After the events in New York City and Washington, D.C., it seems hard to think of anything of real importance to write about relative to our business. Things like territorial legislation, load management, and deregulation begin to be of little significance when compared to the thought of our basic freedom being threatened. Maybe this is a reminder of just how wonderful it is to live in the greatest society on the face of the planet.
Whenever there is increased tension involving the Middle East, all Americans immediately become concerned with the flow of and the price of foreign oil. By the time the sun went down on September 11, gas lines were forming at stations throughout the country. Before midnight, some stations in Grand Forks ran out of gasoline, and the next morning all outlets posted higher prices. Some of this was price gouging and some of it was just anticipation of near term shortages. This, of course, did not happen, and the price at the pumps went back to normal in a hurry.
During times like this, we are reminded of the extra security we have by being dependent on North Dakota coal for our generation. Our wholesale power supplier, Minnkota Power Cooperative, is nearly 100% reliant on energy from coal-fired power plants. A small amount of their generation comes from federal hydropower. The fuel cost for Minnkotaâ€™s power plants are much less susceptible to price spikes due to the petroleum market than power plants that burn natural gas. We feel good about our generation supply because it is produced by North Dakota labor from the coalmines all the way to your meter. This industry also results in huge tax revenue for the state of North Dakota and every county government. These are reasons enough to be proud of our in-state electric industry. The extra security during times such as this is something we sometimes forget.
You may have heard radio advertisements recently sponsored by Partners for Affordable Energy. These advertisements make a statement about the value of electricity generated from clean technology, coal-fired power plants. Nodak is one of many electric utilities along with Minnkota who are members of this organization. There are times when some politicians and environmentalists want to discount the value of coal-generated electricity. The Partners for Affordable Energy campaign is an attempt to remind the public of the tremendous asset we have in North Dakota and how important it will be in providing a reliable stream of affordable electricity to our homes and businesses for many years into the future.