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On a per capita basis, Howard, S.D., is a major player in the wind energy industry.

The town of 1,100 residents has two wind energy companies, meaning there’s one such company for every 550 residents. Ten percent of the town’s workforce is employed in wind energy, said Lindsey Karlson of the Rural Learning Center.

Howard, located about 70 miles northwest of Sioux Falls, was one stop on a national tour sponsored by a coalition of wind industry, environmental, and labor organizations to promote the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The act seeks to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent and drop global temperatures by 3.6 degrees by 2050.

“Howard is the prototype of how rural communities can transform through wind,” said state Rep. Mitch Fargen, D-Flandreau.

Proponents of the clean energy act say the legislation will bring an additional 5,000 jobs to South Dakota. Opponents say it will burden Americans with higher electricity and gasoline prices.

Howard’s wind energy businesses include Energy Maintenance Service, which builds, operates and maintains turbine components, and Knight & Carver Wind Group, which manufactures wind turbine blades.

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