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SF1372 Eliminating Size Limits on Hydropower is Smart Policy

Minnesota passed its 25 percent renewable energy mandate in 2007, but did you know this bill specifically prohibited counting electricity from large hydroelectric dams as a way to comply with the standard? As crazy as this sounds, it is true, and it has had serious negative impacts for Minnesota households. Fortunately, SF 1372 would eliminate the size limit on hydropower for satisfying the renewable energy mandate. This may sound like a small tweak to existing legislation, but this is actually a very big deal. Minnesota currently imports about 7.2 million megawatt hours of electricity from Canada, or about 10 percent of our...

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Helping the U of M Energy Transition Lab Understand Energy

A few weeks ago, I wrote an opinion editorial to the Star Tribune about how the Polar Vortex reemphasized the need for reliable forms of electricity in our state. My article was the most widely read opinion piece on the Strib’s website for two days, which prompted three employees of the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab (ETL) to write a reply. Their reply claimed I used confusing statistics to misrepresent the role renewables play in our system, but I contest that the statistics I used should not be confusing, especially for members the university's Energy Transition Lab. So, to clear...

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American Experiment Testifies on the High Cost of Community Solar at the MN Senate

Last week, I testified on the high cost the Community Solar Garden program in front of the Minnesota Senate Committee on Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy. My testimony begins around 18:45 into the audio file below. I have also included the slides I used in my presentation so you can follow along below.   [audio mp3="https://2lffqo2moysixpyb349z0bj6-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/mnsenate_39c23f18-82dd-43f7-b08e-d076030bedfa.mp3"][/audio] [embeddoc url="https://2lffqo2moysixpyb349z0bj6-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Isaac-Orr-MN-Senate-Throwing-Shade-at-Community-Solar.pdf" download="all"]  ...

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Mix One Part Green New Deal With One Part Polar Vortex

A deadly cold front recently swept through the Midwest, but thanks to nuclear energy, coal and natural gas, things did not turn out as badly as they could have. Most people stayed warm and safe because they trusted affordable, reliable and secure domestic energy sources that have served us for decades. The system that provides electricity and heat for millions could change drastically under the proposed Green New Deal. Proponents propose to completely abandon the sources of energy that protected millions of lives recently, telling us that “the world will end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” From there, they springboard to...

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Green New Delusion Would Require Lots of Mining, But Will Walz Allow it in MN?

The Green New Deal (GND) has become the talk of the down despite the fact that Ernie Moniz, the head of the Department of Energy under the Obama administration, has called the deal impractical. However, renewable energy advocates are pressuring lawmakers in St. Paul to push ahead with their own GND for Minnesota, but the question remains, where will the copper, nickel, cobalt, and manganese come from? An article from Geologyforinvestors.com suggests there will be as many as 125 million electric cars on the road within the next decade, which may be overly optimistic, but we'll see. The more important point...

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The Trouble With Solar

The Democrats' Green New Socialism proposes blanketing the U.S. with solar panels and wind turbines so as to replace all reliable forms of power generation with unreliable, intermittent sources. Everyone knows that solar panels don't produce electricity at night, but there is another problem: they don't produce electricity when it snows, either. A friend took this photo and wrote: I was up in Ramsey [Minnesota] picking up my camper, and next door is this fantastic $30,000,000 brand-new solar installation. Doesn’t look like they’re making much electricity today, but it sure is going to make for good union jobs clearing the snow off...

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