Stimulus plan could help future of wind power

Wind power advocates are pushing for tax incentives and grants in the $819 billion recovery package moving through Congress.

Expansion of wind energy, a key part of rural development throughout the Midwest and Great Plains, could depend on how the stimulus plan is overhauled by the Senate next week.

Greg Wetstone is senior director for government and public affairs at the American Wind Energy Association. His group estimates that North Dakota has nation's largest wind energy potential, followed by Texas, Kansas and South Dakota.

A report this month from the American Wind Energy Association says wind power posted gains last year. The group says electricity generated by wind turbines increased by 50 percent and there were 13,000 additional jobs in wind turbine and component manufacturing.