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Reality, Physics, Emerge as Greatest Obstacles to Renewable Growth

Renewable energy rent seekers like to make it seem like history is on their side, and that there is simply an inevitable and glorious march toward wind, solar, and battery storage technology. It appears two pesky characters, reality and physics, are showing up to spoil the party. One of the many problems with wind and solar is that they are widely dispersed, and these facilities are often located far away from the population centers that will use the electricity generated from them. As a result, extensive and expensive transmission systems must be built to accommodate these weather-dependent resources, but it appears...

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Production at Nobles Wind Facility Continues to Plummet

Earlier this year, I wrote about how the Nobles Wind project, which is the third-largest wind facility in Minnesota, is already losing steam. The most recent data from the Energy Information Administration (which runs through September) show that 2019 hasn't been kind to the project, either. Thus far, the Nobles wind project has a capacity factor of just 33.9, which is far below where it has been in previous years, according to the table below. In fact, the capacity factor (a measure of productivity) of this wind facility is about 10 percent lower this year compared to 2014. This has important implications...

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100 Percent Wind+Solar+Batteries= $1,036.80 Monthly Electric Bill, According to An Xcel Energy Slide Show and EIA Data

In April of this year, Gov. Tim Walz's administration suggested the economics of nuclear power likely make it too expensive to be part of his plan to produce 100 percent of Minnesota’s electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050. Instead, the administration argued technological improvements would allow wind, solar, and battery storage technology to reliably and affordably meet Minnesota’s energy needs. A slide show produced by Xcel Energy suggests the Governor couldn't be more wrong. This slideshow was presented to the Midwestern Governor's Association meeting in March of 2019. One would assume someone from the Governor's office would be at the meeting, but just in...

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You’re Seeing Water Vapor, Not Smoke

You probably saw billowing clouds on your way to work this morning. It's important to know that these clouds are water vapor, and not smoke. The reason for this occurrence is because of a scientific process called condensation. When you exhale when it's cold outside, the water vapor in your breath condenses into lots of tiny droplets of liquid water and ice (solid water) that you can see in the air as a cloud, similar to fog. The same thing occurs with the exhaust from your chimney if you use natural gas for home heating because burning natural gas produces two...

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Turkey Point Nuclear Plant Will Operate for 80 Years, While Wind Turbines Still Last for 20 Years

According to the Daily Energy Insider, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved Florida Power & Light’s proposal to add an additional 20 years of operation for the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Units 3 and 4 near Miami, Florida. This is the first time the NRC has approved renewed licenses for operation extending the lifetime of a nuclear plant from 60 to 80 years, but it may well be the beginning of several companies seeking longer operating licenses for their existing nuclear facilities. As a result of the renewal, Turkey Point Unit 3’s renewed license now expires on July 19, 2052....

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Reactions to Proposed Rate Increases Shows Minnesota Citizen’s Utility Board Cares More about Renewables Than Ratepayers

There is no reason for CUB to be more upset about Minnesota Power’s rate increase than Xcel Energy's. I submit that the reason CUB is less forgiving of Minnesota Power's smaller rate increase is that the organization cares about renewables first, and ratepayers second....

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Statewide View Column: Trump Can Stop Walz From Turning Minnesota into a Cold California

This article originally appeared in The Duluth News Tribune. In late September, Gov. Tim Walz announced he would circumvent the Legislature by using the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s bureaucratic rulemaking process to force Minnesota to comply with California’s regulations mandating the use of zero-emissions vehicles and low-emissions vehicles (“Minnesota to follow California auto standards,” Sept. 26). Proponents of these rules claim they will improve consumer options and the environment, but the truth is these mandates will raise vehicle costs for families and businesses with no measurable environmental benefit. Thankfully, the administration of President Donald Trump may preempt Gov. Walz’s attempt to let unelected...

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You’re Getting Black Friday Deals Everyday on Oil and Natural Gas Thanks to Fracking

Many people will be heading to the mall today or scouring online to score sweet deals on the latest goods and services as part of the annual Black Friday tradition, but one thing people probably don't realize is that they have been getting Black-Friday quality deals on oil and natural gas for the last several years thanks to hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking," This technology revolutionized the energy industry and transformed the United States of America into the single-largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world seemingly overnight. Using fracking to produce oil and natural gas has caused...

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Are Governor Walz’s Proposed California Car Mandates Racist?

In September, the Walz Administration announced its intention to force Minnesotans to comply with low-emissions vehicle (LEV) and 'zero'-emissions vehicle (ZEV) regulations developed by unelected bureaucrats on the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Instead of asking the legislature to approve this move, Governor Walz wants to impose these regulations by using the rule-making process of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). As part of this process, MPCA is seeking comments from the public to inform the rule-making procedure. I encourage you to submit your comments by emailing sheena.denny@state.mn.us to let the agency know what your thoughts are about the subject. One of...

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China is Building 34 Times More Coal Than Exists In Minnesota, So Why Are We Raising Our Power Prices?

According to an article in The Financial Times, China is set to add new coal-fired power plants equivalent to the EU’s entire capacity. as the world’s biggest energy consumer ignores global pressure to rein in carbon emissions in its bid to boost a slowing economy. The article states that China is building 148 gigawatts, or 148,000 megawatts, of coal. For context, Minnesota has 4,309 MW of coal, meaning China will build 34 times more coal-fired power plants in the coming years than currently exist in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. In fact, these coal additions mean will nearly eclipse the entire...

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