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Despite More Turbines, Minnesota Wind Production in 2019 Was Still Below 2017 Levels

If you build them, the wind won't necessarily come. I've recently reported that wind facilities in Minnesota produced less electricity in 2018 than 2017, and newly-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows electricity generation from Minnesota wind facilities was about one percent less in 2019 than 2017, although 2019 saw more generation from wind turbines than 2018. The decline, relative to 2017 generation, occurred despite the fact that there are about 3.6 percent more wind generation capacity installed in Minnesota today (3,843 megawatts) than there were at the end of 2017 (3,699 megawatts), according to the U.S. Department of Energy's...

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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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The One Billion Dollar Solar Failure in Nevada

A solar thermal plant in Nevada is the latest in the long list of Obama administration energy failures. The Crescent Dunes solar facility remains on the hook to repay $737 million in loan guarantees from the federal government, according to Bloomberg. Unlike solar facilities in Minnesota, which use photovoltaic (PV) panels to turn sunlight into electricity, the Crescent Dunes plant used an array of mirrors to heat a tank filled with molten salt that would then heat water to generate steam and electricity. The difference between solar pv and thermal solar plants like Crescent Dunes is important because PV panels have...

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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 net metering. At its 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 "pay...

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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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American Experiment Submits 27 Pages of Comments Opposing the California Car Mandates

Last Friday, Center of the American Experiment submitted comments opposing Governor Walz's attempt to force Minnesota to comply with California's Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) and Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) car mandates. The comments, which span 27 pages, highlight several reasons why the California mandates are bad news for Minnesota....

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Cows in the Crosshairs: Environmental Groups Take Aim at Minnesota Farmers

After "farting cows" were identified as a climate risk to the planet in a document released by the office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez addressing frequently asked questions about the Green New Deal, many people in Minnesota were quick to dismiss the idea that the state would begin to regulate farms based on their greenhouse gas emissions. However, it turns out that that is exactly what some Minnesota environmental groups want the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to do. The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), a known anti-mining group and recipient of $530,000 from the McKnight Foundation in 2018, sued...

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Renewables Threaten German Economy & Energy Supply, McKinsey Warns In New Report

Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan and other lawmakers recently traveled to Germany to supposedly learn about Germany's "Energy Transition," and bring home useful lessons that can be gleaned for Minnesota's energy future. From what I can tell, they group didn't get their money's worth, because almost all of the media covering Germany's attempt to close their nuclear plants and rely on wind and solar are saying that the policy is a disaster. It's not just people who work at think tanks, either. In fact, consulting giant Wood McKinsey wrote that Germany's energy policy poses a signficatn threat to the nation's economy and energy...

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Fresh Energy Is Still Intentionally Misleading Minnesotans on Energy Issues: A Series

Earlier this summer Mitch Rolling and I wrote a multi-part series explaining how Fresh Energy's characterization of energy issues in Minnesota is intentionally misleading Minnesotans. This page serves as a table of contents for ease of use, and it will be updated as we expand the series into the future....

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11 Ways Minnesota Families Are Subsidizing Solar

There is a pervasive fiction that solar is somehow lower cost than other sources of electricity and that this form of energy is competing on a level playing field with sources like coal, nuclear, and natural gas. This notion is a complete fairy tale. Unfortunately, there are a host of renewable energy advocacy groups, some of them who pretend to be conservative, who further this notion and even contend that wind and solar are somehow at a disadvantage relative to more reliable forms of energy due to government intervention. Nothing could be further than the truth. Solar and wind have all...

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