Twin Cities “ecological” foot print is GIGANTIC!

Take a look at it!

Go to page ten and figure eight of this 2010 report by the University of Minnesota’s Shengyin Xu, Research Assistant and the Metropolitan Design Center and Ignacio San Martin, Dayton Hudson Chair of Urban Design and Director of the Metropolitan Design Center. The study tries to measure metro Twin Citians’ impact on the environment.

The electricity portion is 28%!

I stumbled on this when I went in search of some kind of measure of our collective electricity use here in the Sin Cities with the announcement that a sizable Xcel wind energy project in North Dakota is off. For the moment.

The assumption by energy analysts is a good share of the juice generated by the wind turbines in the Merricourt Ridge project in south central North Dakota was destined for the “Minnesota market.”

At the time Xcel issued a statement that it was pulling out because of the damage the turbines could do to migrating rare birds.

The project is in a major North American migratory bird flyway. Lots of our winged friends including the endangered whooping crane cruise through that area.

And the worry was the birds would collide with the wind towers. And die.

The wind energy analysts are, well, a little huffy about that criticism. They argue we’re cooking the planet with all the greenhouse gases created from burning coal in order to make electricity to power our big flat screen TV’s, air conditioners and shopping center lights.

The priority, they argue, is slowing climate change by way of switching to non-greenhouse gas producing sources of energy. Such as wind.

What do The Cities readers think?

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  • Elizabeth T

    Risk v. benefit:

    How many rare animals are going to die due to habitat loss from pollution due to mining and climate change? As devastating as the extinction of one species in N. America is, how much more devastating is the loss of all of the Polar ice cap and more species extinction?

    No problem this complex ever has a simple answer … but the question I would ask is “where’s the money?” Who is benefiting from this decision should be answered by the bottom line on a balance sheet. And I’m betting the whooping crane isn’t it.