ND bursting with energy
BISMARCK, N.D. -- We've got energy to spare. North Dakota has climbed to 10th among the states for wind production. A project is being developed to refine a renewable jet fuel at the Tesoro Oil Refinery in Mandan, N.D. The first coal-fired power ...
BISMARCK, N.D. -- We've got energy to spare.
North Dakota has climbed to 10th among the states for wind production. A project is being developed to refine a renewable jet fuel at the Tesoro Oil Refinery in Mandan, N.D. The first coal-fired power plant to begin operations in the state in 25 years expects to begin producing electricity yet this year. An 85-mile crude oil pipeline through McKenzie, Dunn and Billings counties has been proposed. These are the recent high-profile snippets of energy news.
Wind, oil, coal and biofuels. Let's call it a diversified energy sector. As North Dakota farmers help feed the nation, the state's energy producers will help America power up.
After world peace . . .
The world has two serious demands after peace: Hunger and a growing need for energy. North Dakota has, step by step, moved into position to have a key role in the way the global future plays out. The state exports food and energy and has the capacity to increase those exports.
North Dakota's growing energy production, in particular crude oil but also wind power, is balanced by the state's strong agricultural interests. Balanced in terms of taking care of the environment. And taking care of people. It's an off-setting tension that makes the future seem less industrially difficult -- no awful slag heaps here.
The approach to this point of energy diversity has been cautious, some might say slow, and that reflects the nature of many North Dakotans. And although the past week has had an interesting collection of energy news items, there's a drag on the whole energy industry in the state. It's a federal drag. The nation continues to operate without a national energy policy (with the uncertainty of proposed cap and trade resurfacing in President Obama's State of the Union address) and with additional uncertainty in the financial markets that will be needed to finance the growth.
Federal action on these issues cannot be described as being too cautious. They are, instead, victims of the polarized debate over health care reform. North Dakota needs Congress to work through these important concerns. The nation needs to have it happen.
Meanwhile, in North Dakota, plans are made, development projects are nurtured and wells are drilled. Transmission lines and pipelines to market are plotted across the prairie. The momentum for a strong, long-term state economy grows.