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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 Two: Generation, Utility Profits, Property Taxes, and Transmission

This article is the second 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.   Today, I’ll break down four main components that drive the cost of our energy system that we explored in our study. As you can see below, generation accounted for 59 percent of the total cost of electricity in the Renewable Scenario, utility profits constituted 22 percent, property taxes accounted for 11 percent, and transmission accounted for 8 percent of the total cost of electricity....

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How Much Would One Day’s Worth of Battery Storage Cost Minnesota Households? $820 per Year, for 20 Years

Last week I was on WCCO's program with Paul and Jordana, and we had a very spirited discussion. I'd highly encourage you to listen to the 12 minute interview if you have time. During the interview, I asked Paul what he planned to do when the wind wasn't blowing or sun wasn't shining, and he emphatically stated that batteries with large posteriors (he used other words, of course), would be up to the challenge of providing electricity when the weather did not cooperate with wind and solar generation, citing examples in Australia and California as evidence for his claim. For the sake...

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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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Helping the U of M Energy Transition Lab Understand Energy

A few weeks ago, I wrote an opinion editorial to the Star Tribune about how the Polar Vortex reemphasized the need for reliable forms of electricity in our state. My article was the most widely read opinion piece on the Strib’s website for two days, which prompted three employees of the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab (ETL) to write a reply. Their reply claimed I used confusing statistics to misrepresent the role renewables play in our system, but I contest that the statistics I used should not be confusing, especially for members the university's Energy Transition Lab. So, to clear...

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American Experiment Testifies on Bill to Increase Renewable Energy Mandate

On Tuesday, I was in St. Paul to testify on House File 700, which would increase Minnesota's renewable energy mandate to 55 percent renewable by 2030, and 80 percent renewable by 2035. I was one of three testifiers who told the committee that this bill is a bad idea. You can watch my brief, two minute testimony below. American Experiment will soon release a report on the economic and environmental impacts of doubling Minnesota's current renewable energy mandate to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. I share some of the top-line findings of the study with the committee, and although it...

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Xcel Energy Property Taxes Soar 131.6 Percent Since Minnesota Began Mandating Renewable Energy – Ratepayers are Stuck with the Bill

We at American Experiment often write about how wind and solar energy cause nearly every aspect of the energy grid to be more expensive, but one aspect of this story we have not yet covered is the role wind and solar play on increasing property taxes. Property taxes constitute approximately 6 percent of your electric bill, as utility companies are allowed to pass these expenses directly on to their consumers. As property taxes rise, so does the amount you pay for electricity each month. As renewable energy sources increase on the grid, so do the property tax expenses that ratepayers are stuck...

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Could You Power Your Home With A Bike? Not Even Close

I have a bike trainer in my basement, which is basically a machine that allows you to turn your bike into an exercise bike. As I was riding it the other night, I wondered how much electricity I could potentially generate if I hooked up my bike to a generator and battery, and how much money I would save on my electric bill, so I Googled it. Turns out, you can't save any. The article below is a story that ran in NPR, and it details how woefully unable we are to generate meaningful quantities of electricity with our legs, and how...

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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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