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Last Week’s Cold, This Week’s Trespassers, Shows We Need a Pipeline Protection Bill

Last week saw temperatures in Minnesota plummet to 24 below zero in the Twin Cities, and International Falls registered a temperature of minus 36 degrees. It was so cold outside that Xcel Energy had to urge its 460,000 natural as customers to turn their thermostats down to 63 degrees or face widespread shortages of natural gas, putting hundreds of thousands of people on edge, worrying about whether they could stay warm. Part of the problem  was a strain Xcel's natural gas distribution system, and this will likely need to be remedied with more pipeline infrastructure, if Xcel can get it built. This...

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Nuclear Is Less Costly Than You Think

The following article originally appeared in the Financial Times: Does it make any sense to build nuclear plants in Britain? Not obviously, unless you are an atomic evangelist. In recent months, half the participants in the country’s once-vaunted “nuclear renaissance” have packed their bags and departed. First Toshiba and then Hitachi dropped reactor projects, each citing their inability to get finance on terms that would deliver power to consumers at acceptable cost. Critics point to the widening gap between the strike prices demanded by nuclear and renewable investors, highlighting the new low of £57.50 per megawatt hour for two UK offshore wind...

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Gas Tax Issue Illustrates Rural, Urban Divide

The Star Tribune recently ran an opinion piece by James Lenfestey, who advocated for an increase in the gas tax to finance infrastructure improvements and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but cautioned lawmakers to keep rural Minnesotans in mind when crafting this policy. While it is admirable that the author wants to be sensitive to the needs of rural Minnesotans, the editorial further illustrates how people living in the metro area have scant idea how the policies they advocate harm those living outside of it....

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Dear Bernie: Oil Fuels Your Beloved Scandinavian Spending Spree

With Bernie Sanders recently announcing he intends to seek the presidency, I thought it was a good time to share an article I wrote in January of 2016 which was originally published at Investor's Business Daily. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has often talked about his desire for the United States to emulate the socialist welfare states of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden by providing free college and health care and expanding Social Security. Sanders also wants to ban oil, natural gas, and coal production on lands owned by the federal government, and he has called for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, which has dramatically increased production of...

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Two Podcasts: Same Rant About the Need of Reliable Energy

Hi All, I hope you're getting outside today to enjoy the balmy 38! degree weather. If you're out and about or walking the dog, here are two podcasts I appeared on yesterday discussing how Minnesota dodged a bullet during the cold snap, and we were fortunate we didn't run out of natural gas. That being said, wind energy was basically no help. Why would we build energy sources we can't depend on? In The Tank Donny Kendal and Isaac Orr, Policy Fellow at the Center of the American Experiment bring you episode #176 of the In The Tank Podcast. Today's episode features work from the Center...

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Bitter Cold Shows Reliable Energy Sources Are Critical

The Star Tribune has published an opinion piece I wrote on how Minnesota's bitter cold should be a wake-up call for energy policy in our state. Instead of mandating the use of wind and solar, which generated just 24 percent of its installed capacity, and provided just four percent of MISO's electricity, we must maintain and keep reliable electricity sources like coal, nuclear, and natural gas plants running. You can read the article by clicking here....

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Wind Power Engineering and Development: Why Wind-Turbine Gearboxes Fail to Hit the 20-year Mark

The short, 20-year lifespan of wind turbines is one of the most important, but least talked about facets, aspects of energy policy. American Experiment has written about this topic several times, but as I was researching further I found this interesting article from Wind Power Engineering and Development which states wind turbine gearboxes fail to reach even this milestone. As utility-scale wind turbines have developed from the kilowatt-class to the multi-megawatt machines installed today, the components inside a nacelle have also evolved to keep up with new power demands. Drivetrains, in particular, have had to change significantly to meet stronger, more variable wind loads...

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It’s Negative 24 Degrees and the Wind Isn’t Blowing. This is Why We Need Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power, Not Renewables

Good morning, everyone! I hope you're staying warm. If you are, it's because of natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear power, or even wood, because the wind isn't blowing right now. The screenshot below is from Electricity Map. It's a fun app that tells you how your electricity is being generated at any given moment in time.  Turns out wind is  producing only four percent of electricity in the MISO region, of which Minnesota is a part. While that's not good, what's worse is wind is only utilizing 24 percent of it's installed capacity, and who knows how this will fluctuate throughout the course of the...

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Germany is Largest Buyer of Russian Natural Gas

Yesterday I wrote about how Germany gets about 37 percent of its electricity from beautiful, clean coal, but it also generates a significant portion of its electricity with natural gas. Whereas the United States has used hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking,"  to turn the U.S. into the largest producer of natural gas in the world, Germany has banned fracking within its borders, and as a result, it instead purchases its natural gas from friendly Uncle Vlad. In fact, Germany is the single-largest consumer of Russian gas, Russia’s natural gas exports to Germany increased 12.2 percent in the first half of 2018, compared...

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