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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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Senator Rarick Cites American Experiment’s Mining Research in the Mitchell Hamline Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice

We're delighted to report that Senator Jason Rarick (R) cited American Experiment's research on copper nickel mining in Minnesota in his piece to the Mitchell Hamline School of Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice.  You can read the piece below. The future of mining on the Iron Range has taken a couple of hits in the last month. At the end of December, at the behest of Ramsey County Congresswoman Betty McCollum and environmental activists, a federal spending bill gave the State Department 60 days for another review of the potential effects of Twin Metals’ proposed copper-nickel mine in the Boundary...

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Minnesota Ranked as 4th Biggest Mining State in 2019

Many people in the Twin Cities are vaguely aware of the fact that Minnesota mines iron ore, but few understand the scale or importance of mining to the communities who develop our iron ore resources, or the important implications it has for our country. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Minerals Commodities Survey, Minnesota leapfrogged California to become the 4th largest mining state in the country, based on the value of minerals sold. The primary minerals mined were iron ore, lime, sand and gravel (construction), sand and gravel, (industrial), and crushed stone. Minnesota improved one spot in the ranks compared...

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Federal Data Confirms Minnesota Solar Panels Don’t Work Well in Winter

Recently-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirms what many of us already knew, that solar panels don't work well in our Minnesota winters. The data is interesting because this is the first time EIA has shown the productivity (or capacity factor) of solar panels on a monthly basis, as you can see in the graph below. While solar panels generated nearly 30 percent of their potential output in July of 2018, electricity generation from Minnesota's solar fleet dropped to 5.6 percent by December. There are multiple reasons for this. One, the days get a lot shorter in the winter...

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Can Mining in Minnesota Reduce Child Labor in the Congo?

Cobalt has become a controversial topic in the debate over copper nickel mining in Minnesota’s Duluth Complex. This metal, which is used in the lithium ion batteries in laptops, tablets, and electric cars, has become a lighting rod because most of the cobalt produced in the world comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where some of the cobalt is mined using child labor. Virtually everyone has a cellphone, laptop, or tablet that has a battery requiring cobalt. This has led many people to ask the question, can mining in Minnesota reduce the demand for unethically mined cobalt in...

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Pollution Control Agency Steps in It on Cow Emissions, Shows They Have No Business Regulating Greenhouse Gases On the Agriculture Industry

Last year, I wrote about how the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), a group that opposes mining and reliable natural gas and coal-fired power plants, sued the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) at the Minnesota Court of Appeals for not considering the impact that expanding a dairy operation would have on greenhouse gas emissions during the permitting process. Surprisingly, the Court of Appeals agreed with MCEA and sent the permit back to MPCA to determine  the greenhouse gas emissions that would be generated from expanding the farm. MPCA has now released its supplement to its Environmental Assessment Worksheet, and it contains...

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Federal Data Show Walz’s Line 3 Delay Has Been an Anti-Science Charade

On Monday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted in favor of three key approvals for the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project, a revised environmental review, a certificate of need, and a route permit by a three to one margin. Although this is very good news that should allow the replacement of the aging pipeline to begin this year, federal data from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) show the delay should have never happened in the first place. During the Gubernatorial campaign, Tim Walz expressed his support for replacing the aging Line 3 pipeline, which transports crude...

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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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Minnesota Court of Appeals Delays PolyMet Project

Yesterday the Minnesota Court of Appeals dealt a setback to the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota. In the ruling, the Court sent two crucial permits, the permit to mine and the dam safety permit, back to the Department of Natural Resources. The ruling also stated the agency must hold a contested case hearing, which would require an administrative law judge to examine additional evidence and testimony on the project. The ruling is bad news for the Northeastern Minnesota communities who are eager for the economic boost that would accompany more mining. The PolyMet mine would provide 360 high-paying jobs at...

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Minnesota Had More Wind and Solar in 2018 than Ever Before But CO2 Emissions Went Up

Minnesota had more wind turbines and solar panels in 2018 than in any year prior, but carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity generation sector increased compared to 2017 and 2016 levels, according to the most recent data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Share the news far and wide!...

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