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Energy & Environment

Too much dependence on wind for electricity?

A member of the North Dakota Public Service Commission thinks North Dakota is becoming too dependent on wind power.

Randy Christmann’s comments came when the PSC approved the siting of a 110-megawatt wind farm near Hebron. It's the Sunflower Wind project. The $180 million project would include up to 59 turbines.

Christmann voted for it – but raised his concerns.

"The North Dakota Legislature's objective of 10 percent has long since been surpassed," said Christmann. "It disturbs me that we are becoming this reliant on wind. However, thanks to the Administration  and specifically the EPA, we're down to almost zero alternatives."

Christmann says wind is not 100 percent reliable. But he says the new EPA rules make it harder for companies to invest in base load power sources, such as coal-fired plants.

PSC Chairman Brian Kalk says with a growing demand for power in North Dakota, he believes power companies will look at all sources -- including coal, natural gas and wind -- to help meet that demand. But he says new EPA rules could make it harder to get a coal plant built.

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