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Mortenson Construction to Use Robotic Equipment On “Primarily Renewable Energy Projects”

Mortenson Construction is one of the largest renewable-energy construction firms in the country, but it appears the firm will be dolling out less "green" to their laborers. A recent story in the Star Tribune discusses how Mortenson will be employing remote-controlled bulldozers to prepare sites for wind turbines instead of hiring laborers to man the machines. The remote-controlled bulldozers will be first be employed on remote projects in Wyoming where worker housing and other logistical difficulties make automation  economically attractive, but there's no reason to think it would be impossible for the company to begin using automated equipment in other areas...

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Rob Port: Xcel’s Coal-Free Plan is Politics Not Reality

The article below originally appeared in the Inforum, and it's spot on.  Xcel's decision is about padding its ratebase, and thus its corporate profits, and if they have to team up with the environmental groups, then so be it. MINOT, N.D. — “Xcel Energy plans to shutter its two remaining coal plants in the Upper Midwest a decade earlier than scheduled — a move that will make the utility coal-free in the region by 2030,” Mary Divine reported for the St. Paul Pioneer Press this week. That’s big news. All the more so because it’s not the full measure of Xcel’s ambition. The...

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Xcel’s Plan to Close Coal Plants Early Is Bad News for Minnesota Families and Businesses

Last week, Xcel Energy announced their desire to shutter the last of their coal-fired power plants a decade earlier than previously planned. If approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the plan would increase electricity costs for Minnesota families and businesses and produce zero measurable reductions in global temperatures. It would, however, result in handsome corporate profits for Xcel Energy, which would be a direct wealth transfer from everyday Minnesotans, who are forced by the government to buy their electricity from Xcel, to the company's shareholders. Minnesota's coal plants provide some of the lowest-cost electricity in the state. The graph below...

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Wind Subsidies for Xcel Energy’s Minnesota Operations Totaled More Than $49 Million in 2016

According to data found in utility documents filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Xcel Energy earned $49.3 million in federal subsidies in 2016 from its wind facilities located throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. It's important to remember that the cost of wind energy in Minnesota is not just reflected in your monthly electric bill, but it also increases the amount of federal taxes you must pay. While $49 million is no doubt a significant chuck of change, it likely represents only a small amount of the federal subsidies doled out to wind producers in Minnesota because most of the wind...

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Fresh Energy Is Still Intentionally Misleading Minnesotans on Energy Issues: Part Six – How Decoupling Will Make Things Worse For Ratepayers

If you use less electricity, you should pay less on electric bills. Right?Unfortunately in Minnesota, that’s not the case, as electricity bills have increased by 8 percent even though we consume 10 percent less electricity than we did in 2007, and it will only get worse if “decoupling” becomes standard policy....

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DFL Senator From Iron Range Signals He Won’t Support Carbon-Free Power Mandates At This Time

It's a great day for Minnesota families and businesses, as Senator Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth) stated that he believes that provisions of the House Energy and Jobs omnibus bill that would mandate that Minnesota derive 100 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050 should be left out of the current budget negotiations and reconsidered at a later date. What makes this statement so remarkable is that it was completely unprompted. In fact, the discussion previous to his comments about increasing renewable energy mandates were about the Line 3 oil pipeline. After making an initial comment about the pipeline, Senator Simonson...

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