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It’s Negative 24 Degrees and the Wind Isn’t Blowing. This is Why We Need Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power, Not Renewables

Good morning, everyone! I hope you're staying warm. If you are, it's because of natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear power, or even wood, because the wind isn't blowing right now. The screenshot below is from Electricity Map. It's a fun app that tells you how your electricity is being generated at any given moment in time.  Turns out wind is  producing only four percent of electricity in the MISO region, of which Minnesota is a part. While that's not good, what's worse is wind is only utilizing 24 percent of it's installed capacity, and who knows how this will fluctuate throughout the course of the...

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Germany is Largest Buyer of Russian Natural Gas

Yesterday I wrote about how Germany gets about 37 percent of its electricity from beautiful, clean coal, but it also generates a significant portion of its electricity with natural gas. Whereas the United States has used hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking,"  to turn the U.S. into the largest producer of natural gas in the world, Germany has banned fracking within its borders, and as a result, it instead purchases its natural gas from friendly Uncle Vlad. In fact, Germany is the single-largest consumer of Russian gas, Russia’s natural gas exports to Germany increased 12.2 percent in the first half of 2018, compared...

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EIA Data: Wind Replaced Natural Gas, Not Coal in 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released its electricity data for Minnesota in 2017, and boy, were there some interesting findings. One of those interesting findings is that contrary to the popular narrative that by building wind turbines, we will make Minnesota less dependent upon coal-burning power plants. The graph below shows the annualized capacity factor for each generation source in 2017. I've used this graph in recent blog posts but this merits its own 15 minutes of fame in this post. The capacity factor for coal was 61 percent, much larger than the capacity factor for wind at 35.9 percent,...

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Peter Foster: Another Report Reluctantly Admits that ‘Green’ Energy is a Disastrous Flop

Despite being the beneficiaries of billions of dollars in subsidies, wind and solar compose just a tiny fraction of overall energy use in the United States. The pie chart below is from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and it shows that oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power provide far more of our energy than wind and solar, which together account for about 3 percent of our total energy consumption....

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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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Higher Than Expected Natural Gas Prices Highlight Importance of Coal-Fired Power Plants

Generating electricity with natural gas is far more expensive than generating electricity with coal at current gas prices. In fact, natural gas prices must remain below $2.92/mmbtu at a combined cycle natural gas plant, and below $2.24 at combustion turbine plants for consumers to save money on fuel costs relative to coal....

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Utility Dive Names Xcel Energy “Utility of the Year.” We’re Less Impressed

Utility Dive, a website that covers the ongoings of the electric utility industry, has named Xcel Energy the Utility of the Year for 2018, commending the company for retiring coal-fired power plants and investing billions in future wind, solar, and natural gas installations. As for us, we don't think Xcel should be applauded for pursuing policies that result in higher profits for Xcel shareholders at the expense of the families and businesses who have no choice but to buy their electricity from the monopoly utility. ...

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Revenge of the Diesel Class: Yellow Vest Protests Continue to Rage in France Over Climate Taxes

Thousands of Yellow Vest protesters in France continue to protest over the climate taxes imposed by French President Emmanuel Macron that will initially lead to a 30 cent increase in diesel prices, with the tax increasing over time. The New York Times described the protests as "shaking French politics to the core." The Yellow Vests are not young college students or far-right activists, they are the working class inhabitants of rural France that have been forgotten by the leaders in urban areas. NPR reports: "Among its ranks are retirees and the unemployed, farmers, housewives and people who have never protested before," NPR's Eleanor...

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