Apr 09 2015
Senator Tours Ulteig Engineers in Fargo and Emphasizes the Need to Increase Certainty for Renewable Energy Workers
FARGO, N.D. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today toured Ulteig Engineers, an innovative 70-year-old energy engineering and consulting company headquartered in Fargo, to discuss the direly needed build-out of North Dakota’s energy infrastructure with a particular focus on providing certainty to the wind energy industry and workers.
Heitkamp heard from leaders at Ulteig Engineers – which designed and supports six wind farms in Mercer, Stark, Rolette, Stutsman, and Hettinger counties – about the need for more certainty in the wind energy production sector. Workers stressed to Heitkamp the need for more policies like her efforts to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for five years which would provide a path forward for renewable energy production growth in North Dakota by allowing the industry to plan for the future and maintain a talented workforce. The tax credit expired at the end of 2014 and Heitkamp has been pushing to renew it. Ulteig Engineers has offices in Fargo, Bismarck, and Williston and employs 142 workers – about half of its staff – in North Dakota.
Earlier this year, Heitkamp pushed to increase long-term planning for wind energy industry workers by proposing bipartisan amendment to the bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline that, if accepted, would have extended the PTC for five years to encourage more energy efficient, job-creating solutions for years to come.
“All across North Dakota, our workers and innovators are producing the energy that powers the nation,” said Heitkamp. “By committing to a true all-of-the-above energy strategy – which includes fossil fuels as well as renewable energies – North Dakota companies are becoming a model for the rest of the country with exciting new technologies. Today I had the opportunity to speak with leaders at a company in Fargo that is a prime example of how North Dakota has always been on the cusp of energy ingenuity: Ulteig Engineers – named for Melvin Ulteig who founded the business in Fargo 70 years ago with the goal of electrifying the rural Midwest – has evolved to designing and supporting renewable
Heitkamp has long been committed to growing the nation’s energy infrastructure and boosting renewable energies, like wind power, in North Dakota by working to provide more certainty to workers. Heitkamp continues to work to incentivize job growth in renewable energy industries, like wind power, through policies like her proposal to extend the Production Tax Credit – a tool that has proven successful in driving up wind and alternative energy output nationwide – providing much needed certainty for wind energy workers across the country. North Dakota is the sixth-largest producer of wind energy in the country, and in 2013, the wind production industry supported up to 3,000 North Dakota jobs and 73,000 jobs nationally. Unfortunately, her proposal did not receive enough votes to move forward.
This visit continues Heitkamp’s strong record of supporting renewable energy businesses by visiting and speaking firsthand with workers on the ground. Last January, Heitkamp toured Iberdrola Wind Farm near Rugby and in May 2013, Heitkamp attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Bison Wind Energy Center near New Salem. She also visited an Otter Tail Power Company and NextEra Energy Resources wind farm near Edgeley last October.