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Dear Governor Walz, Please Don’t Turn Minnesota Into California

When it comes to energy policy, California should be an example of what not to do. Unfortunately, Minnesota Governor, Tim Walz, seems intent on following many of the same mistakes that have been made in the Golden State. Among these mistakes is his attempt to mandate the use of more wind and solar on the electric grid, attempting to raise the gas tax by 20 cents per gallon in an effort to get people to drive less or purchase smaller cars, and trying to use the bureaucratic rule-making process to force Minnesota to comply with California Car Zero (ZEV) Emission Vehicle and Low...

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Fudging The Numbers: Why Wind and Solar Cost Estimates from Bloomberg New Energy Finance are Almost Certainly Wrong

In March of 2019, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released a public “fact sheet” alleging the cost of electricity generated by wind and solar in Minnesota had reached new record lows, but there is a problem; BNEF refuses to share the assumptions and methodology used to calculate their cost estimates with the public. This begs the question, what are they hiding? Probably a lot. BNEF estimated the unsubsidized levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for wind and solar to be $38 and $60 per megawatt hour, respectively. In contrast, a study by Center of the American Experiment found the cost of new, unsubsidized...

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City Journal: Battery Derangement

Governor Walz wants to impose California's low and zero emission vehicle (LEV and ZEV) regulations on Minnesotans through the bureaucratic rule making process. These rules would require car manufacturers to meet quotas for electric vehicle sales in order to sell gasoline and diesel powered cars in the state, essentially holding Minnesota's car market hostage until they sell enough money-losing cars. Luckily, the Trump Administration is seeking to revoke of California's ability to set their own emission standards for vehicles, which will make the Governor's attempt to impose west-coast mandates on Midwestern families moot. Electric vehicles are often touted as the future of...

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Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts

We are often told that installing solar panels on our homes can be a great way to ensure that the lights stay on in the event of a blackout, but it turns out that this claim is misleading. According to an article in Bloomberg: "Californians have embraced rooftop solar panels more than anyone in the U.S., but many are learning the hard way the systems won’t keep the lights on during blackouts. That’s because most panels are designed to supply power to the grid -- not directly to houses. During the heat of the day, solar systems can crank out more juice than a...

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Groups Dispute Cost of Renewable Energies

Last week I gave a talk in St. Cloud Minnesota about the findings of our report, Doubling Down on Failure, as part of our Morning in Minnesota Breakfast series to about 50 people who were eager to learn more about why their electricity bills keep rising. I was pleasantly surprised that the St. Cloud Times sent a reporter to listen to my talk, and they published the following article about my presentation: ST. CLOUD — What does it cost to switch to renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power? Isaac Orr, a policy fellow with the Center of the American Experment, looked into the...

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Let Them Use Solar: California Power Outages Highlight Economic Disparity

Despite being governed by progressives for most of the last five decades, California has the fourth-highest degree of wealth inequality in the country, and this wealth inequality is on full display as more than 2.5 million people were plunged into darkness as a result of Pacific Gas and Electric shutting off the power to prevent wildfires. Wealthy Californians are more likely to have solar panels and battery storage at their houses than low-income families, and as a result, these families are more likely to have electricity during the blackouts because low-income families cannot afford to buy back-up generators to keep their...

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WindFail: Congestion on Transmission Lines Hinders New North Dakota Wind Farms

A recent story in the Bismark Tribune states that wind developers in North Dakota are thinking twice about building new industrial wind facilities in the state because there is no room on the transmission lines needed to transport the power to population centers like the Twin Cities. Wind and solar are often built further away from the areas that use the electricity, requiring a massive investment in transmission lines that routinely cost $1 million per mile. The cost of transmission is growing even more as many wind companies seek to build wind turbines in North Dakota and South Dakota, rather than Minnesota,...

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