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Renewable energy mandates sought for cities

North Dakota State Roundup

July 1, 2006

Renewable energy mandates sought for cities

Rising prices for oil and other traditional forms of energy have brought renewable energy back into vogue. Many states have mandated greater use of renewable energy, or are considering doing so. Now, advocates are hoping to convince two of North Dakota's biggest cities to do likewise, for the benefit of both the environment and the state's economy.

Petitions in Fargo and Grand Forks—spearheaded by different groups—seek to put measures on the local November election ballots asking residents to approve a requirement that at least 20 percent of each city's energy usage be from renewable sources by 2020, specifically wind, but also solar and other forms. That figure would rise to 30 percent a decade later. The measures also require that half of the renewable energy come from in-state providers.

Previous studies of wind patterns have shown the state has significant potential to generate wind power, and advocates see city mandates as a way to begin developing an industrial base while helping out rural economies, where most of the turbines would be located.

To be placed on local election ballots, sponsoring groups in each city have to collect several thousand signatures.

Ronald A. Wirtz