Letter: Now is the time to fund the transition from coal to renewables
A report released March 1, 2018, by Bloomberg's New Energy Finance group shows Minnesota's renewable energy technologies are now producing electricity cheaper than coal and nuclear can. The report also shows Minnesota is importing less electricity from other states thanks to the growth of wind and solar capacity. The North Dakota lawsuit against Minnesota's requirement reducing coal-generated electricity imports is becoming a loser—a short lived victory and wasted North Dakota tax dollars.
The renewable energy technology train is leaving North Dakota coal at the station, and North Dakota will be worse off in the future due to its policies favoring coal. Coal can not compete with the free fuel of renewable solar and wind. Solar and wind are technologies and are not a commodity like coal. Technology creates economies of scale and decreasing costs just like computer chips have.
Electrical power demand has been flat for 10 years across our country even as the economy grew. Technology made this happen. Utilities' profit for 100 years has depended on increasing demand. That assumption is no longer relevant. Now is the time for North Dakota to plan and fund the transition from coal to renewables or be left behind.