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The Browning of the Golden State

With the presumptive win of Joe Biden to the presidency, it make sense to what the future will look like for our country over the next four years. Unfortunately, when it comes to energy and environmental policy, it will probably look an awful lot like California. As a result, I thought it would be good for our readers to read "The Browning of the Golden State," which I have posted below. Despite claims that liberals "follow the science," they disregard basic physics, the most fundamental science, when they advocate for our world to be powered by wind, solar, and battery storage,...

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Smoke From California Wildfires Decreases Solar Generation in CAISO

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has published new data showing that smoke from wildfires in California have diminished electricity generation from the state's solar panels. According to the agency: In the first two weeks of September 2020, average solar-powered electricity generation in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which covers 90% of utility-scale solar capacity in California, declined nearly 30% from the July 2020 average as wildfires burned across the state. Wildfire smoke contains small, airborne particulate matter particles that are generally 2.5 micrometers or smaller (referred to as PM2.5). This matter reduces the amount of sunlight that reaches solar panels, decreasing solar-powered electricity generation....

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Millions of Californians Lose Electricity Due to Cloud Cover, Low Wind Speeds

Last weekend, two million Californians suffered through rolling blackouts during record-breaking heat because cloud cover reduced the amount of electricity generated from solar power, and low wind speeds resulted in little production from wind energy, according to California's regional grid operator, the California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO). If Minnesota does not change it's current course on energy policy, we will soon suffer the same fate. California has some of the most stringent renewable energy mandates in the country. Currently, California law requires requires that 50 percent of California's electricity to be powered by renewable resources by 2025 and 60 percent by...

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Anti-Mining Special Interest Groups Are Trying to Kill Coal To Stop Mining in Minnesota

Yesterday the Minneapolis Star Tribune featured an article discussing how Minnesota Power, an investor owned electric utility in northern Minnesota, was relieved that the state's iron ore mines were starting production back up after being idled due to low demand as a result of the pandemic. The families of 1,700 miners are also relieved the mines are reopening because the wages paid by Minnesota's iron mines are some of the highest in the state. But these jobs are at risk of leaving if it becomes too expensive to mine in Minnesota, and affordable electricity plays a big part in that equation. As...

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Jason Isaac: ERCOT’s Phantom Reserve Margins Spell Trouble for Summertime

Texas is often held up as an example by wind advocates of the free market choosing wind. These talking points may appear to be persuasive, but there are three main problems with this logic. Wind in Texas is still driven largely by federal subsidies. These subsidies allow wind turbine operators to make money even if the price of electricity is negative. Texas families and businesses were forced to pay $7 billion to build a transmission line from the windy panhandle to the populated areas of the state, amounting to another giant subsidy. Texas came very close to blackouts last summer,...

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Mexico Pulls the Plug on Wind and Solar

The country of Mexico is pulling the plug on wind and solar installations amidst fears of rising electricity prices and a growing recognition that these unreliable sources of power add little to no value to the grid due to their dependence on the weather. While wealthy countries like the United States have been harmed by rising electricity prices due to renewables, the high incomes earned by Americans relative to those living in other countries has allowed them to stomach the costs better than those living in middle-income countries, like Mexico. Even Mexico's ultra-liberal President recognizes the harm that wind and solar will...

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The Biggest Incentive for Solar in Minnesota

Did you know that the biggest subsidy for solar is hidden on your electric bill? While Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are trying to extend the federal solar subsidies, here in Minnesota, a policy called net metering serves as the biggest stealth subsidy that solar receives. The impact of this sizable subsidy was spelled out in a recent article in the Mankato Free Press, although I don't think the reporter realized this at the time. The piece begins with a feel-good story of an insurance company that put solar panels on their roof: "Thomas Rekstein no longer minds looking at the...

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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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