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If Renewables Are So Cheap Why Is Germany’s Electricity So Expensive?

Renewable energy advocates like to say we should be a lot more like Germany when it comes to generating more electricity from wind and solar. This argument often goes like this: "Wind and solar are already less expensive than fossil fuels, and greedy corporations are the only reason we don't have a clean energy revolution!!!" My question for people making this argument is, "If renewables are so gosh-darn cheap, why does Germany now have the highest electricity prices in Europe?" In fact, the average cost of electricity is nearly 30 cents per kilowatt hour, almost three times higher in Germany than...

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ACSH: Conventional Farms Are Better For Environment Than Organic Farms

Every acre planted to organics represents an opportunity cost for the productivity of the American agricultural sector. It means we must plant more acres to grow our food, which means there are fewer acres for other uses, including land conservation. So the next time someone tries to virtue signal about the fact they buy local, organic food, you should let them know they can save their breath, and their money, by buying environmentally friendly conventional crops....

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If Wind Energy Saves Ratepayers Money, Why Does Xcel Brag About How Wind Investments Increase Profits for Shareholders?

Wind energy is supposed to be the cheapest energy source available, providing energy savings to Minnesota businesses and families.  Just read this opening paragraph of a StarTribune article, which claims that “The cost of wind energy in Minnesota, even without tax subsidies, now appears lower than that of electricity produced from both natural gas and coal.”  The validity of this statement can be proven false simply by using public data provided by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). As you can see from the graph below, the cost of electricity from wind farms is more expensive than both coal and natural gas plants.  Figure 1 The capacity factor of a power plant can...

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Dayton Considers Iron Range Solar Plant A Highlight of His Economic Development Legacy: What Do You Think?

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says the Heliene solar panel manufacturing plant opening on the Iron Range is one of the highlights of his economic development record. What do you think? The plant received $3.5 million in loans from the state to expand and purchase state-of-the-art equipment. But this begs the question, should the state of Minnesota be subsidizing an industry that is painfully dependent upon the 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit for survival? I sure don't. The company, will reportedly invest more than $18 million to get a 25,000 square foot factory up and running after another manufacturer abandoned it last year. The plant...

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View Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources Polymet Press Conference Here

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources held a press conference to announce the agency's decision to issue the Permit to Mine for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota. You can watch the press conference for yourself below. [embed]https://www.facebook.com/MPRnews/videos/337897113459634/?hc_ref=ARTcOu3oCKeGF8beN1oWfsK3mO3oYKIu_RxwNpseNH5KCL-lNecnF3kEWSltEZ4u28I[/embed]...

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BREAKING NEWS: DNR Issues Permit to Mine for PolyMet Project!

The proposed PolyMet copper-nickel, and precious metal mine took a major step forward as the Minnesota DNR has just issued the permit to mine, stating the project meets Minnesota's environmental protection standards. The DNR has issued the permit to mine, six water appropriation permits, two dam safety permits, a public waters work permit, and an endangered species takings permit for the NorthMet project.  The permit to mine includes a financial assurance plan and wetland replacement plan. According to the notice published by the DNR: No project in the history of Minnesota has been more thoroughly evaluated.  In issuing the permits, the DNR has...

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Connexus Energy Becomes Nation’s First Electric Co-Op to Bilk Its Members With Solar Plus Storage, Hooray!

Connexus Energy has become the first electric co-op in the country to bilk its 130,000 owner-members by forcing them to pay $31 million in additional costs for unneeded solar plus battery storage. Hooray! I've written about this project before, and as a reminder, the two solar gardens being built will have a whopping 10 MW of capacity, which is the equivalent of 0.056 percent of the installed electricity generating capacity in the state. The batteries will be able to feed 15 MW into the grid at a time and store 30 MWH of electricity, enough for two whole hours! Whoopee! It would be one...

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Xcel Tries To Trick Customers Into Thinking They’re Being Treated

I'd say Happy Halloween, but the increasing cost of electricity is downright frightening. Minnesota's electricity prices have been skyrocketing, largely because our state has squandered $15 billion on wind turbines and the additional transmission lines needed to transport the electricity generated by far-away wind turbines to the metro area. While one could argue utility companies are simply responding to the mandates imposed upon them by legislators and regulators, I would vehemently disagree because  Xcel actively lobbies to skew the regulatory apparatus in their favor. In fact, in 2016 Xcel spent more money lobbying than every organization other than the Minnesota Chamber of...

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Orr “Mines” the Theater of Public Policy for Laughs

Last night, Policy Fellow Isaac Orr appeared at the Theater of Public Policy held at Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis. The Theater, run by Tane Danger, has a policy purpose and fun format; it take on issues of public policy, invites opposing experts to discuss the topic and then "improv" actors have some fun with what they learned about the issue. Think Dudley Riggs doing public policy. The issue last night was mining in northern Minnesota, specifically the PolyMet copper nickel mine now under consideration. Isaac Orr, who co-authored the Center's report "Unearthing Prosperity: How Environmentally Responsible Mining Will Boost Minnesota's Economy"...

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Anti-Mining PAC Endorses Walz, Ellison, and a Slew of Other DFL Candidates

A group that opposes the proposed Twin Metals copper nickel mine in northern Minnesota has released a new ad endorsing Tim Walz for Governor. This doesn't necessarily mean Walz opposes the Twin Metals project, but if anti-mining groups are endorsing him, it does raise the possibility that they know something we don't about his feeling toward copper nickel mining in our state....

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