Library filed under Energy Policy from North Dakota
We all see the hundreds of wind power turbines which dot the beautiful landscape of our region. We're told, by the supporters of these wind farms, that they're a boon to our society. That they're reducing greenhouse gas emissions by providing cheap, reliable energy. Except, this week I spoke with a man from the University of California, Berkeley who says that's a lot of bunk.
BISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved two sets of rule changes that strengthen requirements for future wind projects and ensure they are properly decommissioned at the end of their use. The rule changes focus on two different areas related to wind projects: (1) decommissioning requirements for when a wind farm is retired, and (2) lighting systems.
HB1378 requires that all wind turbines install aircraft detection lighting systems. All wind energy projects approved after June 5, 2016, must have systems in place by Dec. 31, 2019. Projects approved prior to that must have lighting systems in place by Dec. 31, 2021.
The wind energy bill passed by the North Dakota House of Representatives is an effective compromise, according to Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley.
“We’re starting to have more opposition at wind farm hearings,” said Christmann, explaining that major issues in public hearings tend to be the sound turbines produce, the visual aspect and setbacks. From a regulatory standpoint, he said it comes down to a delicate balancing act in terms of expanding the state’s energy production and ensuring there’s enough capacity on the grid for electricity.
Proponents of House Bill 1378 told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that installing technology that keeps the lights from flashing unless aircraft travel within a certain range will improve the view shed for area residents. ...living near wind energy projects want one thing, Peace at night from blinding red light.”
The legislative attack on wind power intensified in the closing days of the session’s first half. Amendments cropped up that would have imposed a moratorium on wind energy installations in the state.
A proposal that would have created a two-year moratorium on new wind energy development in North Dakota was stripped from legislation that ultimately passed the Senate as a study of the state's energy plan Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Sen. Dwight Cook, R-Mandan, said his amendment was intended to “take some of the edge” off of the original moratorium proposal. ...“What I’m looking for is reliable, affordable electricity,” Cook said. “One of the things that we’re responsible for, I would think anyway, is to make sure that the … electricity of North Dakota is always available to the citizens of North Dakota and we don’t suffer through a blackout.”
Prematurely shutting down plants would strand these substantial investments, meaning consumers will have to pay for the expenses associated with that plant while paying the additional costs for new power plant assets. As an industry, we can find new, innovative technology to make strides toward reducing carbon emissions. It just takes time. Unfortunately, the EPA’s plan gives us no time and ties up all investment dollars in building new power plants fueled by a different source.
North Dakota officials grudgingly looked the other way as Minnesota regulators continued to approve more of what they viewed as inefficient renewable energy projects. Those projects increased the utility bills of Xcel’s 80,000 customers — from Fargo to Minot — by an estimated $5.7 million a year. The systemwide cost for ratepayers is about $92 million.
In the presidential debate about domestic issues, Romney hit Obama on giving $90 million in tax breaks to wind and solar power projects. Many of them failed, the Republican said, telling Obama, "You pick losers." "This is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy-secure," Romney added.
“At the North Dakota U.S. Attorney’s Office, we are committed to enforcing laws that protect North Dakota’s outdoors and to providing companies who follow the law with a level economic playing field.” The statutory maximum sentence for violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is six months in federal prison and a $15,000 fine.
House Bill 1460 seeks what's known in the industry as unitization, a process where profits from a wind turbine are shared with the owners of surrounding property whose own wind rights are being affected by the development. While wind may not be finite like other resources, its capture can be affected by its own development. Wind turbines reduce the wind that passes through them, requiring that turbines be placed a certain distance apart.
Stenehjem argues that Minnesota's restrictive laws on carbon emissions violate the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause, which bars states from interfering in other states' commerce. Minnesota is free to impose whatever restrictions it wishes on its own power plants but runs afoul of the commerce clause when extending those restrictions on other states, Stenehjem said.
Payments for landowners who live near wind projects could prevent a backlash from rural North Dakota residents who believe they've been treated unfairly, the Democratic candidate for the state Public Service Commission said Monday. The PSC and the North Dakota Legislature have not been attentive to the rights of such landowners.
The wind might blow forever in North Dakota, but there’s no guarantee it can be turned into an environmental and economic resource in northern Grand Forks County. That’s because the giant wind turbines could interfere with radar used to track both manned and unmanned aircraft at Grand Forks International Airport.
Towering 350 feet above the prairie, wind turbines have taken root as a prominent part of the North Dakota landscape. But as they proliferate, issues of how they are sited, how they are funded and how they fit into the state's energy sources have been growing with their electricity generation. ...Detractors claim they are a passing fad dependent on tax subsidies that add stress to the existing energy infrastructure and clutter up the horizon. "This is going to permanently change the landscape," said Burleigh County Commissioner Mark Armstrong.
The Burleigh County Commission on Monday set a public hearing about a draft wind tower policy for townships using county zoning for 5:30 p.m. on April 5 at the City/County Building in Bismarck. The need for the wind energy policy became more immediate after Nextera Energy proposed to build a 66-tower wind farm across Ecklund and Crofte townships that is projected to generate 99 mega-watts of energy.
The idea for expanding corporate farming from wheat to wind should be discarded. The time for railing against the monied interests in Minneapolis, Chicago, New York and, now, Florida, for taking advantage of North Dakota, has passed. (Although, there might be other good reasons to rail at them.) It might make good news copy, but it doesn't make good common or business sense. Burleigh County residents should do what they must to regulate wind farms.