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Lomborg: The Danger of Climate Doomsayers

It seems climate change activists are always advocating for policies whose costs will exceed the benefits. Minnesota is unique in that it is one of only a few states that have tried to quantify the amount of "damage" caused to society by emitting a ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. While I think there are strong arguments as to why the numbers used in Minnesota are unrealistically high, it is noteworthy that our report Doubling Down on Failure found that the cost of reducing one ton of carbon dioxide far outweighed the benefits of doing so, even using the numbers...

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No, Wind Capacity Factors Are Not 50 Percent in Minnesota, And That’s Very Important

Renewable energy advocates in Minnesota often claim that capacity factors for wind, the percentage of electricity generated by a power plant compared to its theoretical output, are sky high in Minnesota, exceeding the 50 percent threshold. Data from the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs show this claim is completely false. As you can see on the map below, there is not a single wind facility in Minnesota that operates above a 50 percent capacity factor.  The results don't get much better as we lower our standards, either. The U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the state-wide capacity factor for wind was only 35.9 percent in...

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Doubling Down on Failure Installment Four: Renewable Energy Fails Cost/Benefit Analysis Using Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Social Cost of Carbon

This article is the fourth installment explaining the findings of our new study entitled Doubling Down on Failure, How a 50 percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion. This installment explains how the cost of reducing carbon dioxide emissions under the Renewable, Short-Term Nuclear, and Long-Term Nuclear would exceed the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) established by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) scenario, is the only scenario that passes this cost-benefit analysis. This post is pretty in the weeds, so the main takeaway is that the costs of reducing our carbon dioxide emissions...

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Minnesota’s Third-Largest Wind Farm is Already Losing Steam: Output Falls 14 percent from 2014 Highs

According the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, wind turbines have operational lifetimes of 20 years, but it appears Xcel Energy's Nobles wind project, the third-largest wind farm in Minnesota, is losing steam after just eight. The graph below was produced using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration plant-level data. It shows the electricity generation of the Nobles wind project, which became operational in 2010, through 2018. You'll notice that electricity generation peaked in 2014, and that generation was about 14 percent lower in 2018, compared to the 2014 production levels. It is important to take note of this decline in electricity production...

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Doubling Down on Failure Installment 1: Comparing the Costs of Wind and Solar, Nuclear, and Coal

As you probably know by now, American Experiment has released a new study entitled Doubling Down on Failure, How a 50 percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion.   The study is more than 80 pages, including appendices and citations, so I will be breaking down the key findings in more manageable bites on the website. Today, I'll break down the four main energy scenarios we examined and why we chose them....

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Minnesotans Are Not Getting A Deal on Their Electricity Bills

Renewable energy advocates' fixation on bills relative to the national average rather than prices, is a disingenuous slight of hand that allows them to make it seem like Minnesotans are getting a deal on their electric bill, when in reality our bills are only lower than those of residents living in other states because we less electricity than the national average. In short, we're not getting a deal on our electricity. We're paying more for less....

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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 metal 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...

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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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Xcel Tries To Trick Customers Into Thinking They’re Being Treated

I'd say Happy Halloween, but the increasing cost of electricity is downright frightening. Minnesota's electricity prices have been skyrocketing, largely because our state has squandered $15 billion on wind turbines and the additional transmission lines needed to transport the electricity generated by far-away wind turbines to the metro area. While one could argue utility companies are simply responding to the mandates imposed upon them by legislators and regulators, I would vehemently disagree because  Xcel actively lobbies to skew the regulatory apparatus in their favor. In fact, in 2016 Xcel spent more money lobbying than every organization other than the Minnesota Chamber of...

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