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Video: The Year 2019 on ElectricityMap [Europe]

You can talk to people about the weather-driven variation in electricity output from wind and solar power until you're blue in the face, but it will never be as effective as showing them, in real time, what sources of electricity generation are currently keeping the lights on. This is where ElectricityMap becomes an indispensable tool. If you're interested in energy issues, you must download this app on your phone. The reason this app is such a great tool is that it shows how "green" the electricity is in areas throughout the world, as measured by the amount of carbon dioxide produced...

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The One Billion Dollar Solar Failure in Nevada

A solar thermal plant in Nevada is the latest in the long list of Obama administration energy failures. The Crescent Dunes solar facility remains on the hook to repay $737 million in loan guarantees from the federal government, according to Bloomberg. Unlike solar facilities in Minnesota, which use photovoltaic (PV) panels to turn sunlight into electricity, the Crescent Dunes plant used an array of mirrors to heat a tank filled with molten salt that would then heat water to generate steam and electricity. The difference between solar pv and thermal solar plants like Crescent Dunes is important because PV panels have...

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Xcel Energy Electricity Bills Will Increase $50 This Year Due to Renewable Energy

Xcel Energy is seeking to increase your electricity prices by 4.736 percent in order to pay for an additional $101.8 million in spending on wind projects between 2019 and 2020. This will cause the average family with Xcel Energy to pay about $52 more in 2020 than they did in 2018. As a result, these families would pay the highest electricity bills they have ever paid....

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Solar Panels Produce Tons of Toxic Waste—Literally

There is a growing public awareness that so-called environmentally friendly energy sources like wind turbines and solar panels aren't so environmentally friendly, after all. Whether it be thousands of non-recyclable wind turbine blades arriving at landfills, or the growing recognition that solar panels contain toxic heavy metals that can pose a risk to the environment should they leak out of the panels, the environmental costs of "renewable" energy are becoming more clear everyday. The article below was originally written by Bill Wirtz at the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEE): Solar panels have been heralded as the alternative to fossil fuels for decades....

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South Carolina Has Much Lower CO2 Emissions and Lower Electricity Prices Than Minnesota

Liberal politicians in Minnesota love to pretend that they are leaders in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, which they claim are fueling an existential climate crisis. The data, however, shows that conservative South Carolina has much lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of electricity produced and lower electricity prices than Minnesota. The reason? South Carolina embraces nuclear power, whereas Minnesota liberals eschew it. According to the data, emissions of CO2 are 40 percent lower in South Carolina, per unit of electricity generated, than they are in Minnesota, according to the graph below which was constructed using 2018 data from the...

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Net Metering: How People With Solar Panels Are Picking Your Pocket

Did you know that people with solar panels on their roofs are picking your pocket in more ways than one? Federal subsidies for solar have been increasing your tax liability for years, but people with solar panels are also picking your pocket through a lesser-known policy called as net metering. At it's core, net metering pays people with solar panels more for their electricity than it is worth. This is accomplished by paying people with solar panels the retail rate for their power, rather than the wholesale rate. In fact, this is the only reason that solar panels are able to...

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This Year in Energy and Environment: 2019 Edition

With 2020 upon us, I'd like to reflect back on 2019 because it was a banner year for energy and environmental issues here at Center of the American Experiment. Here are some of the highlights from each month. In January, American Experiment submitted comments to the U.S. Forest Service in support of the lease renewal for the Twin Metals Minnesota mine. Since then Twin Metals has submitted its mine plan to state and federal agencies for review. We also covered the fact that wind and solar were not working during Polar Vortex in real time, highlighting the dangers of relying upon...

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Why Does Minnesota Have More Power Plants Than Texas?

Minnesota has more power plants than Texas, according to federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. This is despite the fact that Minnesota has 23 million fewer people than the Lone Star State, and that Texas requires six times more electricity than Minnesota. This is simply mind boggling. The main reason Minnesota has more power plants is because of our solar energy mandate and Community Solar program. These programs incentivize smaller, more-expensive forms of solar rather than larger utility-scale solar installations. Make no mistake, solar in Minnesota doesn't make sense because it is "too expensive" to clear snow off of the panels,...

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How the Renewable Energy Grinch Stole Your Christmas Budget

Christmas is a time where friends and families come together to appreciate each other during the holidays. However, Christmas can also be a stressful period of time, especially for parents, because of the impact holiday spending has on their finances. Unfortunately, this financial stress has been exacerbated by Minnesota’s mandates for renewable energy which have driven up the cost of electricity. Minnesota families used to have electricity prices that were nearly 20 percent below the national average, but this changed dramatically beginning in 2005 when Xcel Energy was first required to add renewables to their system. The trend became even more...

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Grid Operator Study Shows Complexity of Integrating Renewables Increases Exponentially After 30 Percent

The grid operator for the region including Minnesota, the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO), recently released it's study examining the complexity of integrating renewable energy onto the grid. The findings show that it becomes exponentially more difficult to integrate renewable energy into the regional grid as the amount of renewable energy increases beyond 30 percent, as you can see in the graph below. This is important, because it clearly shows that the challenges of integrating intermittent renewable energy sources like wind are not, in fact, overblown, as the Star Tribune editorial board argued earlier this year. In reality, these challenges have...

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