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Federal Data Show Walz’s Line 3 Delay Has Been an Anti-Science Charade

On Monday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted in favor of three key approvals for the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project, a revised environmental review, a certificate of need, and a route permit by a three to one margin. Although this is very good news that should allow the replacement of the aging pipeline to begin this year, federal data from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) show the delay should have never happened in the first place. During the Gubernatorial campaign, Tim Walz expressed his support for replacing the aging Line 3 pipeline, which transports crude...

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House To Hear McCollum’s Minnesota Mining Ban Bill Tomorrow in D.C.

Tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a hearing on a bill that would permanently ban mining for precious metals in more than 200,000 acres in Northeastern Minnesota. The bill was introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, a Democrat who resides in St. Paul. While the legislation would not affect the proposed PolyMet mine project, it would take much of Minnesota's vast treasure of copper and nickel deposits off the table for development, effectively destroying the possibility of mining companies creating up to 4,600 high-paying mining jobs in the region, forever. Last week, I attended a pro-mining event held by Congressman Pete...

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Our Perspective: Xcel Quarterly Profits up 35 Percent, Buoyed by Rate Increases

The Star Tribune published a bombshell story last Thursday entitled "Xcel Quarterly Profits up 35 Percent, Buoyed by Rate Increases," which reported Xcel Energy's quarterly profits for the last quarter of 2019, but unfortunately, unless people understand energy policy in Minnesota, they would have no idea why this story is so explosive. According to the Star Tribune article: "Xcel Energy’s fourth-quarter profits rose 35% and beat Wall Street forecasts, aided by rate increases in several states." Higher electric and natural gas profit margins, primarily due to rate increases, added 37 cents per share in 2019, said a report Thursday by Travis Miller, a...

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Sunday Funnies: Greta Thunberg, the Anti-Capitalist Climate Change Activist, Files to Trademark Her Own Name

Sometimes the Sunday funnies are simply reporting the news. Today is such a day. According to the New York Post: "Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg said on Instagram on Wednesday she has applied to register her name and that of the Fridays For Future movement she founded in 2018, which has gone global and catapulted her to international fame. The move would allow legal action against persons or companies trying to apply her name or the movement’s for uses that are not in line with its values, she said. “I assure you, I and the other school strikers have absolutely no interests in trademarks....

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German Electricity Prices Have Increased 2.5 Times Since 2008

Every year for the last several years, Minnesota lawmakers have piled onto a plane to visit Germany, which is supposedly a renewable energy utopia. It is amazing that so many taxpayer dollars can be used to learn so little, because Germany is a prime example of what not to do. I've written about this topic many times, but the myth that Germany's energy system is a success story never seems to go away. Over the last 12 years, Germany has spent hundreds of billions of Euro on wind and solar, and the only thing they have to show for it is...

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On the One Year Anniversary of the Polar Vortex, Wind Was 0.16 Percent Productive

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the Polar Vortex, which enveloped the state in an arctic cold that pushed our energy system to the max. You'll remember that our friends at Xcel Energy sent out an emergency request that all 460,000 of their natural gas customers turn their thermostat down to 63 degrees to make sure there was not a widespread natural gas shortage, and there was virtually no wind on the system because of low wind speeds and because at -24 degrees Fahrenheit, it was too cold for wind turbines to operate. Well, history repeated itself yesterday, at least in...

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The “How Do We Make This Bill Less Ugly?” – Proposed Changes to Improve Clean Energy First

The last two days I've reviewed The Good and The Bad parts of the proposed Clean Energy First legislation currently circulating in the Minnesota States Senate. Today, in sticking with our Sergio Leone theme, I'll talk about a few ways to make the bill less Ugly. 1. Instead of Granting Cost Recovery for Prematurely Retired Assets, Require Utilities to Sell the Plants on the Open Market to the Highest Bidder Why should Minnesota families and businesses be forced to continue to pay for a coal plant that is going to be destroyed before the end of its useful lifetime? This should be...

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Plymouth City Council Rejects Controversial GreenStep Cities Agenda

After a passionate discussion before a big crowd, the Plymouth City Council on Tuesday voted 4-to-3 against participation in the controversial GreenStep Cities climate change program overseen by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The outcome in Minnesota’s seventh largest city was being closely monitored by cities throughout the state as a bellwether of the program’s appeal. The MPCA program urges local governments to factor environmental sustainability into everything from budgets to ordinances, land use and long-range planning. A growing network of grassroots opponents, however, views GreenStep as a drain on city resources, risk to taxpayers and threat to local control. American...

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The Bad: Senate’s Clean Energy First Bill Would Probably Be A Blank Check to Xcel Energy

Yesterday, I wrote about The Good aspects of the Minnesota State Senate's Clean Energy First bill. Today I'll talk about The Bad aspects, and tomorrow I'll suggest ways to amend the legislation to make sure Minnesota families and businesses are not paying higher costs as a result of the bill. The Bad As a result of legalizing new nuclear, large hydro, and carbon capture and sequestration technology, the Clean Energy First bill could reduce more emissions for less cost than wind, solar, and battery storage. While this sounds great in theory, the legislation also contains problematic provisions that will essentially be a blank...

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The Good: Senate’s Clean Energy First Bill Could Reduce More Emissions at Lower Cost than Walz/House Proposals

I recently posted my testimony from Rochester on the Clean Energy First (CEF) bill currently circulating around the Minnesota State Senate. Today, I'll elaborate on the good parts of the Senate's Clean Energy First Bill, tomorrow, I'll talk about the bad parts, and Wednesday, I'll propose some amendments that would improve the bill. The Good The most important improvements offered in this bill, compared to the version put forward last session by Governor Walz and the Minnesota House of Representatives, is the classification of large hydroelectric dams as a “renewable” or “carbon free” resource, the bill legalizes new nuclear power plants, and...

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