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Sad News: Closure Dates Announced for Boswell Power Plant

Earlier this week, Minnesota Power announced the utility would be "coal-free" by 2035 by shutting down Unit 3 of the Boswell Energy Center in 2030 and converting Unit 4 to another fuel that is not yet specified in 2035. As we detailed in our Spring 2020 issue of Thinking Minnesota, Boswell is the backbone of the Iron Range economy. It provides the electricity needed for Minnesota's iron mines and paper mills to run smoothly. It would presumably be the source of electricity for the PolyMet mine should it ever emerge from legal purgatory. In my opinion, the national security implications of losing these...

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Germany’s Energy Disaster 20 Years Later

When it comes to energy policy, legislators in Minnesota often cite Germany as an example of a shining star on a hill. This fondness for Germany probably stems from the taxpayer-funded trips that lawmakers take to experience the German Energiewende, or "Energy Transition." The ironic thing about their love affair with Germany is that the country's experiment with wind and solar power has been a total disaster, resulting in skyrocketing electricity prices and a failure to produce an electric grid that emits less carbon dioxide than the United States. You don't have to take my word for it, either. Vaclav Smil, a world-renowned...

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China Announces Bogus Climate Target, The Left Swoons. Rinse Repeat.

Liberal environmentalists are swooning over the fact that China has recently announced that it will be "climate neutral" by 2060. State Representative Jamie Long (DFL) who authored a bill that would require Minnesota to get 100 percent of its electricity from wind, solar, and battery storage by 2050 said China's announcement meant the U.S. was out of excuses and needs to act now. [embed]https://twitter.com/Jamiemlong/status/1308768044148088833?s=20[/embed] Michael Noble, who is the Exective Director at Fresh Energy called it a BFD (Google it). [embed]https://twitter.com/NobleIdeas/status/1308567447780364288?s=20[/embed] However, if liberal wind and solar advocates believe China will actually be carbon neutral by 2060, I've got a whole slew of bridges...

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How Long Can You Power a Light Bulb With Two Pounds of Fuel?

One of the most important concepts in energy policy is understanding energy density, or how much energy can be extracted from a certain quantity of fuel. Solar and wind power are the least energy dense sources of power. They require huge amounts of land to produce small amounts of energy. Wood, or biomass, is more dense than wind or solar, coal is more energy dense than wood, oil is more energy dense than coal, and uranium puts all of these other sources to shame. This is why wind and solar are the energy past, fossil fuels are the energy present, and...

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A Conservative Vision for Energy Policy in Minnesota

Last week, Ben Gerber, who is a board member for the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum (MNCEF) took to the pages of The Minnesota Reformer, which is likely the most progressive outlet in the state, in an attempt to defend his positions on energy policy. In his article, which I encourage you to read, Mr. Gerber argues that MNCEF, and not Center of the American Experiment, is the group that opposes heavy-handed government solutions. But this claim is incorrect, as I spell out in my reply below. I am told the piece may be run on the Reformer's website at some date in...

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Debunking the Minnesota “Conservative” Energy Forum’s Talking Points: Renewables Don’t Strengthen Our National Security, They Weaken It

Most of the conservatives I know strongly believe in limited a government that is primarily focused on enforcing contracts and maintaining law and order. As a result, many conservatives care deeply about having a strong national security to protect the United States from potential threats. National security is often thought of in terms of military might. In this regard, the United States is unparalleled. However, energy is also an indispensable ingredient to keeping America safe, but unfortunately, the Minnesota "Conservative" Energy Forum's advocacy for more wind and solar power doesn't strengthen America's national security, it weakens it. This article is the fourth in...

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Debunking the Minnesota “Conservative” Energy Forum’s “Cleaner and Cheaper” Talking Points: How Clean Are Renewables, Really?

Last week we discussed why the Minnesota "Conservative" Energy Forum's (MNCEF) claim that wind and solar are "cleaner and cheaper" than traditional energy resources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear power is a fraudulent talking point from an economic perspective. Today, we'll examine why wind and solar aren't the environmentally consequence-free energy sources they're often touted as, and discuss better ways to take care of Minnesota's environment for future generations. This article is the third in a series explaining how the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum is intentionally misleading Minnesota conservatives on energy issues. Everything Has An Impact on the Environment, Even Wind...

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Why the Minnesota “Conservative” Energy Forum’s “Cleaner and Cheaper” Slogan is a Fraudulent Talking Point

Yesterday, I wrote about how the Minnesota "Conservative" Energy Forum received nearly 86 percent its funding from the liberal Energy Foundation in 2017, the most recent year for which data are available. While this should raise big red flags for Minnesota conservatives, the policies that MNCEF advocates for are ultimately far more important than where they get their funding. Unfortunately, MNCEF uses this money to try and convince conservative Minnesotans that renewable energy sources like wind and solar are "cleaner and cheaper" than traditional energy sources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear power, even though wind and solar are far more...

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Minnesota Quitting Coal 9 Percent Slower Than The National Average, Despite Electricity Prices Rising 30 Percent Faster

Many Minnesotans like to believe that Minnesota is a "green" state. However, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that Minnesota has reduced its's coal consumption by a slower rate than the nation as a whole from 2001 to 2018. Despite reducing it's coal consumption by a smaller margin than the national average, Minnesota has seen it's electricity prices increase 30 percent faster than the national average. In essence, Minnesota's energy policy has been a massively-expensive failure, and proposals to shut down the remainder of the state's coal plants and replace them with a combination of wind, solar, and natural...

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