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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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Farms Use Boatloads of Energy

The article below is from the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Today in Energy series. It was published in October of 2014, but it reinforces the points I made earlier this week about how higher gas taxes will disproportionately hurt rural Minnesotans. The second graph in this post is especially interesting because it shows that diesel fuel, is the largest energy source used in agriculture because it works. Admittedly, I am not certain if the proposed fuel-tax increase would increase the taxes for off-road diesel, but this is something agriculture interest should pay close attention to. If raising the gas tax is needed for...

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Nuclear Is Less Costly Than You Think

The following article originally appeared in the Financial Times: Does it make any sense to build nuclear plants in Britain? Not obviously, unless you are an atomic evangelist. In recent months, half the participants in the country’s once-vaunted “nuclear renaissance” have packed their bags and departed. First Toshiba and then Hitachi dropped reactor projects, each citing their inability to get finance on terms that would deliver power to consumers at acceptable cost. Critics point to the widening gap between the strike prices demanded by nuclear and renewable investors, highlighting the new low of £57.50 per megawatt hour for two UK offshore wind...

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Gas Tax Issue Illustrates Rural, Urban Divide

The Star Tribune recently ran an opinion piece by James Lenfestey, who advocated for an increase in the gas tax to finance infrastructure improvements and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but cautioned lawmakers to keep rural Minnesotans in mind when crafting this policy. While it is admirable that the author wants to be sensitive to the needs of rural Minnesotans, the editorial further illustrates how people living in the metro area have scant idea how the policies they advocate harm those living outside of it....

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Bitter Cold Shows Reliable Energy Sources Are Critical

The Star Tribune has published an opinion piece I wrote on how Minnesota's bitter cold should be a wake-up call for energy policy in our state. Instead of mandating the use of wind and solar, which generated just 24 percent of its installed capacity, and provided just four percent of MISO's electricity, we must maintain and keep reliable electricity sources like coal, nuclear, and natural gas plants running. You can read the article by clicking here....

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Wind Power Engineering and Development: Why Wind-Turbine Gearboxes Fail to Hit the 20-year Mark

The short, 20-year lifespan of wind turbines is one of the most important, but least talked about facets, aspects of energy policy. American Experiment has written about this topic several times, but as I was researching further I found this interesting article from Wind Power Engineering and Development which states wind turbine gearboxes fail to reach even this milestone. As utility-scale wind turbines have developed from the kilowatt-class to the multi-megawatt machines installed today, the components inside a nacelle have also evolved to keep up with new power demands. Drivetrains, in particular, have had to change significantly to meet stronger, more variable wind loads...

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Should Minnesota Require Rooftop Wind?

California has mandated rooftop solar units be placed on every new home built in the Golden State. Given Minnesota winters aren't as conducive to rooftop solar as sunny California, should Governor Walz push for similar measures in Minnesota, only requiring rooftop wind turbines for new and existing homes? The short answer, obviously, is no. I've posted an article from engineering.com to demonstrate just how terrible such a mandate would be....

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Peter Foster: Another Report Reluctantly Admits that ‘Green’ Energy is a Disastrous Flop

Despite being the beneficiaries of billions of dollars in subsidies, wind and solar compose just a tiny fraction of overall energy use in the United States. The pie chart below is from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and it shows that oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power provide far more of our energy than wind and solar, which together account for about 3 percent of our total energy consumption....

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