I sympathize with workers in Grand Forks who have received pink slips from LM Wind Power, but I take issue with U.S. House candidate Pam Gulleson and others who immediately would roll over and extend the tax break for wind power manufacturers.
These “tax incentive” advocates should check into the current contract that MinnKota Power signed with the developer of the Langdon (N.D.) wind farm.
The MinnKota board, in its infinite wisdom, signed a contract agreeing to pay the developer 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour for power produced at the wind farm. Unfortunately, the electricity market “went south” in 2008 (along with a lot of other things), and MinnKota now is getting in the area of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour when they sell the power on the open market.
This translates into a huge annual loss that is being passed along to all of the rural electric cooperatives that make up MinnKota plus several other regional private utilities, who also are passing this loss onto their customers.
Our REC electric bill has seen a huge 74 percent to 125 percent jump in cost of supplemental electric heat.
Our cooperative at first showed the increase as a “surcharge” but now simply folds the increased cost into one bill.
“Too bad, but things will get better,” some readers might say. Unfortunately, the MinnKota board signed a 25-year contract for the purchase of that wind power!
So, as a North Dakota electric consumer and taxpayer, I am a bit tired of hearing about the need for an incentive for wind power manufacturing firms.
Wind power developers have been milking the system, and the consumer cannot continue to pick up the tab for their double-dipping.
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