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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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An Energy Injustice: Low Income Households Will Subsidize Wealthy Ones Under New Handouts for Community Solar

Environmental groups may pay lip service to "environmental justice" in low-income communities, but these communities are being hoodwinked by the environmentalists who will make it harder for low-income families to pay their electric bill so the community solar program can be funded, at any cost.  ...

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Renewable Groups Predictably Scrutinize Great River Energy’s Continued Use of Coal

Groups who oppose the reliable and affordable electricity generated by coal and natural gas such as the Sierra Club and Fresh Energy are predictably scrutinizing Great River Energy (GRE) for their plans to keep generating electricity at the Coal Creek Power Station, an enormous 1,156 MW power plant located in North Dakota. These special interest groups are hoping to pressure the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission into rejecting GRE's long term resource plan, which depends heavily on the Coal Creek plant to meet the electricity demands of their customers. This shouldn't surprise anyone, because the Sierra Club has spearheaded a nationwide campaign...

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MPUC Bows to Activists in Delaying Vote on Natural Gas Plant

State regulators have once again empowered environmental hardliners by postponing a decision on a natural-gas power plant proposed by Minnesota Power. While the plant will be built in Superior, the utility still needs the approval of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Yet instead of voting on the $700 million plant on Thursday, the MPUC put off a final decision at the request of a far-leftist group, according to the Duluth News Tribune. Although the PUC was expected to make a decision Thursday, a last-minute filing by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board on Tuesday asked the PUC to consider an additional environmental review...

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The Value of Renewable Energy: How Much Does Reducing Carbon Emissions in Minnesota Affect the World?

Renewable energy has very little value as a power producer—it’s not as reliable as other forms of energy, it’s more intermittent and difficult to predict, and the imposed costs it has on other forms of energy make it among the most expensive sources of energy around. Coupled with government mandates, renewable energy complicates the energy system like no other energy source does....

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