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Jason Isaac: ERCOT’s Phantom Reserve Margins Spell Trouble for Summertime

Texas is often held up as an example by wind advocates of the free market choosing wind. These talking points may appear to be persuasive, but there are three main problems with this logic. Wind in Texas is still driven largely by federal subsidies. These subsidies allow wind turbine operators to make money even if the price of electricity is negative. Texas families and businesses were forced to pay $7 billion to build a transmission line from the windy panhandle to the populated areas of the state, amounting to another giant subsidy. Texas came very close to blackouts last summer,...

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While Minnesota Sends Police to Shut Down A Barbershop, Texas Gives Guidelines For Today’s Reopening

By now many people have heard the story of King Milan's Barbershop, the St. Paul barbershop that now faces up to $25,000 in fines after the police were dispatched to close down the business on Monday after the owner, Milan Dennie, opened up the shop during Governor Walz's recently-extended Stay-At-Home order. Meanwhile, in Texas, the state has provided health and safety guidelines to allow barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, and tanning salons to begin reopening today. Reopening Guidelines for Barbershops, Hair Salons, Nail Salons, and Tanning Salons According to the Texas Tribune, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and tanning salons can reopen today, with some...

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Minnesota Has Highest COVID-19 Death Rate, and Highest Unemployment Rate, Out of Any Neighboring State

Nearly 625,000 Minnesotans have filed for unemployment since mid-March, and every day seems to bring new headlines of small businesses that will not survive the Coronavirus shutdown. Minnesota now has the highest unemployment rate of any of our neighboring states, according to the Tax Foundation. Despite the highest rate of unemployment in our area, Minnesota also has the distinction of having the highest COVID-19 death rate among these states, as well. In other words, it appears Minnesota has the worst of both worlds. Unemployment Rates The graph below was created by the Tax Foundation. It shows unemployment compensation claims as a percentage of...

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Wind Turbine Owned by Apex Clean Energy Catches Fire in Texas

On March 8th, a wind turbine owned by Apex Clean Energy caught fire in South Texas. Many people don't realize this, but wind turbines require oil to operate. Oil, which is often demonized by wind-energy advocates, is used to reduce friction in the wind turbine. It also keeps the gearbox clean and protects metals surfaces from corrosion, according to Wind Power Engineering. Oil is also flammable. According to an article in a South Texas newspaper: It was a normal lazy Sunday before area fire crews got a call that a wind turbine was on fire on County Road 3683, in between Taft...

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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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Bloomberg: Lack of Wind Causes Texas Electricity Prices to Skyrocket 40,000%

You know its bad when Bloomberg, which almost always treats renewables with kid gloves, comes out with a piece that is one of the most devastating critiques of the unreliable nature of wind and solar that I have ever seen, but that is exactly what happened recently. The article, published on August 26th, details how Texas, which has more wind turbines than any other state, is suffering the consequences of building so much wind power: "The road to a world powered by renewable energy is littered with unintended consequences. Like a 40,000% surge in electricity prices. Texas power prices jumped from less than $15 to...

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