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Federal Data Confirms Minnesota Solar Panels Don’t Work Well in Winter

Recently-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirms what many of us already knew, that solar panels don't work well in our Minnesota winters. The data is interesting because this is the first time EIA has shown the productivity (or capacity factor) of solar panels on a monthly basis, as you can see in the graph below. While solar panels generated nearly 30 percent of their potential output in July of 2018, electricity generation from Minnesota's solar fleet dropped to 5.6 percent by December. There are multiple reasons for this. One, the days get a lot shorter in the winter...

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Why Is Governor Walz Trying to Mandate Cars That Nobody Wants?

Last week, I testified before a joint hearing of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee about the Walz administration's desire to force Minnesotans to comply with California's car mandates for low emission vehicles (LEVs) and zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). During their testimonies, advocates of these new mandates claimed they are needed because there is a huge demand for some models of electric vehicles (EVs) that are not currently offered Minnesota, and that they would be offered here if the mandates went into effect. However, survey data from CleanTechnica.com, which is a website dedicated to promoting renewables and electric vehicles, shows...

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Why Did Minnesota Solar Jobs Fall by Six Percent in 2019?

We're constantly told that solar is the energy source of the future, and that we need not worry about rising electricity prices and the loss of jobs in the mining, manufacturing, timber, and agriculture industries because of the booming solar economy. It appears that narrative suffered a setback this week. According to the Star Tribune, the number of solar jobs fell in 2019 by 267 jobs, or 6 percent relative to 2018 numbers. This brought the number of solar jobs in the state to 4,335 in 2019.  The article did not offer an explanation for the fall in solar jobs, but it can...

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Bill Makes Recruiting and Training Activists to Vandalize Pipelines a Felony

A bill before the legislature sends a clear message to would-be eco-terrorists who may be targeting Minnesota. Anyone enlisting and educating individuals with the goal of damaging energy infrastructure in this state will get the book  thrown at them and their accomplices. The proposed legislation by Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake follows the veto of a similar bill by former DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, according to the St. Cloud Times. One of Mekeland's bills would make it a felony to recruit or train protesters to "damage critical infrastructure, including pipelines." It would also make trespassers liable for any damage to property, according...

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Lawmakers Needn’t Worry About Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum Push Polling

Center of the American Experiment has previously written about push polling conducted in 2018 by the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum (MNCEF) which claims that 73 percent of Republicans and Independents in Minnesota "Believe Minnesota should pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy and take action to accelerate the use of clean energy in Minnesota." Unfortunately, it appears this polling is being cited to pressure some members of the Minnesota Senate into supporting the proposed Clean Energy First legislation. While this bill contains some good provisions, it also contains some very bad provisions that would cause electricity prices to increase. Furthermore, Center of the American...

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Real Clear Energy: Money & Power: New FOIA’d Documents Offer Ugly Candor About ‘Green Energy’

The article below was originally written by Chris Horner and it appeared at Real Clear Energy. I've added my own commentary within the text of the article below. "Recently, excerpts from notes taken at a meeting at the Rockefeller family mansion between activists, donors and political appointees emerged. They contain further revelations, beyond those first reported. These notes quote numerous, high-ranking political appointees from state government making quite clear that the costly lessons of scandalous Obama-era parade of high-profile and costly green energy boondoggles changed nothing. “Green energy” remains about money and power. As in keeping power, not generating it. The handwritten and typed notes...

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In The Tank (Ep230) – Fracking Facts, and the Stratifying Democratic Presidential Field

Heartland's Donald Kendal and Jim Lakely join Isaac Orr in episode 230 of the In The Tank Podcast. The New Hampshire primary has brought a little more resolution to the Democratic Presidential candidate landscape. The trio discusses what this means and where the remaining candidates stand on issues like taxes and hydraulic fracturing. Speaking of fracking, Isaac Orr brings the facts regarding this important process and how it has enhanced the lives of Americans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RkYIf68fGI...

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My Response to Fox 9’s “The Last Gasp of Coal”

Earlier this week, Fox 9 ran a story entitled "The Last Gasp of Coal," which suggested that coal plants are costing ratepayers a lot of money because of a practice known as self scheduling. Several of our readers sent this story to me, so I decided to reach out to Tom Lyden, the lead reporter on this story, to offer a perspective other than those shared by Fresh Energy, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. You can read my email to Mr. Lyden below. Dear Mr. Lyden, My name is Isaac Orr, and I am a policy fellow specializing in energy and...

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Bloomberg: Wind Turbine Blades Can’t Be Recycled, So They’re Piling Up in Landfills

Center of the American Experiment has been at the forefront of exposing the short lifespan and enormous cost associated with decommissioning wind turbines at the end of their 20 year useful life. Well, a recent article from Bloomberg had some stunning pictures of wind turbines filling up landfills in Wyoming. According to the article: A wind turbine’s blades can be longer than a Boeing 747 wing, so at the end of their lifespan they can’t just be hauled away. First, you need to saw through the lissome fiberglass using a diamond-encrusted industrial saw to create three pieces small enough to be strapped to a...

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Can Mining in Minnesota Reduce Child Labor in the Congo?

Cobalt has become a controversial topic in the debate over copper nickel mining in Minnesota’s Duluth Complex. This metal, which is used in the lithium ion batteries in laptops, tablets, and electric cars, has become a lighting rod because most of the cobalt produced in the world comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where some of the cobalt is mined using child labor. Virtually everyone has a cellphone, laptop, or tablet that has a battery requiring cobalt. This has led many people to ask the question, can mining in Minnesota reduce the demand for unethically mined cobalt in...

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