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The Bad: Senate’s Clean Energy First Bill Would Probably Be A Blank Check to Xcel Energy

Yesterday, I wrote about The Good aspects of the Minnesota State Senate's Clean Energy First bill. Today I'll talk about The Bad aspects, and tomorrow I'll suggest ways to amend the legislation to make sure Minnesota families and businesses are not paying higher costs as a result of the bill. The Bad As a result of legalizing new nuclear, large hydro, and carbon capture and sequestration technology, the Clean Energy First bill could reduce more emissions for less cost than wind, solar, and battery storage. While this sounds great in theory, the legislation also contains problematic provisions that will essentially be a blank...

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The Good: Senate’s Clean Energy First Bill Could Reduce More Emissions at Lower Cost than Walz/House Proposals

I recently posted my testimony from Rochester on the Clean Energy First (CEF) bill currently circulating around the Minnesota State Senate. Today, I'll elaborate on the good parts of the Senate's Clean Energy First Bill, tomorrow, I'll talk about the bad parts, and Wednesday, I'll propose some amendments that would improve the bill. The Good The most important improvements offered in this bill, compared to the version put forward last session by Governor Walz and the Minnesota House of Representatives, is the classification of large hydroelectric dams as a “renewable” or “carbon free” resource, the bill legalizes new nuclear power plants, and...

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Despite Massive Wind and Solar Spending, Minnesota Carbon Dioxide Emissions Essentially Flat Since 2012

When lawmakers like Governor Tim Walz and members of the Minnesota House of Representatives call for massively increasing the amount of wind and solar on the grid, they often do so because they claim climate change is an "existential crisis." If these lawmakers truly believe this talking point, though, they wouldn't be advocating for building more wind and solar. This is because Minnesota has seen virtually no decline in annual CO2 emissions since 2012, despite the fact that we have seen wind and solar capacity increase by 50 percent during this time frame, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. The...

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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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Clear Energy Alliance: Riot Fuel

Liberals often talk about their desire to impose carbon taxes on fossil fuels in order to make it more expensive to use them, but enacting taxes on energy has harmful impacts on consumers, particularly those who have less income to spare. As a result, carbon taxes are among the most regressive taxes imaginable, and making energy artificially more expensive has sparked riots across the world. The video below explains how governments in Iran, Chile, and France sparked riots by imposing policies that make energy more expensive. Renewable energy special interest groups often talk about the environmental costs of using coal and...

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Video: The Year 2019 on ElectricityMap [Europe]

You can talk to people about the weather-driven variation in electricity output from wind and solar power until you're blue in the face, but it will never be as effective as showing them, in real time, what sources of electricity generation are currently keeping the lights on. This is where ElectricityMap becomes an indispensable tool. If you're interested in energy issues, you must download this app on your phone. The reason this app is such a great tool is that it shows how "green" the electricity is in areas throughout the world, as measured by the amount of carbon dioxide produced...

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Net Metering: How People With Solar Panels Are Picking Your Pocket

Did you know that people with solar panels on their roofs are picking your pocket in more ways than one? Federal subsidies for solar have been increasing your tax liability for years, but people with solar panels are also picking your pocket through a lesser-known policy called as net metering. At it's core, net metering pays people with solar panels more for their electricity than it is worth. This is accomplished by paying people with solar panels the retail rate for their power, rather than the wholesale rate. In fact, this is the only reason that solar panels are able to...

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How the Renewable Energy Grinch Stole Your Christmas Budget

Christmas is a time where friends and families come together to appreciate each other during the holidays. However, Christmas can also be a stressful period of time, especially for parents, because of the impact holiday spending has on their finances. Unfortunately, this financial stress has been exacerbated by Minnesota’s mandates for renewable energy which have driven up the cost of electricity. Minnesota families used to have electricity prices that were nearly 20 percent below the national average, but this changed dramatically beginning in 2005 when Xcel Energy was first required to add renewables to their system. The trend became even more...

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Grid Operator Study Shows Complexity of Integrating Renewables Increases Exponentially After 30 Percent

The grid operator for the region including Minnesota, the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO), recently released it's study examining the complexity of integrating renewable energy onto the grid. The findings show that it becomes exponentially more difficult to integrate renewable energy into the regional grid as the amount of renewable energy increases beyond 30 percent, as you can see in the graph below. This is important, because it clearly shows that the challenges of integrating intermittent renewable energy sources like wind are not, in fact, overblown, as the Star Tribune editorial board argued earlier this year. In reality, these challenges have...

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Production at Nobles Wind Facility Continues to Plummet

Earlier this year, I wrote about how the Nobles Wind project, which is the third-largest wind facility in Minnesota, is already losing steam. The most recent data from the Energy Information Administration (which runs through September) show that 2019 hasn't been kind to the project, either. Thus far, the Nobles wind project has a capacity factor of just 33.9, which is far below where it has been in previous years, according to the table below. In fact, the capacity factor (a measure of productivity) of this wind facility is about 10 percent lower this year compared to 2014. This has important implications...

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