A proper energy policy for Minnesota would not promote wind power ahead of other options, according to a coalition of energy groups in that state.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – “While wind power is certainly a valuable supplement that can augment power supply, it is not a replacement for base-load generating plants, especially coal-based sources that reliably produce two-thirds of our power, night and day, year round,” says Warren Hudelson of Partners for Affordable Energy. The group is urging politicians to pursue a balanced, integrated approach in development of a new energy policy that does not foreclose any options for new electricity production. “Meeting growing demand for electricity most certainly will require an integrated solution that includes building new base-load power plants and additional transmission lines,” he explains. “Renewable sources produce only a small fraction of our electricity and can’t realistically be expected to satisfy our total electricity needs now or within the foreseeable future.” The coalition has advanced a five-point plan to Minnesota policy makers aimed at preserving the reliability and affordability of electricity. The plan calls for the preservation of existing power plants, including coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewables, as well as support for energy conservation and load management efforts. It also calls for upgrades to the “aging and increasingly stressed” electric transmission line system to support economic and population growth, support for new power plants including coal-based electricity, and adding cost-effective environmental protection technology when expanding or maintaining power plants and transmission lines. It has been 20 years since the power system in the state has had a major upgrade, and the group wants the regulatory process to be streamlined as part of a balanced energy policy, in order to address predicted electricity shortages. Great River Energy of Elk River is investigating the feasibility of a power plant in North Dakota that would burn lignite coal. The 500 MW plant would supply electricity from clean coal combustion technologies. Partners for Affordable Energy is a coalition of 140 organizations and businesses that support coal-based electricity as a low cost, efficient and environmentally compatible energy source for consumers, farms and businesses in the Midwest. The group wants to preserve the reliability and affordability of the region’s electricity supply to prevent disruptions.