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Four Takeaways from The Capx2050 Transmission Planning Report

One of the biggest issues for Minnesota's electric grid is the topic of transmission lines. Transmission lines are expensive, and renewable energy sources, especially wind, require a lot more transmission lines than a grid powered by conventional generation resources like natural gas, coal, nuclear, and hydroelectric power. The last round of transmission spending was called CapX2020, which built approximately 800 miles of transmission lines, at a cost of $2 billion, according to a story in the Star Tribune. The transmission lines built as part of the CapX2020 are already full, so a new study called CapX2050 is being conducted to learn how...

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Reality, Physics, Emerge as Greatest Obstacles to Renewable Growth

Renewable energy rent seekers like to make it seem like history is on their side, and that there is simply an inevitable and glorious march toward wind, solar, and battery storage technology. It appears two pesky characters, reality and physics, are showing up to spoil the party. One of the many problems with wind and solar is that they are widely dispersed, and these facilities are often located far away from the population centers that will use the electricity generated from them. As a result, extensive and expensive transmission systems must be built to accommodate these weather-dependent resources, but it appears...

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Wisconsin Utilities Rake in Increased Profits as Wind and Solar, Transmission Spending Increases

Government-approved monopoly utility companies in the Midwest continue to pad their guaranteed corporate profits by building more wind and solar installations, along with the transmission lines needed to transport the energy generated by them to far-away population centers. This time, it is Wisconsin utilities that are doing the profit padding by adopting the same language used by Xcel Energy to mislead consumers on the cost of their electricity, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. "Alliant Energy announced a 7% increase in its 2020 dividends Wednesday as it reported earnings of $226 million in the third quarter of 2019. That’s up almost 10 percent...

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WindFail: Congestion on Transmission Lines Hinders New North Dakota Wind Farms

A recent story in the Bismark Tribune states that wind developers in North Dakota are thinking twice about building new industrial wind facilities in the state because there is no room on the transmission lines needed to transport the power to population centers like the Twin Cities. Wind and solar are often built further away from the areas that use the electricity, requiring a massive investment in transmission lines that routinely cost $1 million per mile. The cost of transmission is growing even more as many wind companies seek to build wind turbines in North Dakota and South Dakota, rather than Minnesota,...

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Isaac Invited to the White House for Trump Speech on the Environment

Hello, All! I won't be in the office today because I've been invited to attend a speech at the White House by President Trump highlighting the fact that America's air and water are cleaner today than they have been at any other time during the last 50 years. The same is true of Minnesota, where Minnesota Pollution Control Agency data show Minnesota meets even the most rigorous air quality standards in the state. In fact, burning wood for home heating and backyard campfires are now the largest contributors to particulate matter in the air. I've been in contact with White House staff members...

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Throwing Shade at the Solar Pathways Analysis: 70 Percent Solar and Wind Would Require We Build 6 to 11 More Capacity Than Nuclear Would Require: At a Massive Cost

Renewable energy advocates have been trumpeting the findings of the Solar Pathways Analysis (SPA) that claims solar power can not only meet 70 percent of Minnesota's energy demand, but it can also do it affordably. However, this type of thinking requires a gold medal in mental gymnastics. It's time to throw some serious shade at the SPA for being a shoddy work of scholarship. For the purposes of this article, it's helpful to understand that a gigawatt (GW) is the equivalent of 1,000 megawatts (MW) and 1,000,000 kilowatts (kw). First off, the SPA says we can achieve a grid powered by 70 percent...

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Anti-Mining Group Is Wrong About Minnesota’s Mineral Wealth

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) recently wrote an editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune arguing Minnesota’s titanium, copper, nickel and platinum deposits are low-grade and economically risky to develop. If these resources were truly valuable, so they argued, the deposits would have been developed decades ago. However, this argument could not be more wrong....

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