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Xcel Energy CEO, Ben Fowke, Was the 4th Highest Paid CEO in Minnesota in 2019

Xcel Energy CEO, Ben Fowke, was the fourth-highest paid CEO in Minnesota in 2019, making $23.3 million in total compensation, according to an analysis in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. As proponents of free market principles, Center of the American Experiment does not take issue with CEO compensation at private companies, but as we have discussed many times before, Xcel Energy is not a private company. Private companies must compete for your business. If you don't like their product or their price, you are free to choose another provider. But Xcel Energy is a government approved monopoly, not a private company, and their "customers" are...

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How much metal would a Minnesota Green New Deal require?

There is an interesting paradox among liberal environmentalists. One the one hand, they want a Minnesota Green New Deal where all the electricity in the state is provided by a combination of wind turbines, solar panels, and battery storage. On the other hand, they oppose mining for copper, nickel, cobalt, and other metals needed to build these energy sources, even though Minnesota has some of the largest undeveloped reserves of these metals in the world. Today, we'll conduct a rough estimate of how much metal would be needed to be completely reliant on wind, solar, and battery storage for electricity generation. Assumptions It's important...

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Minnesota Center For Energy and Environment thinks governments “have room” to raise taxes in communities losing coal plants

Energy policy in Minnesota is a mess. Liberal politicians, profit-seeking, government-approved monopoly utilities like Xcel Energy, and environmental groups are pushing for the closure of Minnesota's reliable coal-fired power plants, which produce some of the most affordable electricity in the state, decades before the end of their useful lifetimes. Their "solution," is to replace the coal plants with unreliable sources of electricity, like wind and solar power. Losing Minnesota's existing coal plants is bad for the entire state because our economy needs affordable energy to compete with companies abroad. But the loss of coal-fired power plants is felt even more in the...

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Global wind turbine fleet to consume over 5.5 million tons of copper by 2028

Fans of renewable energy are often against copper-nickel mining in Minnesota, even though Minnesota contains some of the largest undeveloped copper-nickel deposits in the world, and massive quantities of both of these metals are needed for wind turbines. A new analysis by Wood Mackenzie estimates how much copper would be needed over the next eight years to build wind turbines. Relying on wind power is still a bad idea due to its high cost and low reliability, but those who do advocate for building more wind turbines should be forced to acknowledge the inherent contradiction of their pro-wind/anti-mining position. The following article...

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Michael Shellenberger Triggers House Democrats By Speaking the Truth About Wind and Solar

On Tuesday, July 28, 2020, Micheal Shellenberger, a man who has spent thirty years of his life as an environmental activist, testified in front of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. He was invited to testify because in 2009, he championed the renewable energy policies of the Obama administration, but since that time Mr. Shellenberger has realized that wind and solar cannot power our society for purely physical reasons. I'd encourage you to watch his testimony in the video below, and read his account of the testimony, which I have copied below. https://youtu.be/P-zuaH2Jkmc?t=1625 Mr. Shellenberger wrote the following piece describing his...

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Walz Wants Electric Vehicles to Be 20 Percent of All Vehicles on the Road By 2030

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) has recently released its 2019 Sustainability Report, which sheds light on the Walz Administration's desire to radically change the way Minnesotans drive. According to the report, the Walz administration wants 20 percent of the vehicles registered in Minnesota to be electric vehicles (EVs) even though these vehicles are more expensive and less useful than traditional cars, especially during cold Minnesota winters. The Walz Administration's EV goals are laughably unrealistic. EVs currently constitute 0.25 percent of the registered vehicles in Minnesota, which amounts to 12,750 out of the more than 5.1 million cars registered in the...

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Minnesota Department of Transportation Has 25 Year Agreement to Buy Solar Because Panels Don’t Last Much Longer Than That

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) recently released it's 2019 Sustainability Report. In the report, details how the government agency has signed two 25-year agreements to buy electricity from community solar installations (CSI) throughout Minnesota. Why only 25 years? Because unlike coal, natural gas, or nuclear power plants which can run for 60 to 80 years, solar panels don't last much longer than 25 years. While sunlight is a renewable resource, solar panels are not. In fact, most solar panels are not even recyclable because it costs more to recycle them than the materials are worth. As a result, solar panels...

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How Long Can You Power a Light Bulb With Two Pounds of Fuel?

One of the most important concepts in energy policy is understanding energy density, or how much energy can be extracted from a certain quantity of fuel. Solar and wind power are the least energy dense sources of power. They require huge amounts of land to produce small amounts of energy. Wood, or biomass, is more dense than wind or solar, coal is more energy dense than wood, oil is more energy dense than coal, and uranium puts all of these other sources to shame. This is why wind and solar are the energy past, fossil fuels are the energy present, and...

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Opposition Gears Up for Walz’s Drastic Clean Car Minnesota Scheme

Minnesotans might be under the impression that the wheels of state government stopped turning during the pandemic. Far from it. Gov. Tim Walz still has the pedal to the metal in his drive to impose his radical Clean Car Minnesota plan that amounts to a head-on crash with state bureaucrats for auto dealers and their customers around the state. But some Minnesotans are catching on to Walz's apocalyptic plan to solve global warming at our expense. Elaine Hansen, president of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, laid it on the line as to what's at stake in a column for the...

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California’s $10 Billion Blackouts

We often discuss how electricity prices in Minnesota, and around the country, have been increasing due to mandates for wind and solar. Because these sources of electricity are dependent on the weather, we can't rely on them as our only source of electricity or else we would experience blackouts, which are also incredibly expensive. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how California uses diesel-powered generators to keep some electricity flowing when the utility proactively cuts power to prevent live wires from sparking fires. After writing the article, it occurred to me that I had buried the lede: California's blackouts, which...

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