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Coronavirus-Induced Shortage of Solar Panel Components Highlights China’s Major Role in Solar Supply Chain

Last week, the Star Tribune ran a story about how the Coronavirus has disrupted the global solar panel supply chain, potentially causing the delay of two large solar installations in Wisconsin. The supply-chain interruptions have occurred because of factory shutdowns and travel restrictions in China, highlighting the major role that China has plays in the solar supply chain. According to the article: "Asia, and particularly China, is the globe’s primary supplier of solar cells and panels, and is also a major source of inverters and racking system components. Racks hold solar panels in place; inverters convert panels’ DC current into AC. Also, about...

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You’re Getting Black Friday Deals Everyday on Oil and Natural Gas Thanks to Fracking

Many people will be heading to the mall today or scouring online to score sweet deals on the latest goods and services as part of the annual Black Friday tradition, but one thing people probably don't realize is that they have been getting Black-Friday quality deals on oil and natural gas for the last several years thanks to hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking," This technology revolutionized the energy industry and transformed the United States of America into the single-largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world seemingly overnight. Using fracking to produce oil and natural gas has caused...

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Clueless Minneapolis City Leaders and Sam Rockwell Are the Problem, Not Natural Gas Use

Elected officials and planners in the city of Minneapolis are lamenting the fact that carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas increased in 2018, and that the city is not on track to meet it's 2050 CO2 emissions targets, according to an article in the Star Tribune. Sam Rockwell, who is the president of the Minneapolis Planning Commission, also wrote to the Strib that natural gas use must be slashed, and encouraged Minneapolis to follow the lead of Berkeley California, and ban the use of natural gas in new construction. However, it is the unrealistic, expensive, and ultimately heartless carbon dioxide emissions...

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Low-Cost Natural Gas Saves Thousands of Lives By Lowering Heating Bills

Natural gas is a powerful resources that is saving thousands of lives every single year. That's the conclusion of a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research entitled "Inexpensive Heating Reduces Winter Mortality" The abstract of the paper states: This paper examines how the price of home heating affects mortality in the US. Exposure to cold is one reason that mortality peaks in winter, and a higher heating price increases exposure to cold by reducing heating use. It also raises energy bills, which could affect health by decreasing other health-promoting spending. Our empirical approach combines spatial variation in the...

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Xcel Energy CEO Made $26.2 Million in 2018 As Your Electric Bill Reached a New All-Time High

The Star Tribune recently ran a piece announcing that Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke was the third-highest paid CEO in Minnesota in 2018 with a total pay of $26.2 million for the year. This wouldn't necessarily be outrageous compensation if Xcel Energy were a private company competing for your businesses in a free market, but the fact that Xcel customers are literally forced by the government to buy their electricity from the  government-approved monopoly makes this level of compensation unconscionable. Why does the Xcel CEO get paid so much? According to the Star Tribune: "Fowke’s annual bonus is based on five factors: employee...

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Doubling Down on Failure Installment Two: Generation, Utility Profits, Property Taxes, and Transmission

This article is the second installment explaining the findings of our new study entitled Doubling Down on Failure, How a 50 percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion.   Today, I’ll break down four main components that drive the cost of our energy system that we explored in our study. As you can see below, generation accounted for 59 percent of the total cost of electricity in the Renewable Scenario, utility profits constituted 22 percent, property taxes accounted for 11 percent, and transmission accounted for 8 percent of the total cost of electricity....

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