Interest High in EPA’s Proposed Carbon Rule

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Comments are flooding in on the heels of the Obama administration’s June announcement of the United States’ first proposed rule to cut carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed that existing plants reduce carbon dioxide by an average of 30 percent – compared to 2005 levels – by 2030. North Dakota’s reduction goal is to cut CO2 emissions by 10.6 percent.

North Star Electric’s wholesale energy provider, Minnkota Power Cooperative, is concerned about the proposed rule. 

“This is obviously an important issue for Minnkota and other electric cooperatives in this country,” said Mac McLennan, Minnkota president & CEO. “We hope the consumers in our system will go to to learn more and submit official comments on the proposed rule to the EPA.”

The EPA is accepting comments on the proposal until Oct 16.

Two-day public hearings were held in Denver, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh the week of July 28. Interest in the meetings was strong, with speaker slots for Denver, Atlanta and Washington filling up well in advance.

Minnkota Environmental Manager John Graves was one of 388 speakers at the Denver location. An EPA spokesperson said a combined 1,322 people spoke at the four regional meeting locations. All hearings were two days.

“The first concern is that the EPA has based the required CO2 reductions upon the reductions potentially available by the states utilizing four building blocks,” Graves told the EPA. “Of those four building blocks, three of them are ‘outside the fence,’ which we do not believe is permissible under Section 111(d).”

 Graves also said Minnkota is concerned about the length of time before states must submit their State Implementation Plans (SIPs).

 “The guidelines require states to submit their SIPs to the EPA by June of 2016, although a one-year extension is possible,” he said. “Even with the extension, this time frame is too short. Most states took three years to prepare an SIP for the regional haze program, which is a relatively straightforward program compared to this program. States need more time.”

 Minnkota and North Star Electric continue to analyze the proposal, dubbed the “Clean Power Plan,” for its possible effects on the reliability and affordability of electricity for cooperative members and the region at large. Minnkota, like all utilities, interacts with the larger energy market to ensure its members have a dependable and low-cost supply of energy.

Minnkota and North Star Electric have invested more than $425 million into environmental upgrades at the Milton R. Young Station near Center, N.D. Total investment in the clean coal technology at North Dakota’s eight coal-based power plants is more than $2 billion.

Change in bill due dates

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Many of you have noticed that our bills are coming out a bit later and the due dates have changed.  This summer, we are in the process of moving our meter reading dates from the 20th to the end of the month, so we have extended the meter reading date by a couple of days each month.  So as your meter reading date gets pushed forward, so does the bill due date. The due date in August will be on the 16th, the due date in September will be on the 18th, and the due date in October (and all months going forward) will be on the 20th.

Solar Demonstration Project

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Our solar project is up and running at our Baudette office!  The purpose of this project is to evaluate how solar power will work in northern Minnesota, and save time and money for our members who are interested in solar.

We hope to get answers for questions you may have, which might include:

  • Will the solar panels stay snow free in the winter?
  • What is the actual payback?
  • How much troubleshooting is there?

Check out the link below to see the power generated by these solar panels, and stay tuned for more information on this solar project!

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