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Center of the American Experiment Testifies on the Minnesota Senate’s Clean Energy First Bill in Rochester

Last night, I drove down to Rochester to testify at a hearing on the Minnesota Senate's Clean Energy First bill. As you will see in my testimony, this proposed legislation offers several significant improvements over previous legislation introduced to shape Minnesota's energy future, such as those proposed last session by Governor Walz and the Minnesota House of Representatives. However, there are still a few problematic parts of this legislation that I address later on in my comments. My testimony begins at 1:31:29 and I've pasted my comments below with additional links to provide references for my testimony. https://www.facebook.com/mnsrc/videos/477619166520895/   January 15, 2020 Testimony Clean Energy...

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Spare the Electric Space Heater (and Turn Up the Gas) to Save Money and Keep Warm this Winter

This article was written by me and originally appeared in the Monticello Times: Winter has come, and that means college students will be looking for ways to keep warm without breaking the bank. A common way students seek to do this is by using electric space heaters, but in general, using space heaters is more expensive than turning up the thermostat on your natural-gas powered furnace. Space heaters can be more affordable than gas if they are only being used in one or two small rooms while the rest of the house is cool, but beyond that they are much more expensive to...

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Problems with Metro Transit Electric Buses Show the Technology Isn’t Ready for Primetime

Last week the Star Tribune ran an article entitled "Metro Transit Temporarily Pulls Electric Buses from C Line Because of Problems with Chargers," stating the eight electric buses on the newly-formed C Line would be taken out of service until defects with the charging mechanisms could be fixed. Diesel-powered buses will continue service on the line. According to the article: "The 60-foot electric buses, manufactured by New Flyer of America in St. Cloud, were supposed to charge overnight and then stop for a quick 12-minute charge at the Brooklyn Center Transit Center while in operation. But issues surfaced with the electric fleet’s...

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Problems with Metro Transit Electric Buses Show the Technology Isn’t Ready for Primetime

Last week the Star Tribune ran an article entitled "Metro Transit Temporarily Pulls Electric Buses from C Line Because of Problems with Chargers," stating the eight electric buses on the newly-formed C Line would be taken out of service until defects with the charging mechanisms could be fixed. Diesel-powered buses will continue service on the line. According to the article: "The 60-foot electric buses, manufactured by New Flyer of America in St. Cloud, were supposed to charge overnight and then stop for a quick 12-minute charge at the Brooklyn Center Transit Center while in operation. But issues surfaced with the electric fleet’s...

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Three Must-Know Facts About Governor Walz’s Plan to Impose California Car Mandates on Minnesota

On Wednesday, Governor Walz announced that he would be using the bureaucratic rule making process to impose California’s rules for low and zero emissions vehicles (LEV and ZEV) on to Minnesota car buyers. While the Governor has tried to frame this as a win for consumer choice, Minnesota families, and the environment, the facts suggest that the Governor's proposed regulations are solution in search of a problem. Three facts you need to know about this proposal are: This is not about expanding consumer choice. It will mandate the sale of smaller, lighter cars that are not as safe as bigger, heavier...

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Should EV Charging Stations Be Regulated as Utilities? Kentucky Joins Majority to Say ‘No,’ Minnesota Should Too

Last week, Kentucky regulators ruled that electric vehicle charging stations were not considered utilities under state law, according to Utility Dive. In doing so, Kentucky joins Iowa, Vermont and California in determining that chargers do not provide a public service in the same way that other electric services do. This makes sense, because owning an electric car is a luxury item. The graph below from the Energy Information Administration shows most electric car owners make more than $100,000. Not surprisingly, most of the household that own electric cars also have a regular car. Therefore, the argument that electric car chargers are a vital public...

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How Well Do Electric Vehicles Perform in Our Extreme Weather?

The practicality of electric vehicles is an important issue, especially in a Northern climate. It is well known that cold temperatures impact battery performance, and batteries are the Achilles heel of electric vehicles. The Minneapolis Star Tribune explains some of the problems. Cold weather degrades the performance of electric vehicles, in part because energy must be diverted to warm the interior of the car. The Strip cites a AAA study that found that even relatively moderate cold (by Minnesota standards) has a severe effect on battery performance: A recent study by AAA found that electric vehicle owners can expect their driving range...

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Electric Car Subsidies Hurt Middle Class Americans to Benefit the Wealthy

The House DFL has rolled their already large energy omnibus bill into an even larger jobs omnibus bill, which still includes a $2,500 rebate for Minnesotans who purchase electric vehicles. In effect, this policy would act as a wealth transfer from low and middle income families of all backgrounds to predominantly wealthy white liberals. The following article does a great job of explaining why this system is unfair, and unpopular. How's that for just, inclusive, and equitable? ...

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Wisconsin Consumer Protection Group Say Focus on Electric Bills Instead of Rates Obscures High Cost of Electricity: What Can Minnesota Learn?

The Wisconsin Citizens Utility Board, which protects families and small businesses from increasing electricity prices, said the focus on bills instead of prices obscure the fact that the state has the highest electricity prices in the Midwest. Unfortunately, renewable energy advocates in Minnesota use the same sleight of hand to try and persuade the general public that the state's $15 billion dollar investment in unreliable wind power has not caused electricity prices to skyrocket. This is simply is not true....

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