Latest Posts





Here’s What Happened: Seeking Answers For the Winter 2021 Texas Blackouts

We're still unraveling what happened in Texas to cause rolling blackouts for millions of people. One of the most interesting pieces I've seen on the power outages is from Dr. Brent Bennett of Life:Powered, which I have reproduced below. You can read the piece on their website by clicking here. The Texas blackouts were a tragic reminder of how crucial electricity is to our daily lives, especially in dealing with harsh weather. When we lose what we so often take for granted, it is normal to be left bewildered and searching for answers. Unfortunately, it is hard for Texans to sort through the competing narratives. Two...

Continue reading

Why the Polar Vortex Will Cause Minnesota Natural Gas Bills To Be Up To $400 Higher

Residents in Texas are reporting enormous electric bills, some as high as $7,000 to $17,000, due to a surge in electricity demand for home heating during last week's polar vortex. Minnesota was also enveloped in an arctic blast last week, leaving thousands of Minnesota families worried that they will see similar increases. I spoke with Reg Champan of WCCO last evening about why Minnesotans will see large increases to their natural gas bills and possibly their electric bills, but they won't be as high as those reported in Texas. The reason Minnesotans will pay $400 more for their energy instead of...

Continue reading

Minnesota PUC Commissioner Says Electricity Costs Will Decrease: Not if Xcel’s Resource Plan is Approved

On Feb. 18, 2021, Commissioner John Tuma of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) called out grid operators in Texas for failing to plan for winter weather. As reported by KTTC, Commissioner Tuma said, "As you noticed, we did pretty good. Minnesota planned well. Texas did not plan. Texas' model was, 'Build the cheapest thing, we don’t care.'" It's absolutely true that Texas grid operators were unprepared for a winter weather event of this scale and their lack of foresight led to rolling blackouts for much of Monday and Tuesday for millions of Texans. However, Mr. Tuma should understand that Minnesota is hardly...

Continue reading

The Hill: The Blackouts Have Only Just Begun

The following article was co-written by Jason Hayes and Isaac Orr. It originally appeared in The Hill: Rolling blackouts have hit millions of Texans and people across the Great Plains, including Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Severe winter weather has placed a strain on electricity supplies and caused multiple deaths. That sad situation is completely unnecessary, but it likely will increase in the coming days. Unfortunately, if President Biden gets his way, blackouts such as these may become a more common occurrence. Throughout his political career, Biden has advocated for exactly the sort of policies that have Texas and the Great Plains states locked in their current energy crisis. For...

Continue reading

Minnesota Can Handle the Cold Because of Fossil Fuel Power Plants

The article below was originally published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: We need to stop planning our electric system around wind turbines and solar panels, technologies that often fail to show up during extreme weather events, when we need them most. Texas is learning this lesson the hard way. More than 2.5 million people are experiencing rolling blackouts because an arctic blast has frozen a significant portion of the Lone Star State's natural gas infrastructure. Compounding the shortages is the fact that at one point during the blackouts, the Texas wind fleet (the largest in the nation) was producing just 2% of its...

Continue reading

Minnesota Solar Panels Less Productive in 2019 Than 2018

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that solar panels in Minnesota were less productive in 2019 than they were in 2018. The capacity factor, or amount of electricity solar panels produced compared to their theoretical maximum output, was just 17.3 percent in 2019, compared to 18.6 percent the year prior. This constitutes a nearly seven percent decline in solar productivity year-over-year. However, 2018 was a record-high year for electricity generated from solar panels because even though solar panels were less productive in 2019 than in 2018, there were more solar panels in service during 2019, helping to make...

Continue reading

In the Tank Episode 282: Texas Winter Blackouts, Renewable Energy to Blame?

The Heartland Institute's Donald Kendal and Jim Lakely are joined by Isaac Orr and Brent Bennett in episode 282 of the In The Tank Podcast. Brent Bennett, a policy director at the Texas Public Policy Foundation joins the show to talk about the recent snowstorm, cold weather, and the resulting blackouts that recently occurred in Texas. Just how much of this problem can be attributed to renewable energy penetration in the Lone Star State? [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYsJIL3LVTU[/embed]...

Continue reading

Some Interesting Articles on The Texas Blackouts

For those of you looking for more information on the Texas Blackouts, here are a few links to articles that I've found interesting. The Narrative is Overshadowing Truth in the Texas Energy Crisis: https://ewerickson.substack.com/p/the-narrative-is-overshadowing-truth?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=twitter Correcting the Record: Why Texas’ Blackouts Occurred: https://bit.ly/3awZGnY The Federalist: Texas’s Blackouts Are The Result Of Unreliable ‘Green’ Energy: https://bit.ly/3bi5jFI How Wind Power Caused The Great Texas Blackout Of 2021: https://talkmarkets.com/content/commodities/how-wind-power-caused-the-great-texas-blackout-of-2021?post=298668 [embed]https://twitter.com/WadeSchauer7/status/1362074250903920641?s=20[/embed]...

Continue reading

Robert Bryce’s Power Hungry Podcast: Meredith Angwin Texas Blackouts

Meredith Angwin is a chemist and author, most recently, of Shorting the Grid: The Hidden Fragility of Our Electric Grid. In her second appearance on the podcast, Angwin explains why the blackouts in Texas and elsewhere are happening, the “fatal trifecta” (over-reliance on renewables, natural gas, and imported electricity), why economic incentives are needed to assure reliability, and why the grid needs power plants that have on-site fuel storage. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWdFtFJ1kUE&list=PLudYEAZLeQL_8vBlNCEqSuSKPTLoZbxDP&index=1[/embed]...

Continue reading