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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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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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As well as looming federal tax hikes, Minnesota’s microdistilleries are threatened by antiquated state regulations

Minnesota’s microdistilleries are under threat from laws designed to protect the indefensible three-tier distribution system, an obsolete bit of rent seeking legislation which exists solely to preserve the market share of liquor distributors. ...

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