State Lawmakers Criticize Sen. John Hoeven in Letter, Say Wind Companies “Use North Dakota” to “Mine” Tax Dollars


Wind energy has been a hot topic down in Bismarck this legislative session, and for good reason.

As wind energy developers rush to build new developments in order to gobble up massive federal subsidies, and take advantage of a policy allowing them to sell all of their energy into the power grid before anyone else, many (including this observer) fear the dependability of our regional power grid is at risk.

Wind, I’m sure you don’t need me to point out, is intermittent. We are putting all other energy producers, which means mostly coal in our region, in the position of needing to maintain the capacity to provide all the power we want when the wind isn’t blowing while being left only table scraps while the wind is blowing.

That has not only prompted heated debate over legislation in Bismarck (see here) but criticism from lawmakers of Senator John Hoeven.

In a March 23 letter, obtained from a lawmaker, a group of legislative leaders including Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner and House Majority Leader Al Carlson criticized Senator Hoeven for recent comments about wind power subsidies.

You can read the full letter below, but here’s an excerpt:

The lawmakers are requesting a meeting with Senator Hoeven “in the very near future” to discuss policies, noting that their session will be completed in the next couple of weeks.

This is a pretty bold move by the lawmakers, all the more so because this is a group of legislative Republicans calling out one of the state’s top elected Republicans.

It’s an indication of just how dire many in the Legislature see this situation. They’re worried that, because of federal subsidies and other preferential treatments granted to wind energy, our power grid is being made more dependent on an intermittent and (absent taxpayer subsidies) expensive power source than is safe.

I think they’re right.

Here’s the full letter:

[scribd id=343897637 key=key-Jy16TSbvJS4gpTaeIdZM mode=scroll]