Did you know about the wind meeting on Dec. 12, 2015, held in Bowman?
Did you know about the wind meeting on Jan. 21, 2016, held in Bowman?
Did you know about any of the multiple, private wind meetings held with a handful of neighbors? (Yes, it is true, we have the right to assemble in America.)
However, these wind meetings do impact every citizen, as well as, future citizens.
Did you know the wind meeting was one-sided?
There was no information about the ‘cons’ to wind development, of which there are many.
Utility rate increases: Utility rates have increased and will increase, yet, again. Our friends and family to the west – Montana – were hit with multiple utility rate increases, and, it is not over yet.
Fact: Aug. 12, 2010, “Billings (Mont.) Gazette”: MDU seeks 13 percent rate increase for Montana electric customers.
…“Needs to recover costs of investing in renewable power”
…“Bulk of $5.5 million annual increase in rates to pay for company’s investment in wind power”
…“MDU expanded its Diamond Willow wind farm near Baker…and also added a … wind farm in Southwestern North Dakota.”
…“The increase, if fully implemented… a 14.5 percent increase.”
Fact: July 26, 2011, Billings (Mont.) Gazette: “Divided Public Service Commission (3-2), approved 6 percent increase for 25,000 customers.” (Eastern Montana, from Ekalaka all the way up to and including Wolf Point)
Fact: Sept. 30, 2015, Miles City (Mont.) Star: “Customers question affordability, upset about size of requested rate increase of 21.1.”
Fact: 13 percent rate increase approved.
Summary/Rate Increases: Requested: 13 percent (2010) + 21.1 percent (2016) = Total 34.1 percent
Results: 6 percent (2011) + 13 percent (2015) = Total 19 percent
Yes, you read that percentage correctly, a 19 percent increase within five years.
Whose budget can withstand significant rate increases?
MDU is trying to work through the egregious federal mandates, and, as such, one could posit, they are one of the energy players in the midst of the onslaught. Our North Dakota based coal companies are literally under attack, and, if these wind turbines continue to be erected, we will lose hundreds of good paying North Dakota jobs. As we all know it, the North Dakota budget is already under stress due to the significant drop in oil prices. Can North Dakota afford to lose all the coal jobs on top of the massive contraction in oil production jobs?
Federal overreach: EPA and I.R.S. Federal Mandates…
Fact: So much wind: The truth is that wind turbines violate the principle of fairness by transferring vast amounts of money from the poor to the rich… produce a trickle of electricity at vast cost to the consumer and they do not significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
Refer to the egregious overreach of the U.S. Federal Government, completely bypassing our elected representatives, and imposing federal mandates for each state, via the appointed officials at both the EPA and the IRS. Refer to the current federal administration’s “Clean Power Plan.”
Fact: Oct. 13,2015, Bismarck Tribune, “North Dakota will fight Clean Power Plan: Last fall, the state of North Dakota was astonished the mandated target of 11 percent – when the rules were first proposed – was exponentially increased to 45 percent. Yes, you read that correctly, 45 percent by 2020. Folks, we all know that is less than four years away.
Our elected officials need our continued support to stop this overreach into our pockets and our lives.
Our elected officials need our continued support to level the playing field, to stop the exorbitant production credits, as well as, the back door IRS extension of tax credits given to those companies developing wind turbines.
Get it in writing: Words are only words. Get absolutely everything in writing.
Even our very own Dwight Aakre, a North Dakota State University farm management specialist: “Don’t rush into an agreement… And don’t let the developer push you around.”
Most wind developers establish an LLC so that they are immune from any lawsuits. Most wind developers come up with catchy titles for each wind farm. Most wind developers are private corporate entities; therefore, you are not able to research any of their finances, as you can with our local company, such as MDU, that is publicly traded.
Try to research the financials of the wind developer.
Ask yourself: Are they publicly traded on the NYSE or the NASDAQ?
Ask questions. Ask lots of questions.
Every response should be in writing on their letterhead, and signed by as representative of their wind company.
By the way, ask yourself: what is the urgency?
Remember, those mandates: the production credits and tax code credits have expiration dates.
Ask yourself, who receives the production credits and tax breaks?
And, there is the upcoming 2016 Presidential election, that can result in a complete change in direction regarding development of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and related jobs within the oil industry.
Pay twice: “Finally, as consumers we pay for electricity twice: once through our monthly bill and a second time through the taxes that finance massive subsidies for inefficient wind…” (Source: Newsweek.com, April 11, 2015.)
By the way, this quote does not even consider who is burdened with the expense of decommissioning each and every turbine, not to mention there is no local market to recycle the composite materials from the turbine.
See the Bowman County Pioneer article, Sept. 12, 2014: “State delves into new issue of wind farm site decommissioning; sets big precedent.”
Ask yourself, who get stuck with the decommissioning cost?
Has here been money set aside for the decommissioning of 13 turbines in Bowman County, for a total of $960,700 (2010 prices)?
What will the 2016 total price be?
Will, you, the ratepayer, be stuck with this bill?
Action plan: Contact a panel of energy experts from outside of the wind development industry, to meet with the citizens of Bowman County and the adjacent areas, to learn from their knowledge and experience.
Ask these folks lots of questions.
Contact your elected leaders. They need to hear from you.
Let us keep North Dakota a great state.
– LINDA PAULSON
(Former Bowman County resident)
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