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Activists in Fargo, Grand Forks seek to require more wind power

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  • npat1
    Posted on Fri, Apr. 28, 2006 Activists in Fargo, Grand Forks seek to require more wind power Associated Press FARGO, N.D. - Wind power supporters here and in
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 28, 2006
      Posted on Fri, Apr. 28, 2006
      Activists in Fargo, Grand Forks seek to require more wind power

      Associated Press
      FARGO, N.D. - Wind power supporters here and in Grand Forks plan to circulate petitions for local ballot measures that would require the use of renewable energy.

      The South Agassiz Resource Council is backing a proposal for Fargo's November ballot that would change the city charter to require that 20 percent or more of the city's electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. The percentage would jump to at least 30 percent by 2030, under the measure.

      At least half the energy would have to be produced in North Dakota.

      In Grand Forks, a similar measure is backed by a group called Citizens for Affordable Renewable Energy.

      "This is all about consumers exercising a little choice in what we are buying," said Joe Richardson, a member of the South Agassiz Resource Council, which has about 50 members in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

      Development of wind energy across North Dakota also would boost the area's economy, Richardson said Power companies typically lease land for wind towers, paying as much as $5,000 a year per turbine, he said.

      Richardson said his group estimates it needs about 3,000 signatures to put the Fargo measure on the ballot. Its goal is 3,600 signatures by Aug. 1.

      With its wind potential, North Dakota could theoretically supply a third of the country's total energy needs, Richardson said.

      A spokesman for Xcel Energy, which has 45,000 customers in the Fargo area, said a comprehensive approach that includes all of North Dakota and the Upper Midwest might be a better way to go.

      "If it was concentrated just on those two locations (Fargo and Grand Forks), there might be some stability issues as far as the system is concerned," said Mark Nisbet, Xcel's principal manager in North Dakota.

      "We definitely believe renewables have a place. As a general rule, we're concerned with mandates," Nisbet said.

      "Mandates make us nervous because we're not sure what the upper limit is," he said.

      Xcel has 18 wind turbines in North Dakota, providing about 12 megawatts of electricity, he said.


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