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Why Employment Matters

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. Minnesota has above average levels of GDP per capita thanks to above average levels of employment. The greater the share of the population working to produce GDP, the more GDP there is to divide among the population. But these high employment levels mask below average labor productivity. This could have an outsized impact on Minnesota's economy. The Center's new report, "Minnesota's Workforce to 2050," analyzes looming weaknesses in the state's workforce, including an aging...

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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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Hey Minnesota Liberals! Stop Complaining About Low-Wage Service Jobs Unless You Support More Mining

The new soup du jour of liberal talking points appears to be that the current economy isn't very good at all because many of the jobs that are currently being created are low-paying jobs in the service and tourism sectors. But if liberals in Minnesota want to complain about the rise of low-paying jobs in these sectors, they had better be in favor of more mining in Minnesota....

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Why Does Minnesota Have More Power Plants Than Texas?

Minnesota has more power plants than Texas, according to federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. This is despite the fact that Minnesota has 23 million fewer people than the Lone Star State, and that Texas requires six times more electricity than Minnesota. This is simply mind boggling. The main reason Minnesota has more power plants is because of our solar energy mandate and Community Solar program. These programs incentivize smaller, more-expensive forms of solar rather than larger utility-scale solar installations. Make no mistake, solar in Minnesota doesn't make sense because it is "too expensive" to clear snow off of the panels,...

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How the Renewable Energy Grinch Stole Your Christmas Budget

Christmas is a time where friends and families come together to appreciate each other during the holidays. However, Christmas can also be a stressful period of time, especially for parents, because of the impact holiday spending has on their finances. Unfortunately, this financial stress has been exacerbated by Minnesota’s mandates for renewable energy which have driven up the cost of electricity. Minnesota families used to have electricity prices that were nearly 20 percent below the national average, but this changed dramatically beginning in 2005 when Xcel Energy was first required to add renewables to their system. The trend became even more...

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Great News! Twin Metals Submits Its Mine Plan to State and Federal Agencies for Review

Yesterday, Minnesota took another step toward unearthing prosperity when Twin Metals Minnesota formally submitted its mine plan to state and federal agencies for review. According to the Twin Metals press release: "This marks the culmination of more than a decade of engineering, hydrogeological, environmental and engagement work including the evaluation of dozens of project configurations and technologies that maximize environmental protection." "Submission of the project starts a multi-year scoping and environmental review process that will thoroughly evaluate this proposal. The review process will include additional baseline data collection, impact analyses, and multiple opportunities for public input." The move was predictably decried by anti-mining...

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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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