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One Korean Nuclear Reactor Would Produce As Much Electricity As All Minnesota Wind Turbines at a Much Lower Cost

Last week, Korean Electric Power (KEPCO) connected its second advanced pressure reactor (APR) 1400 nuclear reactor to the grid. This is significant because these power plants, with a generation capacity of 1,400 megawatts (MW), would be able to generate about as much electricity as the combined output of all the wind facilities in Minnesota, for a fraction of the cost. Nuclear power plants are incredibly efficient, with capacity factors of 90 percent or higher. This means nuclear plants will generate about 90 percent of their theoretical output during the course of a year. As a result, building just one APR1400 reactor...

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MN Commerce Department Commissioner Kelly Tips His Hand: “Carbon Free” Still Means No New Nuclear

If Governor Walz really believes that climate change is an existential threat, why would he refuse to legalize the most reliable, affordable, and permanent source of electricity that does not emit carbon dioxide emissions? The fact that is not even willing to advocate for repealing Minnesota's ban on new nuclear power plants that has been in effect since 1994 means Governor Walz is not the adult in the room, no matter how me may try to position himself as the realist on environmental issues. ...

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Minnesota’s Third-Largest Wind Farm is Already Losing Steam: Output Falls 14 percent from 2014 Highs

According the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, wind turbines have operational lifetimes of 20 years, but it appears Xcel Energy's Nobles wind project, the third-largest wind farm in Minnesota, is losing steam after just eight. The graph below was produced using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration plant-level data. It shows the electricity generation of the Nobles wind project, which became operational in 2010, through 2018. You'll notice that electricity generation peaked in 2014, and that generation was about 14 percent lower in 2018, compared to the 2014 production levels. It is important to take note of this decline in electricity production...

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Nuclear Is Less Costly Than You Think

The following article originally appeared in the Financial Times: Does it make any sense to build nuclear plants in Britain? Not obviously, unless you are an atomic evangelist. In recent months, half the participants in the country’s once-vaunted “nuclear renaissance” have packed their bags and departed. First Toshiba and then Hitachi dropped reactor projects, each citing their inability to get finance on terms that would deliver power to consumers at acceptable cost. Critics point to the widening gap between the strike prices demanded by nuclear and renewable investors, highlighting the new low of £57.50 per megawatt hour for two UK offshore wind...

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If Pelosi is so Concerned About Climate Change, Why Does She Oppose Yucca Mountain?

According to an article in Politico, Nancy Pelosi called climate change the "existential threat of our time" during her opening address as the new speaker of the House, and said Congress must "put an end to the inaction and denial of science that threaten the planet and the future. If Pelosi believes climate change is an existential threat to human existence, how can she also oppose building a permanent repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain? After all, nuclear power is the only source of electricity we have that is both available 24/7 and emits zero carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, despite the billions squandered...

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Minnesota Keeps Shutting Down Inexpensive Power Plants: Why Not Expensive Renewable Energy Centers? 

In recent years, Minnesota has retired some of the most efficient power plants in the state, including Black Dog, High Bridge, Riverside, Taconite Harbor, Syl Laskin, and Hoot Lake – all of which provided electricity for under $35 per MWh, according to data collected from the United States Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC).  By closing these plants, Minnesota is shutting down power plants that can produce a lot of affordable electricity and replacing them with incredibly inefficient power plants that are far more expensive. ...

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So Much for that Green Energy “Revolution.” Saudi Arabia Cancels $200 Billion Solar Project

Saudi Arabia is scrapping its plan to spend $200 billion to construct the world's largest solar panel facility in favor of a "more practical" plan. Ordinarily, a country or company scaling back their plans to install solar power would be unremarkable, but this solar project was supposed to be different. Anti-oil activists, who oppose building newer, safer, oil pipelines and hydraulic fracturing, a technology that has transformed the United States into an energy powerhouse and the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world, crowed that solar was so cheap, so virtuous, that even Saudi Arabia, which was then the largest oil producer,...

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Trump Administration Releases Revised Clean Power Plan

The Trump Administration has released its revised version of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which was considered to be the signature climate change regulation of the Obama Administration. The new rule, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, would give individual states more authority to make their own plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants rather than imposing a set of top-down policies from the federal government. The CPP was designed to fundamentally transform electricity markets by forcing coal plants to retire and require the use of wind and solar to replace. As we've already seen in Minnesota, this comes...

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