fbpx

Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

Minnesota Can Handle the Cold Because of Fossil Fuel Power Plants

The article below was originally published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: We need to stop planning our electric system around wind turbines and solar panels, technologies that often fail to show up during extreme weather events, when we need them most. Texas is learning this lesson the hard way. More than 2.5 million people are experiencing rolling blackouts because an arctic blast has frozen a significant portion of the Lone Star State's natural gas infrastructure. Compounding the shortages is the fact that at one point during the blackouts, the Texas wind fleet (the largest in the nation) was producing just 2% of its...

Continue reading

Texas: Winter Weather, Iced Wind Turbines, and Rolling Blackouts

More than 2.5 million people in Texas are currently experiencing rolling blackouts as temperatures remain in the single digits in many parts of the state. The Lone Star state is currently short of electricity because half of the Texas wind fleet (the largest in the nation) is iced over and incapable of generating electricity. Additionally, the natural gas infrastructure Texas has become so reliant upon has also frozen up. Texas's experience highlights the perils of becoming overly reliant upon wind, solar and natural gas because these energy sources are not as reliable as coal or nuclear power during extreme weather conditions. Nuclear and...

Continue reading

California Blackouts: A Reality Check for Minnesota’s Wind and Solar Ambitions

The following article was written by Isaac Orr and originally appeared in the Faribault Daily News:  Millions of California families and businesses recently lost their electricity during a record-breaking heat wave. The blackouts occurred because of bad decisions by California politicians to shut down many of the state’s reliable nuclear, natural gas, and coal-fired power plants, resulting in an overdependence on unreliable energy sources like wind and solar. As a result, the state was unable to generate enough electricity to meet demand when it was needed most. California’s rolling blackouts should be a reality check for the Minnesota lawmakers, utility executives, and...

Continue reading

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...

Continue reading

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...

Continue reading

Mix One Part Green New Deal With One Part Polar Vortex

A deadly cold front recently swept through the Midwest, but thanks to nuclear energy, coal and natural gas, things did not turn out as badly as they could have. Most people stayed warm and safe because they trusted affordable, reliable and secure domestic energy sources that have served us for decades. The system that provides electricity and heat for millions could change drastically under the proposed Green New Deal. Proponents propose to completely abandon the sources of energy that protected millions of lives recently, telling us that “the world will end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” From there, they springboard to...

Continue reading