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Electricity utilities are less likely to invest under ‘liberal’ regulators

Regulation imposes a huge burden on the American economy and holds back economic growth. New research shows, for example, that electricity utilities are less likely to invest under 'liberal' regulators than 'conservative' ones, which reduces reliability. Current efforts to roll back this mass of regulation are to welcomed. ...

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Power Prices Go Negative! But…Is This a Good Thing?

The Star Tribune thought this New York Times article so newsworthy that it republished it: "Power prices go negative in Germany, a positive for energy users." If you scan the article casually, it looks like a tribute to wind energy: Germany has spent $200 billion over the past two decades to promote cleaner sources of electricity. That enormous investment is now having an unexpected impact — consumers are now actually paid to use power on occasion, as was the case over the weekend. Power prices plunged below zero for much of Sunday and the early hours of Christmas Day on the EPEX...

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Early Christmas Present as Township Kills Western MN Wind-Solar Project

[caption id="attachment_8723" align="alignright" width="236"] Pelican Lake, Otter Tail Co.[/caption] It's not often the so-called little guy gets to take a victory lap, especially after challenging the well-connected green energy industry. But the Fargo Forum reports the residents of Dunn Township on Pelican Lake in Otter Tail County just overcame the odds and pulled the plug on a nearly 500 foot wind turbine and solar system proposed for their corner of paradise. "We have cancelled the community based renewable project, which was a wind/solar hybrid project," Lake Region CEO Tim Thompson said in an email. "The project was being developed by Juhl Energy...

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The High Cost of Our Failing Wind Policies: Why Minnesota’s electricity costs are above the U.S. average and emissions are rising

This op-ed appeared in the Star Tribune on December 14, 2017.  Star Tribune file photo. Like many states, Minnesota is on the bandwagon for renewable energy, especially wind power. Despite all of the hype about falling wind power costs, Minnesota's energy policy is starting to exert upward pressure on electricity prices, and it is notably failing at its chief objectives. America's fixation on renewable energy dates to the energy crisis of the 1970s, when it was thought that oil and natural gas were quickly running out and that we needed brand-new energy sources. Today, we are told that we need to develop...

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Minnesotans’ Electric Rates: Gone With the Wind

Minnesota has been on the cutting edge of mandating renewable energy quotas for the past decade. But to what end? Center of the American Experiment answered that question in our recently released report, Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure. You can download and read the report here. Or you can get the Cliff Notes version in an op-ed in Thursday's Star Tribune by the report's co-author Stephen Hayward. Here's the gist of Hayward's overview. Minnesota has met its political mandate of supplying 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources, but the effects of this target are disappointing and worrisome...

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Pipeline Remains On Hold But Not Protesters

Construction on replacing Enbridge 3 with a far superior pipeline hasn't even gotten underway yet in Minnesota. In fact, the project hasn't even received regulatory approval from the state yet, thanks to stalling by the Dayton administration. But the Duluth News Tribune reports that hasn't stopped pipeline protesters from getting a head-start on their job anyway.   Three Duluth residents were cited for trespassing on Friday after occupying Enbridge's downtown office to demand that the company abandon its Line 3 replacement project. Donna Howard, Mark Daniel Hakes and Michele Naar-Obed delivered a letter to Paul Eberth, director for the project intended to replace the existing...

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MN City Reconsiders and Rejects Solar as Too Risky

Solar power developers routinely make the rounds at City Hall, targeting municipalities with the latest green gimmickery. The most popular go-to option these days allows cities to cash in on the state's solar energy mandate through so-called community solar gardens (CSG), underwritten at the expense of ratepayers and taxpayers. But there's a reason green energy companies target local governments like Centerville in Anoka County, as The Citizen weekly newspaper pointed out. CSG's ask municipalities in particular to be members because they are more stable than businesses and are more likely to fulfill the 25-year commitment that the subscription requires. The thinking is that it...

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Xcel Reveals Solar Garden Power Costs Double Other Sources

The Minneapolis City Council's recent approval of two more community solar gardens led to glowing coverage in The Journal, a community newspaper. But the report also appears to contain a bombshell from an Xcel Energy executive about the true cost of solar power, a disclosure that solar costs Minnesota ratepayers tens of millions of dollars more than conventional electricity. At face value, the new community solar deal "saves" Minneapolis $28,000 a year on electric bills, while helping Xcel Energy meet the state mandate to produce 1.5 percent of Minnesota's electricity through solar. Community solar gardens allow utility customers in Minnesota to support...

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In Minnesota, “Green” Energy Fails Every Test

Liberals will tell you that Minnesota is one of the nation's leaders in "green" energy, so its experience represents a good test: can green energy fulfill the extravagant promises made by its backers? The answer is a resounding No, according to a blockbuster paper by Steve Hayward and Center of the American Experiment's Peter Nelson. The paper, titled "Energy Policy in Minnesota: the High Cost of Failure," can be read or downloaded here. Minnesota is a poor place for solar power, so our renewable policies have focused on wind. Minnesota has gone whole hog for wind energy, to the tune of--the Hayward/Nelson...

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MN Unions and Businesses Throw Clout Behind $2 Billion Pipeline

Kudos to the environmental activists plotting to turn the Enbridge 3 pipeline replacement project into the next Keystone XL or Dakota Access fiasco. They've managed to bring together two groups that more often oppose each other to consolidate their collective political influence behind approval of the $2 billion pipeline in the Star Tribune's editorial pages. In Minnesota we’re fortunate to have a well-advanced alternative, an entirely private infrastructure project that would put 6,500 Minnesotans to work over two years, with an economic impact of more than $2 billion for the state, including outstate areas that sorely need it. We’re talking about Enbridge...

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