses. 

 

By taking an all-of-the-above approach to energy production, I believe we can tap into homegrown energy sources that will reduce prices, create jobs, and increase independence. We have the potential; it just needs to be unleashed.