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Solar Roads Turned Out To Be A “Colossal Failure”

By now it should probably be more surprising when the next "big thing" in renewable energy isn't a colossal failure, but until that time comes, people will be surprised by how inefficient and expensive wind and solar truly are. The last example is the solar roads built in France and the United States that have turned out to be abject failures. According to Business Insider: Two years after the world's first solar road — the Normandy road in France — was set up, it's turned out to be a colossal failure, according to a report by Le Monde. The road has deteriorated to...

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Secretary of Agriculture Perdue Defends Decision to Renew Mineral Leases

Anti-mining activists have been quick to criticize the Trump Administration's decision to renew the mineral leases for the Twin Metals Minnesota project located north of Ely, Minnesota. However, these criticisms are not intellectually honest. After all, it was the Obama administration, in a lame-duck action, who broke decades of protocol by cancelling these mineral leases and sought a 20 year moratorium on mineral exploration. Even Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar stated the renewal should have been handled through the normal process. This is why it was refreshing to see Sonny Perdue, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, take to the pages of the Star...

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The Environmental Disaster of Solar Energy

Solar energy is terrible for the environment in a number of ways, including the fact that large land areas must be devoted to it. At Forbes, Michael Shellenberger highlights another problem with solar energy: it produces vast quantities of hazardous waste, which are not being adequately dealt with. The last few years have seen growing concern over what happens to solar panels at the end of their life. Consider the following statements: * The problem of solar panel disposal “will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment” because it “is a huge amount of waste and...

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Low-Cost Natural Gas Saves Thousands of Lives By Lowering Heating Bills

Natural gas is a powerful resources that is saving thousands of lives every single year. That's the conclusion of a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research entitled "Inexpensive Heating Reduces Winter Mortality" The abstract of the paper states: This paper examines how the price of home heating affects mortality in the US. Exposure to cold is one reason that mortality peaks in winter, and a higher heating price increases exposure to cold by reducing heating use. It also raises energy bills, which could affect health by decreasing other health-promoting spending. Our empirical approach combines spatial variation in the...

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Wind Turbine Landfill or Mass Grave? We Report, You Decide

Last week pictures surfaced of a landfill in Wyoming being filled with something you may not have imagined: wind turbine blades. It turns out that the fiberglass wind turbine blades are not recyclable, and the waste disposal site located near Casper, Wyoming will soon be the final resting place of more than 1,000 decommissioned wind turbine blades and motor housing units. According to the Cowboy State Daily: Each turbine blade will need between 30 and 44.8 cubic yards of landfill space, using a total of 448,000 cubic yards of the 2.6 million yards set aside for construction and demolition material. The components are made...

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Howdy from Austin, Texas

Howdy, y'all. I'm in Austin, Texas today giving a presentation on our award-nominated research, Doubling Down on Failure at The Heartland Institute's Emerging Issues Forum. This is a really good opportunity because it gives me a chance to share our research with state legislators throughout the country, and hopefully it will allow other think tanks to see the value in having a voice on energy issues. I've been on this panel in the past (I used to work for Heartland), so here's a bit of a throwback from 2016. I can post the video for this year once it is published. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3468&v=AvcD1AXCzhI If you have any...

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Capitalism is Saving the Planet Part Seven: Most Ocean Plastic Comes From The Developing World

With all the talk about banning plastic straws in the name of saving the oceans, very little of the discussion focuses on where the bulk of ocean plastic actually comes from. Here's a hint, it's not wealthy capitalist countries. In fact, research shows that the vast majority of all ocean plastics come from developing Asia and Africa. The graph below is from Our World In Data, and it shows per capita use of plastics for countries around the planet. Here it is no surprise that the United States ranks among the largest consumers of plastic in the world on a per capita basis....

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Expiring Subsidies, Not Free Markets, Driving Minnesota Solar Growth

Renewable energy advocates often claim that business is booming for the solar industry in Minnesota, and this is true. However, in order to determine whether this is a good or bad thing for Minnesota residents, it is important to understand why this is the case. A recent article suggests the recent demand in solar development is happening because people want to cash in on the federal solar subsidies before the tax credits taper off over the next five years. According to an article in the Rochester Post Bulletin: "When Steve and Dawn Finnie opened Little Thistle Brewing Co., they had long-term plans...

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Capitalism is Saving the Planet Part Six: Minnesota Forests Are Flourishing

Did you know that Minnesota's forests are flourishing? According to research from the U.S. Forest Service, forests account for 17.7 million acres of land in Minnesota out of a total of 54 million acres, meaning forest cover about 35 percent of the state. Furthermore, this number is increasing due in no small part to the fact that 51 percent of forested land in Minnesota is owned by the timber industry. From 2012 to 2017, Minnesota's forested land area increased by 755,000 acres, which equates to an increase of 1.7 percent. During this time, the number of live trees increased by one billion...

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Mark Your Calendars for My “Morning in Minnesota” Talk on our Report Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent By 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion

Hi everyone! Don't forget to mark your calendars for my August 27th talk discussing our award-nominated study (vote here!) Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion, and a broader discussion of the Green-New-Deal styled policies that were proposed by DFL members of the Minnesota House of Representative and Governor Walz. Minnesota families already experienced their highest electricity bills ever in 2018, but the politicians who want to mandate that 100 percent of our electricity come from carbon-free sources by 2050 will make this problem even worse. I am pleased to announce that I...

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