Crabtree presser, Cramer response

Yesterday, Public Service Commission candidate Brad Crabtree had news conferences. Since I was at the Higher Education Committee meeting all day, I couldn’t go. Below is his news release and incumbent/challenger Kevin Cramer’s response.

Crabtree release:

ND Public Service Commission candidate Brad Crabtree says North Dakota could increase wind generation eightfold by supplying just 10 percent of the estimated 100,000 MW needed to meet Midwestern governors’ goal for renewable electricity in 2030.

North Dakota currently has installed wind generation capacity of 1,222 MW in commercial operation and another 36 MW under construction.

“Wind energy presents a significant opportunity for North Dakota to provide good-paying jobs, tax revenue for local governments and payments to agricultural producers, much of it in regions of the state that do not directly benefit from fossil energy development,” Crabtree said.  “However, as other states ramp up their wind development efforts, North Dakota’s window of opportunity is closing to position itself as a leading generator and exporter of renewable electricity.”

Crabtree called on the state to develop a comprehensive wind energy export strategy and released policy initiatives aimed at helping North Dakota to achieve its potential for large-scale wind energy development, noting that a key priority must be transmission to provide a road to market for our state’s vast wind resource.

“North Dakota could help break the current transmission logjam by expanding use of the state Transmission Authority to finance its portion of a future regional high-voltage transmission system for export,” said Crabtree, adding that this would strengthen the hand of utilities and transmission companies that want to build transmission lines connecting North Dakota’s wind resource to distant urban markets in the Midwest and beyond.

Crabtree also recommended that North Dakota invest with industry in commercializing emerging storage technologies to increase the value of our state’s intermittent wind power.

“By investing with companies that agree to demonstrate and even manufacture their technologies here, North Dakota could be in the forefront of a new global electricity storage industry, much like Denmark came to dominate manufacturing of wind turbine and component technologies a decade ago,” Crabtree said.

Despite its enormous potential for North Dakota, Crabtree warned of growing rural opposition to wind energy that risks choking off future development.  He called on the Legislature to require the Public Service Commission develop new rules to reform wind siting and compensation practices and protect the private property rights and interests of landowners and rural residents.

“With wind energy still in its early stages, it is imperative that North Dakota put in place rules of the road that provide for orderly, equitable development and protect the rights of private property owners,”  Crabtree said.  “Doing so will safeguard the public goodwill and support that the wind industry depends on for future growth.”

Crabtree’s wind energy platform can be downloaded at www.crabtreeforpsc.com.

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Cramer’s release:

Does Brad Crabtree think sugar beet farmers should share their checks with their neighbor on the hill next door? Not all land is equal and neither is the revenue you can generate from it. It looks like he wants to do for North Dakota what he has done for his township in Dickey County. He imposed this very philosophy in a township ordinance resulting in a proposed wind farm moving elsewhere. To this day Spring Valley Township has no wind turbines.

The PSC has sited several wind farms with very little opposition by landowners. We hold the hearings for wind farms in the affected communities and most of the people who attend are there in support of the project being proposed.

The relationship between landowners and wind developers is contractual and between them. Every situation is different and requires discretion on the part of the people on the ground.

The fact of the matter is ND is a leader in wind development and policy. We have more stringent setback standards than Minnesota. Texas has no state siting rules or laws. We rank 10th in the country in installed wind generation capacity and third in percent of electricity generated by wind. Considering we are a major coal production state, these rankings are even more impressive.

I know he thinks we aren’t doing enough to increase export capacity, so I wonder if he thinks we should give advanced prudence to Cap X 2020 or should site the 260 mile Minnkota 345 Kv line to GF.

He thinks the state should help finance transmission lines. He must think ND is the federal government. He keeps proposing we take state taxpayer dollars and invest them in risky ventures traditionally reserved for private enterprise. The truth is there are proposals for cost recovery formulas sitting at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that will help define transmission financing. In the mean time projects like Cap X 2020 and Minnkota Power’s 260 mile 345 Kv line are in our docket and moving forward effectively.

While there is always room for improvement, Brad Crabtree appears desperate in his criticism of North Dakota’s energy policies when there isn’t another state in the nation doing as well.

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