by David Law, Greater Dakota News Service
Watertown, SD - A report released today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows with a new degree of scientific certainty that global warming is real and mostly man made, and it's fueling a new debate over the proposed Big Stone Two power plant in South Dakota.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report today showing with new certainty that global warming is happening and is mostly man-made. The report, the fourth since 1990, is prompting renewed debate over the merits of a new coal-fired plant under consideration in northeast South Dakota. Jeanne Koster with the South Dakota Resource Coalition says the Big Stone Two power plant would contribute to global warming and that it makes more sense to develop wind power.
Jeanne Koster, member of the South Dakota Resource Coalition and an opponent of the Big Stone Two power plant explained, "This is development that can be pursued incrementally. The power isn't needed all at once, in fact, Big Stone Two can't come on all at once. It will take years. We can gradually be phasing in wind and the coal that we already have is the backup. We have it upside down."
Koster says that a strong economic argument can be made for wind power. "Wind power will bring us more than four times as much annual income as Big Stone Two would. We're looking at 7 million dollars annually economic gains from Big Stone Two, but an investment in wind in South Dakota would bring a steady 35 million annually and several times more permanent jobs. And remember, once those turbines are up, the fuel is free, a gift from heaven," added Koster.
Proponents of the Big Stone Two plant say it's needed to prevent a future energy shortage, but Koster says global warming is moving at an alarming pace and that Congress will eventually respond with carbon charges against customers who purchase energy from power plants that contribute to climate change. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will be holding hearings to either reject or approve a request to build power lines into that state.
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