Here in North Dakota we have enough coal to give us power for more than the next 800 years.
But our state is rich with many natural resources, including wind.
Coal still remains the highly reliable base source of energy that we rely on for power.
BNI Energy President Wade Boeshans says, “We’re in a smart phone, smart car, smart house, 24-7 and we can’t be without power for even a millisecond.”
Wind on the other hand, is an intermittent resource.
Boeshans adds, “It’s a cost effective resource that provides power 40 to 50 percent of the time.”
It also comes with zero emissions, and the potential for wind energy in this state is great.
According to a study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Lab, North Dakota is the sixth windiest state.
Allete Renewable Production Supervisor Ben Reister explains, “Winter is a little bit better than summer, but you can definitely have high production any time of the year.”
When it comes to coal, Boeshans says, “It’s high reliability, high resiliency, 24-7, every second of the day it’s generally there”
He says the lignite industry also employs 15,000 people in our state.
Wind is less job intensive.
Reister adds, “For a farm our size [there are] about 40 to 50 people on site.”
Reister says wind is a clean energy.
He elaborates, “Renewables are really popular right now. That’s the way things are going.”
According to Boeshans, it’s important that we keep a diversified energy profile for the consumer’s sake.
He says, “We believe that if you have energy security, you have national security, which in turn leads to economic security. And really, no state has done this better than North Dakota.”
Our state also has a rich oil and gas industry, as well as other budding forms of renewable energy, including hydro power and bio fuels like ethanol.