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Early Christmas Present as Township Kills Western MN Wind-Solar Project

[caption id="attachment_8723" align="alignright" width="236"] Pelican Lake, Otter Tail Co.[/caption] It's not often the so-called little guy gets to take a victory lap, especially after challenging the well-connected green energy industry. But the Fargo Forum reports the residents of Dunn Township on Pelican Lake in Otter Tail County just overcame the odds and pulled the plug on a nearly 500 foot wind turbine and solar system proposed for their corner of paradise. "We have cancelled the community based renewable project, which was a wind/solar hybrid project," Lake Region CEO Tim Thompson said in an email. "The project was being developed by Juhl Energy...

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The High Cost of Our Failing Wind Policies: Why Minnesota’s electricity costs are above the U.S. average and emissions are rising

This op-ed appeared in the Star Tribune on December 14, 2017.  Star Tribune file photo. Like many states, Minnesota is on the bandwagon for renewable energy, especially wind power. Despite all of the hype about falling wind power costs, Minnesota's energy policy is starting to exert upward pressure on electricity prices, and it is notably failing at its chief objectives. America's fixation on renewable energy dates to the energy crisis of the 1970s, when it was thought that oil and natural gas were quickly running out and that we needed brand-new energy sources. Today, we are told that we need to develop...

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Minnesotans’ Electric Rates: Gone With the Wind

Minnesota has been on the cutting edge of mandating renewable energy quotas for the past decade. But to what end? Center of the American Experiment answered that question in our recently released report, Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure. You can download and read the report here. Or you can get the Cliff Notes version in an op-ed in Thursday's Star Tribune by the report's co-author Stephen Hayward. Here's the gist of Hayward's overview. Minnesota has met its political mandate of supplying 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources, but the effects of this target are disappointing and worrisome...

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Pipeline Remains On Hold But Not Protesters

Construction on replacing Enbridge 3 with a far superior pipeline hasn't even gotten underway yet in Minnesota. In fact, the project hasn't even received regulatory approval from the state yet, thanks to stalling by the Dayton administration. But the Duluth News Tribune reports that hasn't stopped pipeline protesters from getting a head-start on their job anyway.   Three Duluth residents were cited for trespassing on Friday after occupying Enbridge's downtown office to demand that the company abandon its Line 3 replacement project. Donna Howard, Mark Daniel Hakes and Michele Naar-Obed delivered a letter to Paul Eberth, director for the project intended to replace the existing...

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House Passes Bill Ending Obama Mining Ban in Northern MN

The Obama administration's last-minute ban on mineral exploration in northern Minnesota would be history under legislation passed late last week by the U.S. House of Representatives.  The measure still needs to clear the Senate in order to reach President Trump's desk. But as the Duluth News Tribune and other media noted, it's a big step in the effort to tap into the Iron Range's vast mining potential. The bill is aimed at Twin Metals, the Chilean-owned company that wants to build a massive underground copper mine near the Kawishiwi River southeast of Ely. The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management...

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More Mining Companies Exploring Possibilities in Northern MN

Despite getting the cold shoulder from the Dayton administration and its enviro activist allies, big-time mining companies continue to signal their renewed interest in northern Minnesota's treasure trove of mineral wealth. The latest example involves a promising copper deposit that's been on the back burner near Babbitt for several years. Now the Canadian owner of the possible mine has returned to explore its options again, according to the Duluth News Tribune. Teck officials met with Babbitt city representatives earlier this month to say they were still working in the area where significant deposits of copper and nickel were confirmed about 10 miles...

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MN City Reconsiders and Rejects Solar as Too Risky

Solar power developers routinely make the rounds at City Hall, targeting municipalities with the latest green gimmickery. The most popular go-to option these days allows cities to cash in on the state's solar energy mandate through so-called community solar gardens (CSG), underwritten at the expense of ratepayers and taxpayers. But there's a reason green energy companies target local governments like Centerville in Anoka County, as The Citizen weekly newspaper pointed out. CSG's ask municipalities in particular to be members because they are more stable than businesses and are more likely to fulfill the 25-year commitment that the subscription requires. The thinking is that it...

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Xcel Reveals Solar Garden Power Costs Double Other Sources

The Minneapolis City Council's recent approval of two more community solar gardens led to glowing coverage in The Journal, a community newspaper. But the report also appears to contain a bombshell from an Xcel Energy executive about the true cost of solar power, a disclosure that solar costs Minnesota ratepayers tens of millions of dollars more than conventional electricity. At face value, the new community solar deal "saves" Minneapolis $28,000 a year on electric bills, while helping Xcel Energy meet the state mandate to produce 1.5 percent of Minnesota's electricity through solar. Community solar gardens allow utility customers in Minnesota to support...

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EPA Cleans House After Obama-Era Advisers Pocket $77 Million in Grants

"Political science" took on a whole new meaning under the Obama administration. Now we're finding out just how politicized and cozy the relationships were between the environmental agency under the previous administration and the ostensibly objective scientists advising it. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified tens of millions of dollars in government grants that were awarded to scientists at the same time they were serving on three of the powerful agency's advisory boards. In other words, numerous scientists on advisory panels were deciding on national environmental regulations even as their pet projects received funding from the EPA--a textbook conflict of interest. But...

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Dayton Must Not Allow Militant Enviros to Suppress Pipeline Debate

Why has the Dayton administration enabled militant activists to suppress public hearings on one of the most economically and environmental critical infrastructure projects to ever face Minnesotans? American Experiment economist John Phelan explores the implications of state regulators allowing a mob of activists to shut down a public hearing in Duluth, leading to the cancellation of two more public hearings last week. You can also read John's op-ed "Don't let pipeline protesters silence Minnesotans" in the St. Cloud Times. Don't let pipeline protesters silence Minnesotans The Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, which ships crude oil 1,100 miles from Alberta to Wisconsin, is five decades...

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