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Wind Energy: Economic developers oppose City 20/20

Economic development officials in Grand Forks and Fargo agreed this week to oppose the City 20/20 renewable energy initiative, which has also come under fire from elected leaders. In a joint resolution, the Grand Forks Region and Greater Fargo Moorhead economic development corporations said they support the growth of the renewable energy industry but prefer that it come about by market forces or federal incentives. "The bottom line for us is we don't think it should be mandated locally," said Grand Forks EDC president Klaus Thiessen.


Economic development officials in Grand Forks and Fargo agreed this week to oppose the City 20/20 renewable energy initiative, which has also come under fire from elected leaders.

In a joint resolution, the Grand Forks Region and Greater Fargo Moorhead economic development corporations said they support the growth of the renewable energy industry but prefer that it come about by market forces or federal incentives.

"The bottom line for us is we don't think it should be mandated locally," said Grand Forks EDC president Klaus Thiessen.

The major worry, he said, is the loss of Grand Forks', and Fargo's competitive advantage when it comes to attracting new businesses. The two cities not only compete with each other but also with other cities in the region, he said.

And, he added, "what if Fargo doesn't pass it and we do?"

The assumption is that requiring the two cities to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2020, as the initiative does, would raise electricity costs. The initiative raises the requirement to 30 percent by 2030. It's assumed that plentiful wind energy would meet the bulk of the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  


Economic development officials in Grand Forks and Fargo agreed this week to oppose the City 20/20 renewable energy initiative, which has also come under fire from elected leaders.

In a joint resolution, the Grand Forks Region and Greater Fargo Moorhead economic development corporations said they support the growth of the renewable energy industry but prefer that it come about by market forces or federal incentives.

"The bottom line for us is we don't think it should be mandated locally," said Grand Forks EDC president Klaus Thiessen.

The major worry, he said, is the loss of Grand Forks', and Fargo's competitive advantage when it comes to attracting new businesses. The two cities not only compete with each other but also with other cities in the region, he said.

And, he added, "what if Fargo doesn't pass it and we do?"

The assumption is that requiring the two cities to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2020, as the initiative does, would raise electricity costs. The initiative raises the requirement to 30 percent by 2030. It's assumed that plentiful wind energy would meet the bulk of the requirements.

But cost increases are a false assumption, according to Dexter Perkins, a member of Citizens for Affordable Renewable Energy, the local group sponsoring City 20/20.

"All the evidence suggests that if City 20/20 passes, electric rates will go down," he said. The trend has been for wind energy to drop in price while conventional electricity generation methods have seen price hikes, he said.

Referring to the EDC's belief that the initiative would create harmful uncertainty in the market, he noted that there is already uncertainty in the cost of coal, which could be subjected to tougher environmental regulations, and natural gas.

Judi Paukert, the community relations manager for Xcel Energy, which opposes the initiative, is the Grand Forks EDC's chairwoman but she did not sign on to the resolution. Vice chairman Judd Graham did.

A majority of Grand Forks City Council members earlier in the week agreed to issue their own resolution opposing the initiative for roughly the same reasons that the EDCs mentioned. They'll vote on it on Monday.

Tran reports on City Hall. Reach him at (701) 780-1248 or ttran@gfherald.com see his blog at www.areavoices.com/gfhcitybeat.


Source: file:///C:/Documents%20and%...

OCT 21 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/5385-wind-energy-economic-developers-oppose-city-20-20
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