Clean technology venture capital firm Prelude attempted to use the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act to sell electricity from six projects in the state. However, the state PUC decided rural electricity cooperatives are not obliged to buy its power.
The law was introduced in 1978 to encourage the use of domestic and renewable energy and can be used to oblige utilities to buy power from specific sources.
However, the PUC ruled that the law only applies to rate-regulated utilities, and that the cooperatives do not fall under this category.
As such, the Basin Electric, Butte Electric, Grand Electric, Moreau-Grand Electric, Rosebud Electric and Rushmore Electric cooperatives do not have to meet a renewable energy quota.
Basin Electric is the largest of the cooperatives and serves 2.8 million consumers - not all within South Dakota.