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Rob Port Podcast: “The Plant is Worthless Without the Power Line.”

Last week, Great River Energy (GRE) announced they would be shutting down the Coal Creek power plant decades before the end of the plant's useful life. This decision was confusing, because as far as coal plants go, Coal Creek is one of the most productive, and lowest-cost generators in the entire United States, according to S&P Global. GRE has claimed they are open to selling the plant, but have not found any buyers. It appears this is because GRE wants to keep the large, high voltage power line that transports the electricity generated in North Dakota to customers in Minnesota, but...

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How Does Minnesota Coal Use Stack Up Against China, the Whole United States?

Xcel Energy bombards the airwaves to inform us that they plan to generate 100 percent of their electricity with carbon free resources by 2050. To accomplish this goal, Xcel plans to prematurely retire their coal-fired power plants and replace them with weather-dependent resources like solar and wind. American Experiment's modeling has concluded this plan will cost each Minnesota household more than $1,200 per year, every year, through 2050. For such enormous costs, one would hope that closing our coal plants would have a significant environmental benefit, but a look at coal consumption data from China, the United States as a whole,...

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Washington Times: Harvard Quietly Backtracks on Air Pollution-Coronavirus Deaths Link

It appears a study that claimed to show an increase in Coronavirus deaths linked to small particulates is being walked back by Harvard University. The study originally claimed that higher levels of particulates have resulted in more COVID-19 deaths in the United States. This claim never made sense if one believes the death figures reported by the Chinese government. This is because if air quality were a major factor, one would assume that the the death rate would be much higher in heavily-polluted China, where the death rate is 58 people per 1 million of population, compared to the United States,...

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Great River Energy’s Coal Creek Closure Reliant Upon $105 Million in Taxpayer Subsidies Per Year

Last week, Great River Energy (GRE), a large umbrella company for many of Minnesota's electric co-ops, announced they would be prematurely closing the Coal Creek power plant at the end of 2022 and replacing it with a mixture of wind power purchase contracts from 1,100 megawatts (MW) of newly-constructed wind projects, and buying electricity from other companies when the wind isn't blowing. GRE has said its will be a boon for its customers. However, this plan relies heavily on $105 million in annual federal tax subsidies, which simply shift the costs from Great River Energy's customers, to tax payers. In the...

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MPCA Gets It Right On Not Regulating Greenhouse Gases on Dairy Farm Expansion

Center of the American Experiment has been reporting on a developing story where environmental activist groups like the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) and the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) are using the court system to attack Minnesota farmers. These groups have sued the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for not regulating greenhouse gas emissions from a dairy farm seeking to expand their operation in Southeastern Minnesota. Thankfully, MPCA delivered a decisive win for farmers when it determined that the dairy farm would not need to complete a time consuming and expensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the greenhouse gases that...

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COVID-19 Shutdown Hasn’t Resulted In Better Air Quality, Minnesota Air Monitoring Data Shows

News outlets like  National Geographic and CNN are running stories talking about how Coronavirus-related economic shutdowns are resulting in better air quality in some cities around the world. While cities like New Delhi, Seoul, Wuhan, and Los Angeles have seen improvements in air quality resulting from widespread economic shutdowns, this same trend has not been observed in Minnesota, according to data collected by air quality monitoring stations. In fact, the data show that concentrations of small particles, often referred to as PM2.5, have been higher during the dates of the shutdown than they were in previous years despite the fact that...

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Michael Shellenberger on ‘Planet of the Humans’: Capitalism Isn’t The Problem With Renewable Energy – It’s Physics

Pro-nuclear advocate Michael Shellenberger appeared on Australia's SkyNews to talk about the impact of Michael Moore's Planet of the Humans documentary on the public's perception of wind and solar power. I'd encourage you to watch the interview below. https://youtu.be/ko8aXUm5DfU...

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Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Sectors Shed 85,000 Jobs in March Due to COVID-19

Wind and solar special interest groups often claim that these sources of energy are an economic engine for the United States. However, as my colleague Martha has written, these sectors don't actually produce very much electricity per job, which is the entire point of the energy industry. Now, a new report shows that energy efficiency jobs and the renewable energy sector lost more than 85,000 jobs in the month of March due to the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the study, 69,800 jobs in energy efficiency were lost in March, and 16,500 jobs were lost in the renewable energy industry. These jobs...

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Recycling Markets Have Changed. Will Minnesota Cities Adapt?

One of the core arguments for limited government involvement in the private sector is that private companies are much more receptive to changes in market conditions than governments because they are sensitive to price. If the price of a product plummets, the private sector produces less of  that product, but this is not how governments operate because politicians aren't sensitive to dollars, they're sensitive to votes. When it comes to issues like recycling, emotions often trump economics, which is why local elected officials around the country often campaign on higher recycling rates, even though these decisions never made economic sense. Now,...

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Why the Renewable Industrial Complex’s Attacks On Michael Moore’s Planet Of the Humans Are Wrong

Last week, filmmaker Michael Moore released his latest film entitled Planet of the Humans. The film brings several inconvenient truths about renewable energy to light, namely that wind turbines and solar panels don't last very long, their intermittent nature means we still need fossil fuels, and that they require lots of land, mining, and habitat destruction to build and operate. As a result, the film has provoked a massive backlash from the Renewable Industrial Complex, but their attacks on the film are wrong. The article below debunks the claims made by wind and solar special interest groups about the film. U Mad, Bro? The backlash...

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