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Fracking, Not Renewables, Is the True Energy Revolution of Our Time

Fracking shows what a technological disruption in the energy truly looks like, a rapid adoption of new technology that lowers prices for consumers regardless of the hurdles placed in front of it by governments and attempts to squash it by vested players in established industries like OPEC.  Fracking also shows us what technological disruptions don't look like, and wind and solar fit this bill. Despite decades of subsidies and tens of billions of squandered taxpayer dollars, and state laws requiring their use, these sources of energy simply cannot compete in terms of reliability or affordability of fossil fuels. ...

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As Blue Wave Fizzles to Purple Haze, There Are Reasons for Optimism Amid Midterm Results

It turns out there was no blue wave or red wave, and the purple haze that settled over the country in the wake of the midterm elections gives me reasons for optimism moving forward regarding energy and environmental policy in the coming years. 1.Senate gains could mean we will finally end the handouts for wind and solar: As you may know, wind and solar are huge recipients of federal tax subsidies, and these subsidies are the main reason why anyone invests in wind or solar. Fortunately, last night's results maybe these subsidies may finally go the way of the dodo bird. The wind...

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High Industrial Electricity Prices Harm Manufacturing Sector

We often hear from so-called progressives that we must fight income inequality and move toward renewable energy, but the problem is these two goals are incompatible with each other. This is because intermittent sources of renewable energy like wind and solar make electricity more expensive, and expensive electricity hurts the blue-collar industries like manufacturing and mining, which use an enormous amount of electricity. Just look at California, which has enacted a 100 percent carbon-free energy mandate that will continue to send electricity prices soaring. In fact, industrial electricity prices in California are nearly twice as high as in the rest of the...

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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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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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