“I want to see us support and make coal more competitive,” said House Minority Leader Corey Mock, a Democrat from Grand Forks, said in a committee hearing in Bismarck last week. “But I certainly wouldn’t want to do it at the expense of other energy industries.”
That’s an ironic statement given that the topic at hand was the heavy subsidies, and blatant government promotion, wind energy receives at the expense of all other forms of energy. But more ironic than Rep. Mock’s comments was a statement made by a pro-wind lawmaker.
In its original form the bill, introduced by Senator Jessica Unruh (R-Beulah), would have stopped wind energy’s preferential treatment in getting to sell their power into the grid before anyone else, and would also have prohibited any electrical rate increases in North Dakota justified in any way by green energy mandates in other states.
I thought that was solid legislation, but it got a “hog house” amendment from Senator Dwight Cook (R-Mandan) turning it into a moratorium on new wind projects in the state. That iteration of the bill drew so much opposition from the aforementioned wind energy lobbyists, and their allied lawmakers, that it was again amended into a study which passed the Senate on a 42-4 vote last month.
Last week the bill was before a House committee where Majority Leader Al Carlson proposed the aforementioned amendment. This one would have prohibited the Public Service Commission from permitting any new wind energy projects unless a) it’s demonstrated that the energy is needed and b) won’t harm the reliability of the energy grid.
Rep. Mike Brandenburg, a Republican from Edgeley and reliable ally of the wind energy lobbyists, called Carlson’s amendment a “glorified moratorium.”
That’s telling, because Carlson’s amendment could only be a moratorium for wind energy development if that energy a) isn’t needed and/or b) would destabilize the power grid.
It’s almost like Brandenburg is admitting that we are building wind energy capacity not to satisfy public demand but to cash in on big government subsidies, and that the increased reliance on intermittent wind power is making our power grid unstable.
That’s remarkable statement.
Anyway, Carlson’s amendment was defeated, though SB2134 was amended to add “need” to the list of requirements a proposed wind energy project must satisfy, something which also left Brandenburg and the army of wind energy lobbyists in Bismarck grumpy.
The bill should come to the floor for a vote today.