Fargo’s Working to Make Every Day Earth Day. North Dakota Not So Much

One one hand, North Dakota is known for a fairly harsh environment with weather extremes and for higher than average per capita energy use and emissions. When compared with our Minnesota neighbors and other states with effective energy efficiency programs we pale in comparison. Just this week a national rating service Wallethub rated North Dakota 47th in the country for energy efficiency.
Most Environmentally Friendly States

Overall Rank
State Total Score ‘Environmental Quality’ Rank ‘Eco-Friendly Behaviors’ Rank ‘Climate-Change Contributions’ Rank
1 Vermont 75.48 1 1 23
2 Oregon 74.23 3 2 20
3 Massachusetts 72.63 5 10 3
4 New York 72.11 4 19 2
5 South Dakota 70.54 6 5 11
6 Minnesota 69.46 2 14 16
7 Connecticut 68.99 9 22 1
8 New Hampshire 68.49 10 18 5
9 California 67.52 43 3 4
10 Rhode Island 66.68 7 28 6
11 Maine 66.63 13 4 17
12 Nevada 64.83 33 8 7
13 New Jersey 63.42 36 12 9
14 Wisconsin 63.40 8 29 13
15 Idaho 63.35 23 11 12
16 Hawaii 62.82 28 7 10
17 Washington 62.65 12 9 22
18 Maryland 62.19 38 16 8
19 Delaware 60.43 25 21 14
20 Michigan 60.38 11 35 19
21 Colorado 56.45 26 15 33
22 North Carolina 56.25 19 32 21
23 Tennessee 56.07 21 41 18
24 Georgia 55.74 18 27 27
25 Pennsylvania 55.17 17 24 32
26 Illinois 55.15 15 31 30
27 Missouri 54.85 14 42 28
28 Arizona 54.79 42 17 25
29 South Carolina 54.27 31 43 15
30 New Mexico 53.13 39 6 36
31 Iowa 52.99 16 20 40
32 Nebraska 52.87 34 25 31
33 Montana 52.35 44 13 29
34 Florida 51.70 24 39 35
35 Virginia 51.05 40 38 24
36 Alaska 50.79 22 36 37
37 Ohio 49.91 46 30 26
38 Kansas 49.77 29 23 41
39 Utah 48.89 30 34 39
40 Mississippi 45.35 20 45 43
41 Arkansas 44.99 45 44 34
42 Indiana 44.60 27 46 42
43 Texas 44.05 48 33 38
44 Oklahoma 40.82 47 40 44
45 Wyoming 40.44 35 37 46
46 Alabama 40.22 32 48 45
47 North Dakota 39.72 37 26 48
48 Kentucky 31.71 50 47 47
49 Louisiana 26.03 49 49 49
50 West Virginia 25.08 41 50 50

Fargo on the other hand, has been recognized for years as a national leader for innovative energy saving and revenue producing conservation efforts earning the designation by the Earth Day Network as the country’s most environmental city in 2007. Most recently, efargo was one of over 50 cities competing for the 2 year Georgetown University Energy Prize. 
Some good news is Geronimo Energy’s 200 MGW solar array in Cass County could provide the city of Fargo with another great renewable energy source to help us reach our efargo goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. Geronimo Energy announced these plans at last years Renewable Energy and Conservation presentation. Local resiliency leaders shared Fargo’s conservation projects and introduction by our grass roots group Citizens Leading Energy Action Network C.L.E.A.N. led by Ed Gruchalla and Paul Jensen.
As the sharing economy is becoming more prevalent, some of us have been working on a feasibility study for allocating some of the new solar and available wind power to Fargo. One way to start this could be allocating offsite renewable power for a pilot hybrid smart meter project that would include: smart chargers, electric car sharing project (EVs to GO) that would help shave peak energy costs, reduce congestion and emissions, store electricity, and add another transportation option that compliments Matbus, Great Rides Bikeshare, carpooling, and walking.  We learned about a similar system at Vulkan 5 in Oslo on our Smart Innovations Learning Tour to Norway in February that I helped coordinate with our eSmart Systems friend Henrik Bache and others.
Photo below. This mixed use residents/commercial/parking development uses mostly renewable energy, has smart EV car charging, and smart meters for the residences to reduce energy use and save money. Norway has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and now a full 50% of new cars purchased are electric.
Here’s an earlier editorial about our efargo team led by Bush Fellow, Young Architect of the Year, and Nominee for YWCA Woman of the Year Malini Srivastava and students and community partners winning the 2 year national competition for the Georgetown University Energy Prize.

Editorial: Fargo’s ‘green city’ efforts save energy and money

The city of Fargo and its partners in conservation have been working hard for years to increase efficiencies and curb energy use. Their comprehensive efforts were recently recognized when they won the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize, a two-year competition between 50 semifinalist cities throughout the nation. Over the two years, the city and its residents saved an estimated $2 million in energy costs. That’s tangible evidence of the benefits of energy conservation, which is too easy to dismiss as the lofty aim of do-gooders. It’s all the more remarkable considering that North Dakota consistently ranks at or near the bottom of states in energy efficiency.
Fargo began working in 2014 with its partners—North Dakota State University, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Xcel Energy and Cass County Electric Cooperative—to form the partnership, called eFargo. But the conservation collaborations evident in Fargo’s winning effort can trace their lineage back years, some instigated by former City Commissioner Mike Williams.

The stench from the city landfill, for instance, prompted city officials in 2009 to turn methane gas into electricity, and convert sewage into water suitable for industrial use. That effort was estimated to contribute $2 million a year to city coffers. Every day, the city treats about 12 million gallons of wastewater. Now up to two million gallons of water per day, once discharged into the Red River, is piped to an ethanol plant in Casselton, earning a profit for the city and reducing the use of groundwater.
Since 2002, the city worked to replace incandescent street light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs, which now illuminate all traffic lights and 85 percent of pedestrian traffic lights, saving $30,000 per year. Similarly, the MATBUS fleet uses biofuel blends and runs eight hybrids to save fuel and therefore reduce emissions. Altogether, city generation from methane, solar power and wind over the years has produced 57.1 million kilowatt hours—impressive, considering 1 kilowatt hour will power a 100-watt light bulb for 10 hours. The landfill methane generator produces enough energy to power 700 homes every day.
The eFargo collaboration builds upon that foundation. Among other steps, it resulted in creation of a website that provides tips, data and games, including an evil character, Waste-A-Watt, to encourage energy efficiency and conservation. Students are a major focus of the effort, since they live where most energy is consumed—homes constitute 85 percent of Fargo’s energy use. The efforts saved the equivalent of 50.4 megawatts of power.

Fargo has long prided itself on being a “green city.” The $5 million prize will help spur further efforts that will make the city even greener. Malini Srivastava, a professor at NDSU and leader of the project, hopes to use the prize money to work toward a net-zero carbon future for the Fargo-Moorhead metro area. One of the criteria that enabled Fargo to win the competition was the replicability of its strategies. We should spread the green; more communities would do well to follow Fargo’s lead.
Editorials represent the views of Forum management and the Editorial Board.
~ End Article~
Fargo has made some solid progress building on good work by many proving conservation saves and pays. While it’s good to be recognized as an environmental leader nationally, we have much more work to do to protect our environment and natural resources. Let’s work together to vastly improve our stewardship of the only home we have, planet earth. After all, it’s in our hands. 

Great Rides Bikeshare Leading Austin TX and Others to Better Bike Systems

Since our Great Rides Bikeshare record breaking launch in 2015 (awarded nations most rides per bike per day three years running) we’ve met with the leaders of Bikeshare around the country at B-Cycle World and received inquiries and had discussions with cities and Universities over the years. We’ve been open and eager to share our innovative student led, easy access model.
Cool to see Austin TX is another system we’ve worked with that has adopted our model to help reduce campus congestion and add value and their ridership is exploding!
So fun to see our student led, innovative Great Rides Bikeshare model that took us from 2011 – 2014 to develop, gain student support along with strong community sponsors is now helping lead the nations bikeshares toward easier to use and more robust systems.
We’ve been delivering on the demand for sharing economy solutions to reduce transportation costs and congestion and having a positive national impact.
Let’s keep making it a Great Ride!
Here’s a quote from the article:“Some people were looking at Fargo as if is this an outlier, a one-off,” he said. “I think what we’re showing is, no, if you integrate a campus system with a larger city system — if you remove some of those barriers, this can really work.”
PlacesForBikes helps U.S. communities buil
First in a series of profiles of the Big Jump Project’s 10 focus areas. Central Austin seems to have everything: a massive research university, the world’s biggest annual media festival and one of the country’s strongest local job-creation engines. But when a city sees so much success, it runs …

Campus bike sharing in the United States seems to have hit a new high water mark on the flagship campus of the University of Texas.
Forty days after launching a free pilot program for UT students with 85 new bikes to serve them, Austin B-Cycle says it’s on track to more than double the ridership of its entire 530-bike system.
Austin Active Transportation Program Manager Laura Dierenfield said 7,800 students have registered for the program so far — 15 percent of the UT campus’s entire student body.
“We were hoping for, like, 3,000 for the life of the pilot in the first 18 months,” Dierenfield said. “We had twice that in the first week.”
Students aren’t just signing up for the free program, either. They’re biking. In the program’s first 40 days, the campus bike docks averaged 12 checkouts per bike per day.
For comparison’s sake, the average New York Citi Bike is ridden five to six times per day during the spring.
“It’s been increasing in general because the weather’s getting even nicer,” Austin B-Cycle Director Elliott McFadden said. “We have 11 campus-area stations, and they are the top 11 stations in our system now.”

UT’s rapid embrace of bike sharing already puts the campus in striking distance of ridership at maybe the nation’s most successful university-linked bike share system, at North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D. During that system’s season, its 100 bikes average 13 checkouts per day.
“We’re close to their kind of usage, and that took them about six months to get there,” McFadden said. (NDSU’s program is also free for students to join, paid for out of student services fees.)

St. Patrick’s Parade a Sure Sign of Spring

Thanks to all the wonderful organizers of this family friendly community event. Thousands turned out again for the 22nd Annual St. Patrick’s Parade in Fargo.
Ellen Mahli is the matriarch of the parade along with her family and many friends starting many years ago with a small march around their neighborhood blocks. It’s evolved and grown ever since. 
The parade is led off by area veterans followed by Fargo Firefighters and over 100 entries with dancing, biking, music, singing, and marching. 
Families and organizations enter with their floats, vehicles, bikes, and music. 
Our Great Rides Bikeshare Brigade celebrated our 4th parade since launching in 2015. So cool that Great Rides unique user friendly model has the most rides per bike per day in the nation for the 3rd year in a row. Here’s our 2018 edition of our Great Rides Bikeshare Brigade: 
Here are more photos of some of the fun with thousands enjoying the parade
Here’s to an early spring, green lawns, and may the luck of the Irish be with all of us!

Former Fargo City Commissioner Announces Run for 2018

Former Fargo City Commissioner Mike Williams is missing his old job.

He announced this morning on KFGO that he will run again for a seat on the commission in 2018.

Williams served three consecutive four-year terms on the board and left at the end of June 2016 due to term limits.

But the city allows a person to run again in the next regular election and the term limits start over.

The 61-year old Williams calls himself a citizens advocate and says he’s eager to return.

Mayor Tim Mahoney, Commissioner Tony Gehrig and Commissioner Dave Piepkorn are all up for re-election in 2018.

The mayor has said he will run for a second term.

Former Fargo City Commissioner Mike Williams to run again

Mike Williams says he will run again for Fargo City Commission. Williams served three consecutive terms on the commission, the maximum allowed by city term limits before leaving the board this past June. The 61-year old Williams calls himself a citizens advocate and says he’s eager to return. He made his announcement on KFGO’s News & Views with Joel Heitkamp Wed.

The terms of commissioners Tony Gehrig and Dave Piepkorn are up for election in the June 2018 as is that of Mayor Tim Mahoney who said earlier he plans to run for re-election to a second term. He was elected mayor in a special election in 2015, filling out the term of Dennis Walaker who died. He was previously a city commissioner.


After two-year break, Williams will run again for Fargo City Commission

Mike Williams served three straight terms on the Fargo City Commission, and in June he hopes to be elected to his fourth after a two-year hiatus.

Williams has declared his candidacy for the commission spot to be determined in the June 2018 city election.

“I’d like to build on some of the good work that happened over my 12 years on the commission,” Williams said Wednesday, Nov. 22.

City law allows a maximum of three consecutive terms on the commission. After the two-year break, Williams will be eligible to run again.

When wrapping up his third stint in June 2016, Williams indicated he wasn’t done with his days of advocacy, saying another run was “a good possibility.”

Williams said he wants to focus on water management, and not just flood protection, but water supply and conservation.

Affordable housing would be another area of concentration.

“The starting point is people’s well-being — being able to afford to live in a quality place,” he said.

Williams expects there will be a good slate of candidates.

“Sometimes as many as 11 people have run. That’s good. It shows a lot of interest,” Williams said.

The terms of Commissioners Tony Gehrig and Dave Piepkorn are up next June, as is the term of Mayor Tim Mahoney, who announced in September he plans to run for re-election.


Oil and Coal Subsidies/incentives Are Baked Into Pseudo US Energy “Market”

A recent blog featured in the Forum Opinions page erroneously stated the Production Tax Credit for wind energy is (as he states it in the article) a “Completely perverse 23 cents kwh”.  This is simply not true, the PTC before 12-31-16 was 0.023 or 2.3 cents/kwh and now it’s 0.0184 or 1.8 cents/kwh.
Here is that information from the Energy.gov site:
Applying the inflation-adjustment factor for the 2016 calendar year, the production tax credit amount is as follows:

  • $0.023/kWh for wind, closed-loop biomass, geothermal energy resources, and solar systems that have not claimed the Investment Tax Credit
  • $0.012/kWh for open-loop biomass, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, qualified hydroelectric, and marine and hydrokinetic energy resources

The tax credit is phased down for wind facilities and expires for other technologies commencing construction after December 31, 2016. The phase-down for wind facilities is described as a percentage reduction in the tax credit amount described above:

  • For wind facilities commencing construction in 2017, the PTC amount is reduced by 20%
  • For wind facilities commencing construction in 2018, the PTC amount is reduced by 40%
  • For wind facilities commencing construction in 2019, the PTC amount is reduced by 60%

Note that the exact amount of the production tax credit for the tax years 2017-2019 will depend on the inflation-adjustment factor used by the IRS in the respective tax years.
~End Chart ~
The misinformation campaigns about our current energy “Markets” such as the PTC being 23 cents is having a detrimental effect to renewable energy projects in North Dakota. Recently Xcel Energy announced they wanted to install another 300 mgw of wind production in South Dakota. They have plans for more projects that combine natural gas peaking with wind generation. Instead of throwing up obstacles, a welcoming atmosphere for these projects would help North Dakotans benefit by becoming a renewable energy leader.
The PTC subsidies are being reduced even though they are a fraction of those coal and oil subsidies that have been developed and ingrained in the skewed energy “Market” for over a century. Reducing the PTC while wind, solar, and geothermal are produced at scale at a lower cost per unit of energy produced could be a good strategy as long as we also recognize and reduce subsidies ingrained in our country’s policies for fossil fuels.
Here are some research statistics from Oil Change International in an article by Vox writer David Roberts:

fossil fuel subsidies(OSI)

You probably can’t read that text, so here are the top six:

  • Intangible drilling oil & gas deduction ($2.3 billion)
  • Excess of percentage over cost depletion ($1.5 billion)
  • Master Limited Partnerships tax exemption ($1.6 billion)
  • Last-in, first-out (LIFO) accounting ($1.7 billion)
  • Lost royalties from onshore and offshore drilling ($1.2 billion)
  • Low-cost leasing of coal-production in the Powder River Basin ($963 million)

(I listed six because that sixth one is the biggie for coal.)

As subsidies age, they start to look less like subsidies. They start looking like fixed features of the landscape, like mountains or rivers, rather than choices we are making. They just look like the status quo.

How does this compare to renewable energy subsidies? In terms of permanent tax expenditures, fossil fuels beat renewables by a 7-1 margin:

energy subsidies(OCI)

(The primary federal tax supports for renewable energy — the investment and production tax credits, respectively — are not permanent. They are set to phase out over the next five years, and are politically vulnerable in the meantime. But if you include them, Stephen Kretzmann of OCI confirmed for me over email, permanent fossil tax breaks still win, at $7.4 billion to $5.6 billion.)

If you ask people in fossil fuel industries, their support staff in conservative think tanks, or fossil-state politicians, they will tell you why these fossil fuel production subsidies are necessary. It’s always been this way. They’re more than paid back by tax revenue. Other industries get them too. (For the record: More than half the $20 billion is available to fossil fuels alone). They create jobs. They’re important for national security. Tax expenditures aren’t subsidies at all, if you think about it. Etc.

Speaking of rent-seeking, here’s a final fun factoid from OCI:

In the 2015-2016 election cycle, oil, gas, and coal companies spent $354 million in campaign contributions and lobbying and received $29.4 billion in federal subsidies in total over those same years — an 8,200% return on investment.

Not bad.

                                                                       ~ End Article ~
Our country’s energy policies need to evolve beyond a system based on a century of oil and coal production in what has been and continues to be a skewed “market” that counter productively extends our country’s dependence on one time harvest fossil fuels. This while countries around the world and some states are embracing technology and cleaner renewable energy, storage, along with more efficient and resilient distributed energy systems now being developed close to Moores Law speed. There are already far more people employed in the solar industry field than in the coal industry and the renewable energy job market continues to grow. 
North Dakota is not moving forward if our state leaders and Public Service Commission continue to focus their efforts and our public money on extending our dependence and production of last century’s fuels with projects like the Allam Cycle that the developer can’t find banks to loan money for perhaps because banks recognize coal is a finite resource and not viable as a energy of the future.
Instead we could convert older coal plants to burn available natural gas that is currently being flared. This type of plant is more adaptive and interacts better with intermittent wind and solar generation. This would be a cleaner transitional step while we focus on helping develop energy storage systems and distributed energy.
A solid path forward is embracing technology and helping develop and use cleaner renewable energy and storage solutions that will help make North Dakota an energy leader into the future.

We New Arrivals in Fargo Honor Indigenous People’s Day

Love this day to honor the people and cultures that lived here thousands of years before we immigrants moved here.
Proud that Fargo is a city that celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day thanks to wonderful community work by our Native American Commission. Time magazines list left us and some other cities off their list today. 
People around the world are drawn to areas that are interesting, diverse, and respect for people is a driving force of the culture. Minnesota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Alaska recognize this day as Indigenous Peoples Day as a state. I ask that Governor Doug Burgum and our State Legislature to please help lead the way along with with those states and work to have North Dakota also designate this day to honor indigenous people.
Here’s a list of peer cities that recognize Indigenous Peoples Day from an article in Time Magazine.

Here Are The Cities That Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day Instead of Columbus Day

Oct 08, 2017

Each year, more cities, states and universities opt to celebrate an alternative to Columbus Day: Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Instead of honoring Christopher Columbus, the Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes Native Americans, who were the first inhabitants of the land that later became the United States of America. Advocates for the switch to Indigenous Peoples Day argue that Columbus did not “discover” America in 1492 but instead began the colonization of it. For decades, Native American activists have advocated abolishing Columbus Day, which became a federal holiday in 1937.

This year, both Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day are on Monday, Oct. 9.

While the United Nations declared August 9 as International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in late 1994, Berkeley, Calif., had already become the first city in the U.S. to replace Columbus Day itself. The city’s decision was influenced by the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, in 1990, which spurred another Northern California conference that discussed similar issues and brought them to the Berkeley City Council, TIME has reported.

With the exception of Santa Cruz, Calif., and the state of South Dakota, which adopted the similar Native American Day in place of Columbus Day in 1990, the cities, states and universities that have chosen to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead have done so only recently, with cities like Minneapolis and Seattle voting to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead in 2014.

Which cities and states celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day?




*Celebrates Native American Day.

**Celebrates both Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day.

Why is Columbus Day so controversial now?

Critics of Columbus Day argue that the holiday does not celebrate the discovery of America, but instead honors the mass genocide and colonization of the people indigenous to the land.

“[Columbus] was one of the first Europeans to get to the American continent, but there was a lot of history that came after that in terms of the wiping out of native people,” Loni Hancock, the mayor of Berkeley in 1992 and former California state senator, told TIME in 2014. “It just didn’t seem appropriate. It seemed like a reemphasizing of history and recognizing that to be very ethnocentric really diminishes us all.”

What cities are considering celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead?

Several other cities are considering an alternative to Columbus Day, replacing celebrations of Columbus with that of indigenous people.

A member of Washington, D.C.’s city council proposed a bill to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio created a commission to assess the value of monuments of historical figures in public spaces in the city. That includes the monument honoring the Italian explorer in Columbus Circle near Central Park.

Just days before the 2017 holiday, the city council in Austin, Texas, voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The town of Newcastle, Maine, is considering a change to follow the lead of a number of other cities in the state, though members of the town’s Board of Selectmen’s won’t vote on the matter until the 2017 holiday has passed.

Advocates for the switch have also voiced the desire for the change in Santa Barbara, Calif.Silver City, N.M. and Miami County, Kansas, among other cities.

GM Announces the Future Is All Electric, Let’s Ride the Wave!

Way to be data driven and embrace technology GM! I didn’t know that GM sold more vehicles in China 3.6 million (many electric two seaters) compared to 3 million vehicles in the US.
They’re joining a growing list of manufacturers around the world going electric and also working on self driving cars. We can prepare and ride the technology wave or be battered by it by denial and not planning for the future.
Here’s a segment of an article on the announcement from GM from Wired published 10-2-17:

“AFTER MORE THAN a century peddling vehicles that pollute the atmosphere, General Motors is ending its relationship with gasoline and diesel. This morning, the American automotive giant announced that it is working toward an all-electric, zero-emissions future. That starts with two new, fully electric models next year—then at least 18 more by 2023.

That product onslaught puts the company at the forefront of an increasingly large crowd of automakers proclaiming the age of electricity and promising to move away from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. In recent months, Volvo, Aston Martin, and Jaguar Land Rover have announced similar moves. GM’s declaration, though, is particularly noteworthy because it’s among the very largest automakers on the planet. It sold 10 million cars last year, ranging from pickups to SUVs to urban runabouts.

“General Motors believes the future is all-electric,” says Mark Reuss, the company’s head of product. “We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world.”

Reuss did not give a date for the death knell of the GM gas- or diesel-powered car, saying the transition will happen at different speeds in different markets and regions. The new all-electric models will be a mix of battery electric cars and fuel cell-powered vehicles.

 To be sure, GM’s sudden jolt of electricity is planned with its shareholders in mind. The Trump Administration may be moving to roll back fuel efficiency requirements in the US, but the rest of the world is insisting on an electric age. France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway have all said they plan to ban the sale of gas and diesel cars in the coming decades. More importantly, China—the world’s largest car market—and India, a rising star, plan to join them. No automaker can compete globally without a compelling stable of electric cars.”
                                                                                    ~End article~
GM is just one of many manufacturers that are embracing technology, being data driven, and moving on to electric vehicles and autonomous driving features.
Here is another piece from a Mashable article sharing information on a broad range of manufacturers transitioning to electric vehicles.
“A recent spate of announcements from the biggest names in the auto industry has put electric vehicle development front and center. Some carmakers have even pledged to release only all-electric or electrified vehicles — which include hybrid engines that run on electric power at least some of the time — by certain target dates.

If these promises come to bear, the next decade will see a major shift in production trends, bringing electric vehicles to the streets in unprecedented numbers. That shift has already started, with a wave of all-electric cars built for mass appeal like the Chevy BoltNissan Leaf, and Tesla Model 3 now available. The next few years will see even more growth in the EV space.
Since most major automakers have at least outlined plans for electrification, we’ve compiled a list of  where they stand on EVs and when we can expect to see the new cars out on the road.

  • GM said it plans to phase out gas-powered vehicles for an “all-electric future” but didn’t give an exact date for an all-EV line. The effort starts, however, with plans for 20 all-electric vehicles by 2023.
  • Ford created the EV-dedicated “Team Edison” to focus on the development of all-electric cars. The automaker also pledged to invest $4.5 billion over five years on new all-electric and hybrid vehicles, with 13 new models slated for release by 2023.
  • Toyota and Mazda recently announced that they’re teaming up with auto-parts manufacturer Senso to create a new company to develop basic EV technology for use across multiple vehicle types and models, expanding beyond Toyota’s Prius line. The two Japanese carmakers also pledged to build a $1.6 billion U.S.-based plant by 2021, where they’ll work on electric and hybrid vehicles.
  • Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benzwill invest $1 billion in an Alabama plant to produce all-electric SUVs and build a battery facility, and $10 billion in EV development overall. Mercedes-Benz outlined a plan to electrify its “entire portfolio” by 2022, offering 50 electric and hybrid models.
  • The Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi alliance will work together to develop new systems to use across their vehicle lines, with a focus on “purely electric” EVs like the Nissan Leaf. The automakers plan to release 12 all-electric models by 2022.
  • Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plans to electrify its entire vehicle lineup by 2020, with new powertrains ranging from mild hybrid vehicles to all-electric systems.
  • Volvo will electrify its entire vehicle line by 2019, with five all-electric models slated to roll out from 2019 to 2021. The automaker hopes to sell one million of the electric and hybrid cars by 2025.
  • VW Group, parent of European automakers like Volkswagen, Audi, and Porschewill invest $84 billion in EV development. Roughly $60 billion of the total will be dedicated to battery production, but the company also plans to offer electric and hybrid versions of 300 vehicles by 2030.

ND Protecting Status Quo on Energy Limits Our States Energy Potential

ND is falling behind in some important categories while state leaders are spending money protecting the status quo in energy and oil profits for out of state companies.
Recently ND has ranked well for national rankings. Here’s a Commerce Dept post featuring one of these as 8th best state for business from last year.
If we’re going to feature the good ratings, perhaps we should also acknowledge and address the not so good ratings as well?
Forbes recent article ranks North Dakota in the bottom 10 states for innovation.  Here’s the article ranking North Dakota #5 in the bottom 10 states for innovation:
5. North Dakota: Some North Dakotans disagree vehemently with this list, with one Bismarck radio station calling the report “bullcrap.” Nevertheless, numbers don’t lie, and North Dakota got poor marks for AP exam participation (it ranked 51), venture-capital funding per capita (47) and share of technology companies (46). 
~End Article~
This while other states are being innovative and future ready working towards developing capacity embracing and applying technology to transition toward energies of the future.

This is the antithesis of being innovative, future ready, and data driven. We need to do better.
Here’s one idea: We have the potential and transmission to produce and deliver electricity (We produce 36 Megawatt hours and export 20 million MWH) produced by cleaner natural gas by revamping our coal plants to burn natural gas. Natural gas works better than coal as baseload power with intermittent renewables as NG can be ramped up and down quickly.
Here’s one example of a coal plant being converted to burn natural gas in Joliet Illinois.
This would extend ND’s viability as an energy exporter as we embrace technology and work to develop and improve our own great cleaner renewable energy resources.