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Could You Power Your Home With A Bike? Not Even Close

I have a bike trainer in my basement, which is basically a machine that allows you to turn your bike into an exercise bike. As I was riding it the other night, I wondered how much electricity I could potentially generate if I hooked up my bike to a generator and battery, and how much money I would save on my electric bill, so I Googled it. Turns out, you can't save any. The article below is a story that ran in NPR, and it details how woefully unable we are to generate meaningful quantities of electricity with our legs, and how...

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Our Take: Complicated Economics of Community Solar Gardens Subject of Debate

The Star Tribune recently ran an article called "Complicated economics of community solar gardens subject of debate." Seeing how the Strib did not seek our opinion on the topic for their article, I'm providing it below. First and foremost, Minnesota's Community Solar installations are a mess. These solar installations are small, inefficient, and expensive. According to the article in the Star Tribune, Xcel Energy currently purchases power from the solar gardens at a price of 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour, which is 4.3 times more expensive than the electricity generated at the Sherburne County (Sherco) coal-fired power plant in 2016. Cost data for...

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Thousands Scammed By Organic Food Fraud

Organic food is a touchy subject. Many people think that because it is organic, it is more wholesome and better for the environment. However, there is scant empirical evidence to support these claims. In fact, I've argued before that organic food is actually worse for the environment because the yields are lower, requiring more acres of land be used for farming to produce the same amount of food. This is why I thought it was interesting that thousands of people have been scammed by a large-scale scheme in which ordinary corn and soybeans were fraudulently marketed nationwide as "certified organic." According to an article in...

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Texas City Featured in Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Sequel’ Lost Millions in its Green Energy Gamble

Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller wrote a great article, which is a victory lap of sorts, about how the town of Georgetown, Texas, which was featured in former Vice President Al Gore's underwhelming sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth," is losing millions of dollars after it proudly declared it would power itself with only wind and solar energy. Georgetown’s bet against fossil fuel prices cost the city-owned utility nearly $7 million this year, and prompted officials to look for a way out of their long-term contracts for solar and wind energy. “It’s costing them big time,” vice president of research at the Texas Public Policy...

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Happy Festivus, Everyone!

Happy Festivus, Everyone! In case you're unfamiliar, Festivus is perhaps the holiest day of the year, where family members gather around an unadorned aluminum pole and air their grievances with each other. Keeping with this sacred tradition, I have a few grievances I'd like to air. In the words of St. Francis (Costanza): Mark Dayton: Policy disagreements are to be expected in life, that's fair, but to give 22 state employees huge raises on your way out the door is exactly why people on the left and right have lost confidence in politics and begun favoring populist candidates. Scott Walker As a native Wisconsinite I still...

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Guess Who’s to Blame for the Rise in Catastrophic Wildfires?

California Congressman Tom McClintock gives the answer in an illuminating op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal.  Turns out our forests have become dangerously overcrowded ever since Congress passed costly environmental regulations in the 1970s. As a result 80% less timber is harvested from federal lands and fire now destroys a proportionally increased amount of acres.  For a good chunk of the 20th century foresters paid for the ability to harvest excess timer, the forests thrived, and revenues supported forest management. Now land management is an expensive government cost and our beautiful forests have become a deadly firetrap. A half-century of environmental regulation hasn’t...

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New Technologies, Not Paris Climate Agreement, Will Do the Job

Wind and solar simply aren't working, and these inefficient and unreliable technologies are a key reason the Paris Climate Accord is a dismal failure. The article below is a sobering piece that sheds light on how the proposed "solutions" to carbon dioxide emissions have been expensive failures. The article below was originally published in The Financial Times. Since climate change began to gain political traction in 1990, very little has been achieved. The concentration of carbon in the atmosphere has kept going up. Lots of money has been spent, vested interests have profited, but the reality is that we remain well on course for...

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Assessing the Fourth “National Assessment” of Climate Change

Pat Michaels of the Cato Institute is brilliant on the climate change issue. If you are interested in this topic and haven't read his book, Lukewarming, I highly suggest you pick it up. Michaels recently wrote a blog about the highly publicized, but little scrutinized Climate Assessment that has been making headlines here in Minnesota. The blog post is below and he provides links to his extensive comments. The 1990 Global Change Research Act requires quadrennial  “Assessments” of the effects of global climate change on the U.S. The first was published in 2000, the second in 2009 (the G.W. Bush Administration chose to...

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German Co2 Emissions Remain Stubbornly High

A lot of people I talk to about renewable energy in Minnesota think of Germany as a great example what we should be doing here. Green groups in the U.S. constantly characterize Germany's aggressive attempts to increase the amount of electricity generated by wind and solar as a smashing success, but unfortunately, these accounts fail to tell the whole story. In reality, Germany's "energy transition" has stalled, according to YaleEnvironment360. "Today, the Energiewende finds itself stalled and floundering. Germany’s carbon emissions have stagnated at roughly their 2009 level. The country remains Europe’s largest producer and burner of coal, which generates more than one-third of Germany’s power supply....

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Tempering the Alarm About Sea Level Rise

This article was written by Judith Curry, a climate scientist who was formerly a Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. New report on Sea Level Rise and Climate Change challenges the alarming predictions of 21st century sea level rise. “Antarctica meltdown could double sea level rise”. “The planet could become ungovernable”. Such headlines reflect the growing alarm over sea level rise. How worried should energy companies be about sea level rise? There are 287 energy facilities in the U.S. at coastal locations that are within 4 feet of typical high-tide level. More than half of these facilities are...

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