Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

Want to Save on Your Utility Bill? This Minn. Nonprofit Has Some Tips

MPR ran a piece about the efforts of Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Minnesota to educate people on how to lower their utility bills. Among the brilliant, energy-saving insights provided by CUB were: Changing light bulbs and turning off lights and gadgets when not in use. Turning down the heat on your water heater. Washing clothes in cold water, instead of warm water. Adding insulation to your home. Putting plastic over windows in the winter to keep the cold air out These revolutionary recommendations can probably save the average home tens of dollars over the course of a year! But if CUB, which has...

Continue reading

When Will Fair Trade Coffee Drinkers Embrace Fair Trade Cobalt?

Copper, nickel, and cobalt mining is a controversial topic in Minnesota, but is it more controversial than child labor? Like it or not, we all use these metals for nearly every aspect of our modern lives, and if we do not mine them in Minnesota, where we have strong protections for workers and the environment, we will import these metals from countries that don’t....

Continue reading

Listen Up: Isaac Orr Talks About the Importance of Keeping Existing Power Plants Running on the Plugged in Podcast

I had the pleasure of being on the Plugged In podcast, hosted by the Institute for Energy Research, last week. On the show, I talk about why closing down existing coal and nuclear plants is a bad idea, and how Australia has experienced skyrocketing electricity prices in the wake of imposing a carbon tax (now repealed) and setting aggressive renewable energy mandates. Enjoy! [embed]https://soundcloud.com/ieresearch/9-issac-orr-of-the-center-of-the-american-experiment-on-energy-in-minnesota[/embed]...

Continue reading

A Little Math Shows Switching to Natural Gas Will Probably Increase Fuel Costs for Minnesota Ratepayers

It's a common refrain for energy policy: it is cheaper to generate electricity from natural gas than coal. In some respects this is true, but power plant efficiency and fuel prices are important variables we should consider before we completely shutter Minnesota's coal fleet in favor of renewables and natural gas. Combined cycle natural gas plants are more efficient than coal plants because they use the heat produced as gas is burned to make 50 percent more electricity. It's hard to explain, so I've included a video below. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ4yp_0Djvc#action=share[/embed] However, not all natural gas plants are combined cycle plants, and many of the...

Continue reading

High Electricity Prices Cripple Australian Manufacturers, Is Minnesota Next?

Companies throughout Australia are reconsidering whether they will indeed bring manufacturing jobs back from China after experiencing enormous increases in electricity prices as a result of the closure of an enormous coal-fired power plant and government regulations that mandate the use of "green power." For example, according to the Financial Review: Hardware manufacturer Alchin Long Group in Sydney's west has had to agree to a near-doubling of its electricity price, said Graham Lee, national operations manager. The price of the new two-year contract from Origin Energy has surged from $55.30 per megawatt-hour to $109.70 . Aluminium scrap processor Weston Aluminium, which uses about...

Continue reading

Fracking, Not Renewables, Is the True Energy Revolution of Our Time

Fracking shows what a technological disruption in the energy truly looks like, a rapid adoption of new technology that lowers prices for consumers regardless of the hurdles placed in front of it by governments and attempts to squash it by vested players in established industries like OPEC.  Fracking also shows us what technological disruptions don't look like, and wind and solar fit this bill. Despite decades of subsidies and tens of billions of squandered taxpayer dollars, and state laws requiring their use, these sources of energy simply cannot compete in terms of reliability or affordability of fossil fuels. ...

Continue reading

As Blue Wave Fizzles to Purple Haze, There Are Reasons for Optimism Amid Midterm Results

It turns out there was no blue wave or red wave, and the purple haze that settled over the country in the wake of the midterm elections gives me reasons for optimism moving forward regarding energy and environmental policy in the coming years. 1.Senate gains could mean we will finally end the handouts for wind and solar: As you may know, wind and solar are huge recipients of federal tax subsidies, and these subsidies are the main reason why anyone invests in wind or solar. Fortunately, last night's results maybe these subsidies may finally go the way of the dodo bird. The wind...

Continue reading

High Industrial Electricity Prices Harm Manufacturing Sector

We often hear from so-called progressives that we must fight income inequality and move toward renewable energy, but the problem is these two goals are incompatible with each other. This is because intermittent sources of renewable energy like wind and solar make electricity more expensive, and expensive electricity hurts the blue-collar industries like manufacturing and mining, which use an enormous amount of electricity. Just look at California, which has enacted a 100 percent carbon-free energy mandate that will continue to send electricity prices soaring. In fact, industrial electricity prices in California are nearly twice as high as in the rest of the...

Continue reading