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A Prosperity Agenda

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 Issue of Thinking Minnesota, now the second largest magazine in Minnesota. To receive a free trial issue send your name and address to info@americanexperiment.org. Every year, Center of the American Experiment gets involved in helping to defeat bad ideas proposed at the Minnesota Legislature. In addition, the Center has a positive agenda of legislation that we want to see enacted. That agenda takes into account, of course, the political landscape. But regardless of partisan alignment, there are some ideas so strong, and some policies so obviously beneficial, that they may be enacted despite partisan gridlock. The...

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The State of Electric Cars?

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 Issue of Thinking Minnesota, now the second largest magazine in Minnesota. To receive a free trial issue send your name and address to info@americanexperiment.org. Are Minnesotans eager to embrace a future that includes large numbers of electric vehicles, mandated by a state government rule? That is the subject of the cover story in this issue of Thinking Minnesota. When we asked Minnesota voters, we found very little support for that initiative. The Thinking Minnesota Poll was conducted by Meeting Street Research. Interviews were completed December 12-15, 2019 among 500 registered voters with a mix of cell phone...

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A Cold California

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 Issue of Thinking Minnesota, now the second largest magazine in Minnesota. To receive a free trial issue send your name and address to info@americanexperiment.org. Frustrated by his inability to persuade Congress to enact sweeping "cap and trade" laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, President Barack Obama simply bypassed the legislative branch of government. He used administrative bureaucracy, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to force additional regulations on the American people. It appears Governor Tim Walz is now taking. a page out of the Obama playbook. After last year's legislature decisively dispatched Walz's proposal to address greenhouse gas...

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Net Metering: How People With Solar Panels Are Picking Your Pocket

Did you know that people with solar panels on their roofs are picking your pocket in more ways than one? Federal subsidies for solar have been increasing your tax liability for years, but people with solar panels are also picking your pocket through a lesser-known policy called as net metering. At it's core, net metering pays people with solar panels more for their electricity than it is worth. This is accomplished by paying people with solar panels the retail rate for their power, rather than the wholesale rate. In fact, this is the only reason that solar panels are able to...

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This Year in Energy and Environment: 2019 Edition

With 2020 upon us, I'd like to reflect back on 2019 because it was a banner year for energy and environmental issues here at Center of the American Experiment. Here are some of the highlights from each month. In January, American Experiment submitted comments to the U.S. Forest Service in support of the lease renewal for the Twin Metals Minnesota mine. Since then Twin Metals has submitted its mine plan to state and federal agencies for review. We also covered the fact that wind and solar were not working during Polar Vortex in real time, highlighting the dangers of relying upon...

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Spare the Electric Space Heater (and Turn Up the Gas) to Save Money and Keep Warm this Winter

This article was written by me and originally appeared in the Monticello Times: Winter has come, and that means college students will be looking for ways to keep warm without breaking the bank. A common way students seek to do this is by using electric space heaters, but in general, using space heaters is more expensive than turning up the thermostat on your natural-gas powered furnace. Space heaters can be more affordable than gas if they are only being used in one or two small rooms while the rest of the house is cool, but beyond that they are much more expensive to...

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Sunday Funnies: Unicorns More Realistic Than Running a Grid on Renewables and Batteries

The Time to Go Nuclear Facebook Page is definitely worth a follow. They published this meme and boy is it spot on. Unicorns are just as realistic as the battery request. I recently wrote about an Xcel Energy slideshow which shows the enormous cost of using 100 percent renewable energy with battery backup in California. The slide was notable because it shows the cost of electricity increases exponentially as renewable and battery storage penetration increases. The numbers I wrote about in the piece above only reflected the costs on Xcel Energy customers, who use less electricity than other customers due to high natural gas...

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Hey Minnesota Liberals! Stop Complaining About Low-Wage Service Jobs Unless You Support More Mining

The new soup du jour of liberal talking points appears to be that the current economy isn't very good at all because many of the jobs that are currently being created are low-paying jobs in the service and tourism sectors. But if liberals in Minnesota want to complain about the rise of low-paying jobs in these sectors, they had better be in favor of more mining in Minnesota....

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Why Does Minnesota Have More Power Plants Than Texas?

Minnesota has more power plants than Texas, according to federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. This is despite the fact that Minnesota has 23 million fewer people than the Lone Star State, and that Texas requires six times more electricity than Minnesota. This is simply mind boggling. The main reason Minnesota has more power plants is because of our solar energy mandate and Community Solar program. These programs incentivize smaller, more-expensive forms of solar rather than larger utility-scale solar installations. Make no mistake, solar in Minnesota doesn't make sense because it is "too expensive" to clear snow off of the panels,...

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How the Renewable Energy Grinch Stole Your Christmas Budget

Christmas is a time where friends and families come together to appreciate each other during the holidays. However, Christmas can also be a stressful period of time, especially for parents, because of the impact holiday spending has on their finances. Unfortunately, this financial stress has been exacerbated by Minnesota’s mandates for renewable energy which have driven up the cost of electricity. Minnesota families used to have electricity prices that were nearly 20 percent below the national average, but this changed dramatically beginning in 2005 when Xcel Energy was first required to add renewables to their system. The trend became even more...

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