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Otter Tail Power Will Build 50 Megawatts of Solar, But Its Electricity Will Come from Coal and Gas in the Dakotas

Otter Tail Power Company (OTP), the smallest electric utility in the state of Minnesota, will build 50 megawatts of solar near their soon-to-be retired Hoot Lake coal facility. The Fergus Falls Journal reports the facility will include around 170,000 solar panels and generate enough electricity to power about 10,000 homes each year, but by my calculations, based on federal data on electricity usage and factoring in Minnesota's unproductive solar panels, the number would be closer to 6,750 OTP customers. Either way, it doesn't really matter, because the vast majority of OTP's power will be shipped in from coal and natural gas...

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MPUC Continues to Address Utility System Reliability: Gas System Shortcomings Addressed, Electric Generation Issues Receive Scant Attention

The Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) represents electric utilities that are owned and operated by municipal governments throughout the state of Minnesota. The association publishes a monthly newsletter, and one article highlighting the serious reliability issues presented by last winter's polar vortex was very interesting. I have reproduced the article below and added additional commentary to supplement some of the points made. Minnesota’s electric and natural gas utility systems were stressed last winter, failures occurred, and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) has addressed the issue several times since then, including Oct. 10. The latest meeting revolved around the Xcel Energy gas...

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Our Perspective: Minnesota’s Days of Cheaper Electricity Seem Numbered

This weekend, Mike Hughlett of the Star Tribune wrote an excellent article entitled "Minnesota's Days of Cheaper Electricity Seem Numbered," which details how Minnesota electricity prices have increased substantially in the last 15 years. The piece is an important acknowledgement that the energy policies pursued in Minnesota are causing electricity costs to rise, an argument Center of the American Experiment has been making since late 2017. I have included portions of the article below and added additional  commentary to provide more context to help readers understand the topic in a more comprehensive manner. The article begins below: "Hefty rate hikes that Minnesota’s...

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