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Coronavirus-Induced Shortage of Solar Panel Components Highlights China’s Major Role in Solar Supply Chain

Last week, the Star Tribune ran a story about how the Coronavirus has disrupted the global solar panel supply chain, potentially causing the delay of two large solar installations in Wisconsin. The supply-chain interruptions have occurred because of factory shutdowns and travel restrictions in China, highlighting the major role that China has plays in the solar supply chain. According to the article: "Asia, and particularly China, is the globe’s primary supplier of solar cells and panels, and is also a major source of inverters and racking system components. Racks hold solar panels in place; inverters convert panels’ DC current into AC. Also, about...

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Efforts to Prevent The Walz Administration’s California Car Mandates Advance in the Senate

Today was a step forward for the efforts of conservative lawmakers to prevent the Walz administration from imposing unpopular California car mandates on Minnesotans. Senate File 3496 passed out of the Minnesota Senate's State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee. You can watch the hearing on the bill at the link below. https://www.facebook.com/mnsrc/videos/2275278436108528/?comment_id=2275304272772611&notif_id=1583437629234897&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic   I've previously testified in front of the Senate on this bill, explaining why it would be beneficial for Minnesota consumers. I also detailed that while the costs would be significant, the environmental benefits would be immeasurably small. It is encouraging to see that the Walz administration's attempt to...

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Despite More Turbines, Minnesota Wind Production in 2019 Was Still Below 2017 Levels

If you build them, the wind won't necessarily come. I've recently reported that wind facilities in Minnesota produced less electricity in 2018 than 2017, and newly-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows electricity generation from Minnesota wind facilities was about one percent less in 2019 than 2017, although 2019 saw more generation from wind turbines than 2018. The decline, relative to 2017 generation, occurred despite the fact that there are about 3.6 percent more wind generation capacity installed in Minnesota today (3,843 megawatts) than there were at the end of 2017 (3,699 megawatts), according to the U.S. Department of Energy's...

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Clear Energy Alliance: The EV Dream

Governor Walz wants to adopt California's car mandates requiring that car manufacturers deliver electric vehicles for sale in Minnesota, but this video from the Clear Energy Alliance pours cold water on the frequently-used talking points used to promote these vehicles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaesOIY3I4U&feature=youtu.be...

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Tune in at 1pm As Isaac Orr Testifies (Again) on Governor Walz’s California Car Mandates

The Minnesota Senate has introduced a bill that would expressly prohibit the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) from adopting California's controversial car mandates and they have asked me to testify on the bill. In short, the bill scales back the authority of the MPCA to set maximum emissions standards for motor vehicles in Minnesota, effectively removing any ability for the MPCA to force Minnesotans to obey the dictates of unelected bureaucrats in California. Tune in to my testimony by clicking here.  ...

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Why Is Governor Walz Trying to Mandate Cars That Nobody Wants?

Last week, I testified before a joint hearing of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee about the Walz administration's desire to force Minnesotans to comply with California's car mandates for low emission vehicles (LEVs) and zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). During their testimonies, advocates of these new mandates claimed they are needed because there is a huge demand for some models of electric vehicles (EVs) that are not currently offered Minnesota, and that they would be offered here if the mandates went into effect. However, survey data from CleanTechnica.com, which is a website dedicated to promoting renewables and electric vehicles, shows...

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Why Did Minnesota Solar Jobs Fall by Six Percent in 2019?

We're constantly told that solar is the energy source of the future, and that we need not worry about rising electricity prices and the loss of jobs in the mining, manufacturing, timber, and agriculture industries because of the booming solar economy. It appears that narrative suffered a setback this week. According to the Star Tribune, the number of solar jobs fell in 2019 by 267 jobs, or 6 percent relative to 2018 numbers. This brought the number of solar jobs in the state to 4,335 in 2019.  The article did not offer an explanation for the fall in solar jobs, but it can...

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My Response to Fox 9’s “The Last Gasp of Coal”

Earlier this week, Fox 9 ran a story entitled "The Last Gasp of Coal," which suggested that coal plants are costing ratepayers a lot of money because of a practice known as self scheduling. Several of our readers sent this story to me, so I decided to reach out to Tom Lyden, the lead reporter on this story, to offer a perspective other than those shared by Fresh Energy, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. You can read my email to Mr. Lyden below. Dear Mr. Lyden, My name is Isaac Orr, and I am a policy fellow specializing in energy and...

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Bloomberg: Wind Turbine Blades Can’t Be Recycled, So They’re Piling Up in Landfills

Center of the American Experiment has been at the forefront of exposing the short lifespan and enormous cost associated with decommissioning wind turbines at the end of their 20 year useful life. Well, a recent article from Bloomberg had some stunning pictures of wind turbines filling up landfills in Wyoming. According to the article: A wind turbine’s blades can be longer than a Boeing 747 wing, so at the end of their lifespan they can’t just be hauled away. First, you need to saw through the lissome fiberglass using a diamond-encrusted industrial saw to create three pieces small enough to be strapped to a...

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