Rebutted on Net Metering. Well, Sort of…

Josh Kramer, executive vice president and manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, throws in his two cents on the net metering bill being considered by the North Dakota Legislature. What do YOU think?

Well then. What IS the answer?

Mr. Kramer, executive vice president and manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, throws in his two cents on the net metering bill being considered by the North Dakota Legislature. This is in response to my op-ed in The Forum. I added a little more information than the newspaper’s 500-word limit allows on IV Words.

So, what do YOU think?

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Standard graphic used by The Forum for printing letters to the editor online

Mandating buybacks isn’t the answer
by Josh Kramer

A recent column by Martin C. Fredricks IV published by The Forum expressed support for net metering legislation. I’m relatively sure that the writer was not in the committee room for the bill’s hearing. However, I was, so let me be clear. It was a bad bill, and the amendments made it even worse.

The writer lauded the bill and its prime sponsor, Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, D-Fargo, suggesting that it would make expensive renewable energy generation equipment more economical for utility customers and provide a more equitable reimbursement for customer-generated electricity. Allow me to explain the crucial pieces of this legislation that were not mentioned in his column.

First, this bill would have mandated that electric companies buy back excess power produced by residential or commercial consumers who have some way of generating electricity for themselves. Utilities would have to purchase up to two megawatts, or potentially more with Public Service Commission approval, of excess consumer-generated electricity at a price set by the PSC. How much is a megawatt? Enough electricity to power roughly 750 homes.

Further, this buyback mandate would have been aggressive in scope. The bill not only included electricity produced on an individual’s home or property, but all of such production anywhere within an electric company’s service area. This proposal went far beyond rooftop solar panels.

Please don’t get the impression that electric cooperatives are not doing their part to work with consumer-members or to reduce carbon emissions. Electric cooperatives are self-governed local utilities. The cooperative business model works best when those who receive the service make decisions about it, and North Dakota’s electric cooperatives are very aligned and adaptive to their members’ preferences. Many electric cooperatives in our state have already adopted policies to allow for the buyback of excess power produced by member-owners through solar and wind, at a rate more closely reflective of wholesale rates.

Nearly 30 percent of all the electric power consumed by electric cooperative members is produced by wind, solar and hydroelectric generated electricity. Also, generation cooperatives are investing in and working diligently to deploy new technologies that significantly reduce and capture carbon emissions. Electric co-ops also offer programs which emphasize energy efficiency and conservation. These programs benefit all members, helping to reduce individual electric bills while encouraging members to take ownership of their energy footprint.

Supporters used this bill as a platform to talk about the environment. We, too, want to continue to engage in these conversations. Our member-owned electric cooperatives are leaders and innovators when it comes to renewable energy, conservation and innovation.

However, pursuing new ways to put excess power on the grid – whether it is needed or not – and forcing all utility consumers to pay for it is not the answer. Instead, we must work together to make advances to address a changing climate.

Graphic by Forum Communications Company


Life in a Northern Town – Nicked by a Snowbank


Only in North Dakota/Minnesota….

This story by KFGO radio was picked up by several local media outlets last week (Feb. 19, 2019) –

Chase, Crash and Arrest From Moorhead Into Fargo

Fargo, N.D. (KFGO) – A Fargo man was arrested after backing a stolen vehicle into a Moorhead police squad and fleeing Moorhead and Fargo authorities early Tuesday morning.

The Moorhead Police Department says around 1:30 a.m., an officer spotted a stolen vehicle. When the officer pulled behind the vehicle in a driveway, the driver backed into the squad and fled.

A pursuit followed. The vehicle led officers through Moorhead and eventually onto westbound I-94 and into Fargo. Moorhead terminated their pursuit and the vehicle was able to get away as it exited onto South University Drive.

Around 2:30 a.m., a Moorhead officer on her way home to Fargo, spotted the stolen vehicle again. Fargo police responded to the area and the vehicle continued to flee anytime it spotted an officer. The vehicle, however, eventually got stuck in a snow bank in the 5100 Block of 44 Street South.

The vehicle’s two occupants were taken into custody.

The passenger was later released.

The driver, 36-year-old Dennis Merritt, was taken to the Cass County Jail. He is being held on charges for Moorhead Police including fleeing, possession of stolen property, criminal damage to property, leaving the scene of an accident, and no driver’s license.

The squad car has moderate damage to the front bumper area.

F*@% Trump’s Fake “National Emergency”

“An irony here is that the United States today is in fact haunted by many actual and interrelated national emergencies. Here below are the top thirty-one that came to the present writer’s mind this last weekend….” – Paul Street

There are plenty of real national emergencies that need our attention.

President Donald J. Trump declared a national emergency last week, calling the “situation” at the border between the United States and Mexico a “national security crisis.”

“It’s an invasion,” (Trump) added. “We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country.”

He did so to gain access to funds to build his dream of a useless, ineffectual border wall.

Image of a red ladder reaching toward a blue sky (re: Donald Trump border wall)

IV Words calls bullshit. After all, Trump manufactured the problems at the border himself. This is an abuse of presidential power, and he’s being sued by multiple states and organizations to stop it.

Paul Street and Rick Cooley call BS, too.

In a post shared on the Dandelion Salad blog and re-shared on Rcooley123’s Blog,  Street shares 31 actual emergencies this nation needs to address. And these are just the ones from the top of his head. Check them out.

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© Martin C. Fredricks IV, 2019
Political cartoon by Mike Luckovich from the ArcaMax “Political Cartoon Digest.” Copyright 2019 Creators Syndicate Inc. Subscribe here.

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Mr. Bison on the Radio

Image that accompanies CLICK TO LISTEN – Jason Anderson, host of “The Solidarity Effect” on Radio Free Fargo 95.9 FM, reads “Mr. Bison Goes to Washington” on air.

“The Solidarity Effect” host and IV Words friend Jason Anderson shared “Mr. Bison Goes to Washington” on Radio Free Fargo, FM 95.9 this morning.

I grabbed a (ghastly quality) recording – click to listen.

Thank you, Jason Anderson, “The Solidarity Effect” and Radio Free Fargo. Keep tellin’ it like it is!

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© Martin C. Fredricks IV, 2019

Mr. Bison Goes to Washington

The North Dakota State University Bison football team is going to Washington, D.C. What an honor. Now, if only…

If Only They Were Going to Be Greeted by a Fellow Champion

NDSU’s football team is going to Washington, D.C. Good for them. If any athlete or sports team deserves it, the Bison do. Fifteen national titles and seven of the last eight. Wow.

No matter who the president is, being invited to the White House is an honor.

Or so someone recently pointed out. Made my skin crawl at first. But I’ve come around.

Continue reading “Mr. Bison Goes to Washington”

“a million miles”

Short walk.
Softly snow falls,
quiet, seeing.

A flake floats, hovering moment.
Changes the way
back, continues to descend.

Surfer skimming crystal.
Tender power, creation,
cutback along the crest.

Then on down.
Down down down
below the swell.

Crunches underboot.
Breathless moment

Rigs on the highway.
Distance of thousands,
far. But not so.

Sounds another dimension.
Gliding across waves,
a million miles across.

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© 2019 Martin C. Fredricks IV

Own an Electric Vehicle or Hybrid? You Pay More. Gas-Powered? You Don’t.

If there’s no need to raise the gas tax, why stick it to electric vehicle and hybrid owners? 

ND Legislature declines gas-tax increase for transportation infrastructure

The North Dakota Senate’s decision to vote down a bill to raise the state’s gas tax is completely incongruent with some senators’ contention that owners of #electricvehicles and hybrids need to pay a “road-use fee” to cover their share of road construction and maintenance.

If there’s no need to raise the gas tax, why stick it to EV and hybrid owners?

Backwards Bill Would Deter People from Purchasing Electric Vehicles – IV Words, Jan. 17, 2019

N Dakota Senate passes bill creating road use fee for hybrid and electric vehicles – Green Car Congress, Jan. 31, 2019

Despite pleas for road funding, North Dakota Senate rejects gas tax increase – Grand Forks Herald, Feb. 4, 2019

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© 2019 Martin C. Fredricks IV
Photo illustration by Troy Becker, Grand Forks Herald

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North Dakota Legislature Should Pass Net Metering Bill

A Senate committee is expected to issue a “do not pass” recommendation on a net metering bill introduced by Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, D-44. The full Legislature should pass it, anyway. It’s the right thing to do.

SB 2322 Will Provide Universal Benefits

The N.D. Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee is expected to issue a “do not pass” recommendation on a bill that would benefit farmers, ranchers, businesses, workers and homeowners. More importantly, it would limit negative impacts to the environment.

The committee heard testimony from environmental advocates, utilities and others on Tuesday, February 5, on Senate Bill 2322, which is related to net metering of electricity.

The purposes of the bill, introduced by Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, D-44, are to make it economical for utility customers to install expensive renewable energy generation equipment and provide more equitable reimbursement for customer-generated electricity by utilities across the state.

Continue reading “North Dakota Legislature Should Pass Net Metering Bill”