Rochester Editorial

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on December 24, 2007 @ 6:33 am

A few days off after hearings all over the state — that’s just what was needed, so I headed up north, but it didn’t quite work out as planned.  And now that I’m back, there’s a big pile of “catch-up” waiting.  Here’s an interesting start, an editorial from the Rochester Post-Bulleting, interesting because it weaves all over, though expressing a salient point:

Unfortunately, the three lines being proposed by CapX 2020, a coalition of electrical utilities that includes Rochester Public Utilities, the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency and Dairyland Power Cooperataive of La Crosse, won’t be much of a boost to clean-energy proponents.

There’s no indication that the proposed lines, including one that would run from a substation near Hampton, Minn., to Rochester, would carry a significant amount of electricity produced by wind or any other alternative energy source.

Here’s the full text — see if this makes more sense to you…

Opinion
Editorial: Power-line plan at junction with renewable energy


12/20/2007 8:00:58 AM

Ideally, any new high-voltage power lines built in Minnesota would go through areas where wind turbines are expected to dot the landscape. As has been described in several stories in the Post-Bulletin in recent weeks, many wind-energy projects and proposals are lined up, waiting for an opportunity to connect to the nearly maxed-out power grid.

And, given that Minnesota’s Renewable Standard requires utility companies to produce 30 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, there should be a sense of urgency in getting wind-energy projects online.

Unfortunately, the three lines being proposed by CapX 2020, a coalition of electrical utilities that includes Rochester Public Utilities, the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency and Dairyland Power Cooperataive of La Crosse, won’t be much of a boost to clean-energy proponents.

There’s no indication that the proposed lines, including one that would run from a substation near Hampton, Minn., to Rochester, would carry a significant amount of electricity produced by wind or any other alternative energy source.

That’s not the only bad news on the energy front. The much-heralded energy bill that is making its way toward President Bush’s desk no longer contains a requirement that utilities nationwide produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The Senate, facing a veto threat from the White House and heavy lobbying from utility companies, stripped the proposal out of the bill.

Where do these developments leave southeastern Minnesota?

Sitting pretty, actually.

For now, there might be less growth for Minnesota companies that build solar collectors or components for wind turbines. But with half the states in the country already having created their own clean-energy mandates, investment in this technology will continue to expand despite the federal government’s inaction.

Furthermore, the energy bill requires ethanol use nationwide to reach 36 billion gallons a year by 2022. That’s nearly six times the current production capacity, and 21 billion gallons of that fuel is to be produced from non-corn sources. Minnesota already has a serious stake in ethanol, and our region’s almost infinite potential to produce switchgrass, prairie grass and wood chips should keep us thoroughly in the mix as the industry evolves.

The power-line issue is more problematic, but with Xcel Energy required to add 2,600 megawatts of new wind energy to its grid by 2020, we have every reason to believe that expansion of lines into the windy regions of southern Minnesota is inevitable, as is an increase in the use of local, community-based wind energy.

Until that happens — and even after it happens — we have to take comfort in the fact that today’s coal-burning plants are much cleaner than they were 10 years ago.

But that might be small consolation to people who will live near a high-voltage line.

zero comments so far »

Please leave a comment below!

Copy link for RSS feed for comments on this post or for TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)




image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace