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Coronavirus-Induced Shortage of Solar Panel Components Highlights China’s Major Role in Solar Supply Chain

Last week, the Star Tribune ran a story about how the Coronavirus has disrupted the global solar panel supply chain, potentially causing the delay of two large solar installations in Wisconsin. The supply-chain interruptions have occurred because of factory shutdowns and travel restrictions in China, highlighting the major role that China has plays in the solar supply chain. According to the article: "Asia, and particularly China, is the globe’s primary supplier of solar cells and panels, and is also a major source of inverters and racking system components. Racks hold solar panels in place; inverters convert panels’ DC current into AC. Also, about...

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Sunday Funnies: Rom Rebuked at Ely Mining Meeting

Anti-mining activist Becky Rom was rebuked this week in Ely, Minnesota, when the city council unanimously passed a pro-mining resolution. According to the Star Tribune, more than 100 people packed into the council chambers, with many of them holding pro-mining signs. A small group of environmentalists was reportedly also in attendance, including Rom. It appears the pro-mining faction of the meeting did not agree with her viewpoint, turning their pro-mining signs toward Rom after her anti-mining resolution was not heard by the council.  ...

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Four Takeaways from The Capx2050 Transmission Planning Report

One of the biggest issues for Minnesota's electric grid is the topic of transmission lines. Transmission lines are expensive, and renewable energy sources, especially wind, require a lot more transmission lines than a grid powered by conventional generation resources like natural gas, coal, nuclear, and hydroelectric power. The last round of transmission spending was called CapX2020, which built approximately 800 miles of transmission lines, at a cost of $2 billion, according to a story in the Star Tribune. The transmission lines built as part of the CapX2020 are already full, so a new study called CapX2050 is being conducted to learn how...

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Efforts to Prevent The Walz Administration’s California Car Mandates Advance in the Senate

Today was a step forward for the efforts of conservative lawmakers to prevent the Walz administration from imposing unpopular California car mandates on Minnesotans. Senate File 3496 passed out of the Minnesota Senate's State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee. You can watch the hearing on the bill at the link below. https://www.facebook.com/mnsrc/videos/2275278436108528/?comment_id=2275304272772611&notif_id=1583437629234897&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic   I've previously testified in front of the Senate on this bill, explaining why it would be beneficial for Minnesota consumers. I also detailed that while the costs would be significant, the environmental benefits would be immeasurably small. It is encouraging to see that the Walz administration's attempt to...

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Despite More Turbines, Minnesota Wind Production in 2019 Was Still Below 2017 Levels

If you build them, the wind won't necessarily come. I've recently reported that wind facilities in Minnesota produced less electricity in 2018 than 2017, and newly-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows electricity generation from Minnesota wind facilities was about one percent less in 2019 than 2017, although 2019 saw more generation from wind turbines than 2018. The decline, relative to 2017 generation, occurred despite the fact that there are about 3.6 percent more wind generation capacity installed in Minnesota today (3,843 megawatts) than there were at the end of 2017 (3,699 megawatts), according to the U.S. Department of Energy's...

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Xcel Energy Provides Strong Testimony Against the Community Solar Program

I have a lot of policy disagreements with Xcel Energy, but I firmly believe it is important to give credit when credit is due. The video below is from last week, and it shows Rick Evans of Xcel Energy testifying about the huge inefficiencies related to the Community Solar program. Evans makes many of the same arguments Center of the American Experiment makes about wind and solar every day. https://youtu.be/I-jPAY1wL-4?t=3431 Evans states: "Our customers are required to pay triple the cost of solar energy, in an unlimited quantity, that comes on to our system regardless of whether we need it or not. First of...

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Senator Rarick Cites American Experiment’s Mining Research in the Mitchell Hamline Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice

We're delighted to report that Senator Jason Rarick (R) cited American Experiment's research on copper nickel mining in Minnesota in his piece to the Mitchell Hamline School of Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice.  You can read the piece below. The future of mining on the Iron Range has taken a couple of hits in the last month. At the end of December, at the behest of Ramsey County Congresswoman Betty McCollum and environmental activists, a federal spending bill gave the State Department 60 days for another review of the potential effects of Twin Metals’ proposed copper-nickel mine in the Boundary...

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Minnesota Ranked as 4th Biggest Mining State in 2019

Many people in the Twin Cities are vaguely aware of the fact that Minnesota mines iron ore, but few understand the scale or importance of mining to the communities who develop our iron ore resources, or the important implications it has for our country. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Minerals Commodities Survey, Minnesota leapfrogged California to become the 4th largest mining state in the country, based on the value of minerals sold. The primary minerals mined were iron ore, lime, sand and gravel (construction), sand and gravel, (industrial), and crushed stone. Minnesota improved one spot in the ranks compared...

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