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Communities Still Wary of GreenStep Cities Program at 10 Year Mark

This week the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) heralds the ten-year anniversary of the GreenStep Cities climate change program that presses local governments to factor environmental sustainability into everything from budgets to ordinances, land use and long-range planning. The program offers more than two dozen so-called Best Management Practices with 175 actions and lots of paperwork for participating communities. The recommendations include options that could significantly alter daily life like limiting parking places, reducing salt use in winter, mandates and bans on consumer products and packaging,  monitoring wood burning in fireplaces, encouraging keeping chickens and bees, even phasing in “bike, foot...

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Solar Panels Produce Tons of Toxic Waste—Literally

There is a growing public awareness that so-called environmentally friendly energy sources like wind turbines and solar panels aren't so environmentally friendly, after all. Whether it be thousands of non-recyclable wind turbine blades arriving at landfills, or the growing recognition that solar panels contain toxic heavy metals that can pose a risk to the environment should they leak out of the panels, the environmental costs of "renewable" energy are becoming more clear everyday. The article below was originally written by Bill Wirtz at the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEE): Solar panels have been heralded as the alternative to fossil fuels for decades....

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South Carolina Has Much Lower CO2 Emissions and Lower Electricity Prices Than Minnesota

Liberal politicians in Minnesota love to pretend that they are leaders in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, which they claim are fueling an existential climate crisis. The data, however, shows that conservative South Carolina has much lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of electricity produced and lower electricity prices than Minnesota. The reason? South Carolina embraces nuclear power, whereas Minnesota liberals eschew it. According to the data, emissions of CO2 are 40 percent lower in South Carolina, per unit of electricity generated, than they are in Minnesota, according to the graph below which was constructed using 2018 data from the...

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The State of Electric Cars?

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 Issue of Thinking Minnesota, now the second largest magazine in Minnesota. To receive a free trial issue send your name and address to info@americanexperiment.org. Are Minnesotans eager to embrace a future that includes large numbers of electric vehicles, mandated by a state government rule? That is the subject of the cover story in this issue of Thinking Minnesota. When we asked Minnesota voters, we found very little support for that initiative. The Thinking Minnesota Poll was conducted by Meeting Street Research. Interviews were completed December 12-15, 2019 among 500 registered voters with a mix of cell phone...

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A Cold California

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 Issue of Thinking Minnesota, now the second largest magazine in Minnesota. To receive a free trial issue send your name and address to info@americanexperiment.org. Frustrated by his inability to persuade Congress to enact sweeping "cap and trade" laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, President Barack Obama simply bypassed the legislative branch of government. He used administrative bureaucracy, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to force additional regulations on the American people. It appears Governor Tim Walz is now taking. a page out of the Obama playbook. After last year's legislature decisively dispatched Walz's proposal to address greenhouse gas...

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Net Metering: How People With Solar Panels Are Picking Your Pocket

Did you know that people with solar panels on their roofs are picking your pocket in more ways than one? Federal subsidies for solar have been increasing your tax liability for years, but people with solar panels are also picking your pocket through a lesser-known policy called as net metering. At it's core, net metering pays people with solar panels more for their electricity than it is worth. This is accomplished by paying people with solar panels the retail rate for their power, rather than the wholesale rate. In fact, this is the only reason that solar panels are able to...

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This Year in Energy and Environment: 2019 Edition

With 2020 upon us, I'd like to reflect back on 2019 because it was a banner year for energy and environmental issues here at Center of the American Experiment. Here are some of the highlights from each month. In January, American Experiment submitted comments to the U.S. Forest Service in support of the lease renewal for the Twin Metals Minnesota mine. Since then Twin Metals has submitted its mine plan to state and federal agencies for review. We also covered the fact that wind and solar were not working during Polar Vortex in real time, highlighting the dangers of relying upon...

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Grid Operator Study Shows Complexity of Integrating Renewables Increases Exponentially After 30 Percent

The grid operator for the region including Minnesota, the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO), recently released it's study examining the complexity of integrating renewable energy onto the grid. The findings show that it becomes exponentially more difficult to integrate renewable energy into the regional grid as the amount of renewable energy increases beyond 30 percent, as you can see in the graph below. This is important, because it clearly shows that the challenges of integrating intermittent renewable energy sources like wind are not, in fact, overblown, as the Star Tribune editorial board argued earlier this year. In reality, these challenges have...

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Thank You! American Experiment Readers Accounted for 13 Percent of California Car Mandate Comments!

About a month ago I posted an article asking our readers to submit comments to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) opposing the Walz administration's attempt to foist California's car mandates on Minnesotans, and boy, did you ever deliver. According to an article written on DeSmogBlog, a site that attempts to smear anyone who advocates for sane energy policy, you all had a major impact on the public comment period. According to the article: "As Minnesota begins the rulemaking process to adopt a pair of clean car standards, citizens and organizations weighed in with their comments and concerns, through an official Request for Comments portal. A...

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