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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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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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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...

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