North Dakota Isn't Going To Be A Pressure Relief Valve For Minnesota's Green Energy Mandate

Government energy mandates are bad policy. They’re the product of politicians trying to impose their ideology on the real world, and they force energy companies to shift to energy sources like wind and solar which are more expensive and less reliable than fossil fuels.

A recent example is Xcel Energy’s request for a rate hike on North Dakota customers which they’re pushing because they have to build some solar power farms to meet Minnesota’s green energy mandate.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]I’m just fine with Xcel energy not being allowed to charge North Dakotans for a mistake Minnesotans made.[/mks_pullquote]

Minnesota requires that utilities in that state get 1.5 percent of their power from solar sources by 2020, 10 percent by 2030. But here in North Dakota, the Public Service Commission is saying the cost of that policy should be born by Minnesotans.

“This energy isn’t needed to meet customer demand and it isn’t least cost,” said Julie Fedorchak, the President of the PSC, said yesterday. “North Dakota customers shouldn’t have to pay for policies they had no say in creating.”

Indeed.

The all-Republican PSC, also made up of Brian Kalk and Randy Christmann, voted unanimously to reject the rate increase.

Although I think we should have a debate about why the state gets to decide what private power companies charge for their services, I’m just fine with Xcel energy not being allowed to charge North Dakotans for a mistake Minnesotans made.

North Dakota shouldn’t have to be a pressure relief valve for Minnesota policies.

The PSC took a similar stance on this issue last year, but in 2011 the commission – then made up of Kalk, now-Congressman Kevin Cramer and FERC commissioner Tony Clark – voted to approve a rate increase for MDU electrical customers justified by Montana’s green energy mandate.

Cramer was the dissenting vote, with Clark and Kalk voting to approve.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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