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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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St. Paul Green Party Mayoral Candidate’s Paper Straw Response to my PiPress Article Doesn’t Hold Up

Last week I had an opinion editorial in the St. Paul Pioneer Press discussing how Minnesota's foray into wind and solar has led to higher electricity costs for no measurable environmental benefits. This prompted Elizabeth Dickinson, the former Green Party mayoral candidate for St. Paul to write a letter accusing me of using cherry-picked data. However, upon further scrutiny, the logic she uses in her letter to the editor holds up as well as paper straws. This sort of accusation is commonplace, but it does not make it correct. I've posted her letter below with my own thoughts about the points made...

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Doubling Down on Failure Nominated for National Award For Most Influential Research, Vote Now!

I'm excited to announce that American Experiment's study Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion has been nominated for the prestigious Bob Williams award and we need your help! Please click here to vote for our research because doing so will give us the best chance of winning the award. ...

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Midwestern Wind Turbines Were 3 Percent Useful Last Weekend

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. No matter what you did, it was probably more productive than the wind turbines in the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO) territory, where the wind utilized just 3 percent of installed capacity, providing a mere 1 percent of the electricity available on the grid. But just because the wind wasn't blowing doesn't mean there was not a high demand for electricity. In fact, July and August are typically the months where electricity use in Minnesota is highest. Ironically, it is also when generation from wind is lowest. The chart below shows Energy Information Administration data for...

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In The Tank (ep202) – Craziest Proposals From Democratic Candidates

Hello! In this week's edition of the In the Tank Podcast, American Experiment's Isaac Orr is joined by Donald Kendal and Justin Haskins of The Heartland Institute to discuss American Experiment's nomination for the "most influential research" award for their study Doubling Down on Failure, for the State Policy Network's Bob Williams award. We also discuss work from the Cato Institute, The Heartland Institute, and the Tax Foundation. Remember to vote for American Experiment by clicking here! https://www.heartland.org/sebin/r/r/ITTe202.mp3 OPENING CHIT CHAT Human Progress – Unskilled Workers and Food Prices in America (1919-2019) https://humanprogress.org/article?p=1798 Google’s extravagant climate change Camp mocked as party for ‘entitled fools’ https://pagesix.com/2019/08/01/googles-extravagant-climate-change-camp-mocked-as-party-for-entitled-fools/    THINK TANK AWARDS SPN -...

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Iowa Utility: Lower Fuel Costs Won’t Offset Rising Prices

One of the most common ways people are misled about the cost of renewable energy is the belief that wind and solar will save them money because they have no fuel costs. However, a recent comment by an Iowa utility shows that this line of thinking is completely wrong. The comment came from a story in the Gazette entitled "The Cost of Things: Why Energy Bills In Iowa Keep Growing, Electricity Bills Bolster Infrastructure, Wind Development," and I was very surprised the utility was so candid with this information. The article states: But while investments in renewables — MidAmerican also has leaned...

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