MINOT, N.D. — Wind energy is cheaper than coal, and that's why wind is ascendant on our energy grids while coal is in decline.

This is what the wind industry and its various lobbyists and activists insist is true.

But if it is true, why do our utility bills keep going up?

The average price of electricity bills increased in 36 out of 50 states from April 2020 to April 2021.

Californians, specifically, who lead the nation in using "renewable energy" from wind and solar, are currently paying 70% more per kilowatt hour than the average American, according to the Energy Information Administration, even as their state government begs them to ration power consumption.

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Far from being cheaper and more abundant, renewable energy seems to be costing us more even as it is delivering less, and that's before we calculate the various production subsidies and mandates politically-favored sources like wind energy enjoy.

Is that what we want for our country?

Even as we move further toward electrification of everything?

Remember, our electrical grids become more expensive and less resilient alongside a push to move Americans away from gasoline-powered transportation to electric cars.

It is incumbent upon our government leaders — those not completely blinkered by green politics or bought off with green energy cash — to make energy policy based on reality and not pie-in-the-sky idealism.

For example, North Dakota's Public Service Commission recently pruned a massive rate increase demanded by Xcel Energy down to a 3.4% increase from the 10% the energy giant was seeking.

Xcel, which services about 95,000 households in our state, has been aggressively seeking to close down coal power and replace it with wind power attached to billions of federal subsidies that last at least a decade per installation. This spring, the company was bragging about the early retirement of coal-fired plants and shared energy mix numbers showing coal down 5 percentage points and wind up six with all other energy sources remaining static.

But part of what the PSC trimmed from Xcel's demand for a rate increase was millions "for the early retirement of two units of a large coal-fired power plant outside Minneapolis," Adam Willis reports.

If wind is cheaper and comes with billions of subsidies to boot, why do companies like Xcel Energy need to raise our utility bills to close down coal plants and introduce more wind power?

I'm sure the wind industry lobbyists and the activists have some bamboozling set explanations and justifications, none of which will change the reality of your rising power bill.

North Dakota is protective of coal power. Some choose to see this as cronyism. But as the push to green energy makes our electrical grids more fragile and more expensive, it might more accurately be seen as a desperate cling to reality.

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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com.