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Coal vs. wind: It's about land

Coal mines always have been big business. Wind farms are getting to be. And when heavy-hitting companies such as North American Coal Corp., Minnesota Power and Florida Power and Light are eyeing an area of real estate, you bet it's consequential. The real estate isn't paltry; it's a lot of acreage in Oliver and Morton counties. Minnesota Power and FPL want to build separate wind farms. But the coal company says, "Wait a minute, we may want to mine where you guys are talking about putting up wind turbines. That won't work."

Earth and sky -- there is energy to be had from both.

Coal mines always have been big business. Wind farms are getting to be.

And when heavy-hitting companies such as North American Coal Corp., Minnesota Power and Florida Power and Light are eyeing an area of real estate, you bet it's consequential.

The real estate isn't paltry; it's a lot of acreage in Oliver and Morton counties.

Minnesota Power and FPL want to build separate wind farms. But the coal company says, "Wait a minute, we may want to mine where you guys are talking about putting up wind turbines. That won't work."

The companies should negotiate and not leave it to the Public Service Commission to be King Solomon.

Complicating matters is that the electric utility is a member of a corporate family that includes a coal mining outfit that could offer a site for a wind farm, reclaimed land where the coal is gone.

That's what the CEO of the parent company, Allete, assumed.

It sounds as if there have been a good many people doing a bunch of assuming rather than communicating.

And although Minnesota Power buys wind-generated energy from FPL, so there is a business relationship, it... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Earth and sky -- there is energy to be had from both.

Coal mines always have been big business. Wind farms are getting to be.

And when heavy-hitting companies such as North American Coal Corp., Minnesota Power and Florida Power and Light are eyeing an area of real estate, you bet it's consequential.

The real estate isn't paltry; it's a lot of acreage in Oliver and Morton counties.

Minnesota Power and FPL want to build separate wind farms. But the coal company says, "Wait a minute, we may want to mine where you guys are talking about putting up wind turbines. That won't work."

The companies should negotiate and not leave it to the Public Service Commission to be King Solomon.

Complicating matters is that the electric utility is a member of a corporate family that includes a coal mining outfit that could offer a site for a wind farm, reclaimed land where the coal is gone.

That's what the CEO of the parent company, Allete, assumed.

It sounds as if there have been a good many people doing a bunch of assuming rather than communicating.

And although Minnesota Power buys wind-generated energy from FPL, so there is a business relationship, it wants its own North Dakota wind farm in virtually the same neighborhood as FLP's.

And this development came as a surprise, it sounds like even to the Public Service Commission. "We didn't know this until now," said Commissioner Susan Wefald at a recent meeting.

Here's an irony: Minnesota Power really needs wind-generated electricity because of a state mandate in Minnesota that by 2025 some 25 percent of energy used in the state must come from renewable sources. That alone isn't ironic; it's that BNI Coal supplies power plants, the kind of which Minnesota dislikes enough to ban any more coal-fired energy until the carbon dioxide sequestration process is perfected.

North Dakota could be the place for a good deal of CO2 sequestration. Minnesota is not suited to it at all.

Now, to sum up:

Minnesota gets a fair amount of electricity made in North Dakota, where there are coal-fired plants that Minnesota dislikes. Minnesota Power is a sister of BNI Coal. But to some, coal is bad and wind power is good. Minnesota Power wants a wind farm in North Dakota, and FPL wants another one, and it sounds pretty crowded. A second coal company is anxious about the siting of wind farms because turbines could interfere with its plans for mining.

This is a reality show in real life, and the issues matter much more than which woman the bachelor chooses. Still, earth and sky must learn to live together.


Source: http://www.bismarktribune.c...

JUL 24 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/16120-coal-vs-wind-it-s-about-land
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