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EIA: Extreme Cold in the Midwest Led to High Power Demand and Record Natural Gas Demand

Well, folks.  The results of the Energy Information Administration's autopsy of the January 2019 polar vortex are in and wind fared very poorly, mainly because wind plants were turned off because it was too cold for them to operate safely. The article below is from EIA's Today in Energy series. Extreme cold weather in the Midwest at the end of January led to high—but not record-setting—electricity load on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, the coldest day of the period, on the Midcontinent Independent System Operator(MISO) grid. However, consumption of natural gas, the main fuel used for heating in the region, reached estimated record levels on...

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The Green New Disaster is Coming Early to New York

New York has been anti-fossil fuel for many years, and it is finally starting to catch up with them. The following article originally appeared in the New York Post. New Yorkers experienced the headache caused by Gov. Cuomo’s crusade against natural gas last week, when a public hearing was held to discuss Con Edison’s January announcement that it would institute a moratorium on accepting new gas customers in Westchester County. The Empire State has stymied the construction of the necessary transmission infrastructure, so Con Ed is unable to keep up with demand. In addition to his decision to ban hydraulic fracturing in 2014...

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The Big Problem With Wind, Solar, and Batteries

The following article originally appeared in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. There have been many recent articles in The Daily Sentinel on Xcel's new Colorado Energy Plan related to climate change policy. In addition, the national news has been covering the Green New Deal being proposed by many politicians to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels in the next 10 years. It is ludicrous to think that we could live in a modern society without fossil fuels. Affordable fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil have brought more people out of poverty in the modern world than ever before. Nineteenth...

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Dear Bernie: Oil Fuels Your Beloved Scandinavian Spending Spree

With Bernie Sanders recently announcing he intends to seek the presidency, I thought it was a good time to share an article I wrote in January of 2016 which was originally published at Investor's Business Daily. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has often talked about his desire for the United States to emulate the socialist welfare states of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden by providing free college and health care and expanding Social Security. Sanders also wants to ban oil, natural gas, and coal production on lands owned by the federal government, and he has called for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, which has dramatically increased production of...

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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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It’s Negative 24 Degrees and the Wind Isn’t Blowing. This is Why We Need Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power, Not Renewables

Good morning, everyone! I hope you're staying warm. If you are, it's because of natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear power, or even wood, because the wind isn't blowing right now. The screenshot below is from Electricity Map. It's a fun app that tells you how your electricity is being generated at any given moment in time.  Turns out wind is  producing only four percent of electricity in the MISO region, of which Minnesota is a part. While that's not good, what's worse is wind is only utilizing 24 percent of it's installed capacity, and who knows how this will fluctuate throughout the course of the...

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Germany is Largest Buyer of Russian Natural Gas

Yesterday I wrote about how Germany gets about 37 percent of its electricity from beautiful, clean coal, but it also generates a significant portion of its electricity with natural gas. Whereas the United States has used hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking,"  to turn the U.S. into the largest producer of natural gas in the world, Germany has banned fracking within its borders, and as a result, it instead purchases its natural gas from friendly Uncle Vlad. In fact, Germany is the single-largest consumer of Russian gas, Russia’s natural gas exports to Germany increased 12.2 percent in the first half of 2018, compared...

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EIA Data: Wind Replaced Natural Gas, Not Coal in 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released its electricity data for Minnesota in 2017, and boy, were there some interesting findings. One of those interesting findings is that contrary to the popular narrative that by building wind turbines, we will make Minnesota less dependent upon coal-burning power plants. The graph below shows the annualized capacity factor for each generation source in 2017. I've used this graph in recent blog posts but this merits its own 15 minutes of fame in this post. The capacity factor for coal was 61 percent, much larger than the capacity factor for wind at 35.9 percent,...

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