GRANITE FALLS (KMHL) – The running mate for Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen was in Granite Falls last week. Former Minnesota Viking Matt Birk toured the hydro-electric dam and also paid a visit Granite Falls Ethanol on Thursday.

Birk believes both should be part of the solution for Minnesota’s future energy needs, but he notes that renewables sources alone can’t be the sole source of the state’s power.

“We would all love to live in a world that has zero emissions and everything’s affordable and live in a totally green environment,” said Birk. “But that’s not realistic right now. To get us there it’s going to be an all-above solution.”

Birk added that he believes the state needs to do what it can to help to continue to develop ethanol production.

“I didn’t know that ethanol was 40-50 percent cleaner than gas, I knew it was cheaper. I think there’s some education to the consumer that needs to go on,” said Birk. “The state needs to support ethanol plants, not be adversaries.”

He also added that part of Minnesota’s and the country’s energy solution should come back to conservation as well, he said he’d like to see renewed efforts to educate the public on the importance of energy conservation.