North Dakota has come "dangerously close" to not having the power it needs.

That's what Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said on this episode of Plain Talk. He noted that political policies favoring energy sources like wind and solar are "distorting the economic viability" of baseload energy like coal.

Secretary Brouillette said he wasn't going to criticize a company like Great River Energy, which announced earlier this year that they would be closing down North Dakota's largest coal-fired power plant because they're reacting rationally to a distorted market place.

Still, with baseload energy sources like coal plants closing, it's putting Americans, generally, and North Dakotans, specifically, at risk.

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"If anyone misses the point of why baseload energy is important... look at California," Brouillette said.

The Secretary is visiting North Dakota to review the nuclear missions at the Minot Air Force Base and to participate in roundtable discussions about the challenges facing the oil, gas, and coal industries, issues he also addressed in this episode.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at