Do we have an energy problem? If you have an economy that relies on mining coal, yes you have an energy problem. Your problem is you want to sell coal. However, this is 2021 and the planet is melting, and there are many ways to meet our energy needs that don’t involve coal.

One simple solution is to quit wasting energy. By simply shutting off all the senseless uses of electrical power a massive amount of energy could be saved. Why do we light up streets and parking lots all night? Why do we need electric slot machines? Arizona has a dark skies initiative to protect the telescopes. Wasteful night lighting is suppressed, and it works fine.

Dams like the Garrison Dam are capable of serving as massive batteries, but are not effectively used. The coal industry does not want solutions that don’t involve coal. North Dakota wastes an incredible amount of gas by flaring it rather than running it into homes and turbines. Like so many problems the solution is there, but if the solution does not make the right people rich, then it is considered no solution.

History is nothing but the story of the well off manipulating the less well off. We have learned nothing from history.

Mike Quinn lives in Bismarck.

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