Isaac Orr challenges Rep. Jamie Long to debate impact of renewable energy mandates

Center of the American Experiment’s energy policy expert Isaac Orr has challenged Rep. Jamie Long to participate in a public debate on the impact of renewable energy mandates on Minnesota.

Internal documents recently revealed that Rep. Long was hired by the University of Minnesota to rebut Orr’s groundbreaking new research, which concluded that a 50% renewable energy mandate would significantly increase the cost of energy in Minnesota and destroy jobs but have no measurable impact on the global climate. Orr provided expert testimony on his research before the Minnesota House’s Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Division, of which Rep. Long is the vice chair, yet Rep. Long declined to publicly ask questions about the report’s findings.

document distributed internally during Rep. Long’s hiring process maligned Center of the American Experiment’s research as “misinformation,” reading:

“University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and Energy Transition Lab have prioritized legislator engagement as a top strategy. In Spring 2019 they are leading two initiatives. One is to provide a ‘truth squad’ to issue energy fact sheets and testimony to legislative committees to educate legislators and to debunk right-wing misinformation spread by a local ‘think tank’ about the reliability and cost of renewable energy, fossil fuels, and nuclear.”

In response, Orr sent the following invitation to Rep. Long:

Dear Representative Long,

It has come to my attention that your former position as an Energy Research Project Specialist at the University of Minnesota was designed to counter my research at Center of the American Experiment, and to work behind the scenes to influence lawmakers on energy policy. 

As you know, I appeared before the House Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Division several times during the legislative session to inform legislators and the public of the findings of my recent report, titled, “Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Mandate Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion.” Considering that your former employer referred to my report as “right-wing misinformation” that must be debunked in internal emails during your hiring process, I’m disappointed that you and your colleagues did not take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions or dispute my research when I came before your committee in a public venue.

Therefore, I encourage you to make your case to your constituents and the people of Minnesota by accepting my challenge to debate the findings of America Experiment’s report in an open, public debate. 

Our report uses the best available assumptions from the United States Energy Information Administration, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, as well as numbers provided to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in utility resource planning documents. The data we used are meticulously sourced in its thirty-four pages of appendices. Moreover, the research paper is a finalist for the national Bob Williams Award for Outstanding Policy Achievement in the category of “Most Influential Research,” and is currently being replicated in other states.

I am available to debate you in an afternoon or evening public forum on the following dates. As an elected official who presumably values transparency and public dialogue, I look forward to your prompt response.


October 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26

November 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 26

December 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 27, 28


Isaac Orr

Policy Fellow

Center of the American Experiment