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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Otter Tail Drops Big Stone II; Perfect Time to Pass ACESA

It sounds like my friends in the electric co-ops face the non-unique disadvantage argument on the American Clean Energy and Security Act (you know, the big energy bill on which our "Democratic" Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin voted no, since conserving energy for our kids' future is less important than burning coal cheap and avoiding arguments with Republican voters). Big industry players are abandoning plans to expand coal power.

Otter Tail Power Company made the stunning announcement yesterday that it is backing out of the Big Stone II coal-fired power plant. Basin Electric is "re-evaluating the timeline" for the NextGen coal plant it thought about building near Selby. DM&E Railroad put its coal train through Wyoming on hold. Those companies like to lay the blame on regulation and uncertainty over what President Obama might do to them (now there's a transparent political ploy), but the big recession their Republican friends brought them and darned sensible energy conservation by all of us are just as responsible.

Either way, the argument that the American Clean Energy and Security Act will hurt our coal-based economy appears to be losing strength. Companies are already backing away from coal. They're already moving toward alternative energy. Otter Tail and Basin Electric are already bringing about what they consider the "disadvantages" of ACESA. Now is the perfect time to pass ACESA and lock in its clean energy goals so that we don't slide back into our cheap, easy, and dirty old energy habits when the economy fires up again.

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