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.”