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Senator Dorgan Says He’ll Introduce Transmission Piece of Pickens Plan

Nov 17, 2008 - Wind Energy Weekly

U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), a senior member of the Senate Energy Committee, said he intends to introduce legislation containing the portion of T. Boone Pickens’s energy plan calling for creation of a national electric transmission grid and a major expansion of wind and solar energy.

“I will introduce part of the Pickens plan in the U.S. Senate calling for the building of a nationwide electric transmission superhighway,” said Dorgan. “It will allow our country to maximize the potential to produce vast wind energy in the heartland from Texas to North Dakota. And it will allow us to develop solar energy from the southwest to California. We can put that electric energy on the transmission superhighway and move it to where it is needed in our country. By maximizing our production and use of renewable energy here at home, we will reduce our need for imported oil.”

Dorgan’s comments came at the Great Plains Energy Expo that he sponsored in Bismarck, N.D., this week. Creation of a transmission superhighway that can transport energy from areas with vast renewable resources to load centers is a key policy agenda item for AWEA and the wind industry.

“I agree with Mr. Pickens that our country is facing an energy crisis, and we can’t be taking baby steps to solve it,” said Dorgan. “We are importing 65% of our oil from foreign countries, many of them located in troubled parts of the world. Our American petroleum dollars are ending up in the bank accounts of foreign governments, and, among other things, enough of it is spilling from the oil barrel to finance the terrorist organizations that are a threat to our homeland. All of this hol ds our country’s economic future hostage to events we can’t control. That has to stop.”

The “Pickens Plan,” as it is known, calls for 20% of the nation’s electricity to come from wind. The resulting natural gas saved in the electric sector—as much as 50%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s recent report showing the feasibility of 20% wind—would be used in the transportation sector to fuel a large proportion of the nation’s vehicles.

“North Dakota will play a major role in a robust plan to develop renewable energy, especially wind energy,” said Dorgan. “We are the Saudi Arabia of wind, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.”


Updated: 2003/07/28