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I’ll See You in Kiester Tonight!

Tonight I will be in Kiester, Minnesota to talk about the high cost of wind and solar power as part of Center of the American Experiment's continued mission to reach the people of Greater Minnesota with free market ideas. I'll be presenting to a group of citizens who are concerned about the costs of wind turbines and transmission lines being built in their area and discussing the findings of our award winning research Doubling Down on Failure, How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion. With high-pressure land acquisition specialists circling the area, it has never...

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Reactions to Proposed Rate Increases Shows Minnesota Citizen’s Utility Board Cares More about Renewables Than Ratepayers

There is no reason for CUB to be more upset about Minnesota Power’s rate increase than Xcel Energy's. I submit that the reason CUB is less forgiving of Minnesota Power's smaller rate increase is that the organization cares about renewables first, and ratepayers second....

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Wisconsin Utilities Rake in Increased Profits as Wind and Solar, Transmission Spending Increases

Government-approved monopoly utility companies in the Midwest continue to pad their guaranteed corporate profits by building more wind and solar installations, along with the transmission lines needed to transport the energy generated by them to far-away population centers. This time, it is Wisconsin utilities that are doing the profit padding by adopting the same language used by Xcel Energy to mislead consumers on the cost of their electricity, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. "Alliant Energy announced a 7% increase in its 2020 dividends Wednesday as it reported earnings of $226 million in the third quarter of 2019. That’s up almost 10 percent...

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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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Wind Power Purchase Agreement Prices Rise 44 Percent in MISO from Q3 2018 to Q3 2019

It looks like the fairy tales of endless declines in the cost of wind power are meeting an unpleasant reality. A recent study has found that the cost of wind power bought through power purchase agreements (PPAs) from independent power producers (IPPs) is increasing in the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator  (MISO) footprint, which includes Minnesota and 13 other states and one Canadian province. According to the report: “In Q3, the MISO market was the primary contributor, with a $4+ rise in prices, amounting to a 19% increase." The graph below is from the report and it shows wind PPA prices increasing from about...

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Our Perspective: Minnesota’s Days of Cheaper Electricity Seem Numbered

This weekend, Mike Hughlett of the Star Tribune wrote an excellent article entitled "Minnesota's Days of Cheaper Electricity Seem Numbered," which details how Minnesota electricity prices have increased substantially in the last 15 years. The piece is an important acknowledgement that the energy policies pursued in Minnesota are causing electricity costs to rise, an argument Center of the American Experiment has been making since late 2017. I have included portions of the article below and added additional  commentary to provide more context to help readers understand the topic in a more comprehensive manner. The article begins below: "Hefty rate hikes that Minnesota’s...

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Windfail: Individual Wind Facilities Were Less Productive in 2018 than 2017 in Many Regions of the Country

Renewable energy advocates are seemingly always talking about how advances in technology will *finally* make wind and solar competitive with coal, nuclear, and natural gas without taxpayer subsidies. One of their arguments is that wind facilities are becoming more productive over time, generating more of their potential output, but recent data from Lawrence Berkeley Labs shows the productivity of wind turbines fell from 2017 to 2018 in many regions of the country, including Minnesota....

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Three Things Xcel Energy Doesn’t Want You to Know About Their Massive Increase in Electricity Prices

Xcel Energy recently announced its intention to impose a massive 15.2 percent increase in electricity prices in Minnesota over the course of three years to pay for a $466 million spending spree that will pay for wind turbines, transmission lines, distribution system and nuclear plant upgrades, higher corporate profits, and erase customer savings from energy efficiency. However, the 15.3 percent is just an average. In fact, the government-approved monopoly utility is seeking to raise residential electricity rates by 17.75 percent, representing a massive increase in electricity costs for Minnesota families. Here are three things Xcel Energy doesn't want you to know...

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High Electricity Prices Killed More Than 1,280 People in Japan After The Government Foolishly Shuttered All Nuclear Facilities Following Fukushima

High electricity prices are deadly. That's the conclusion reached by a new paper produced by the National Bureau Of Economic Research (NBER), which investigated the relationship between electricity prices and mortality after the Japanese government's decision to shut down all of its nuclear power plants following the Fukushima meltdown in March of 2011. According to NBER, shutting these plants down came at enormous costs, both economic and human. The paper reads: "To meet electricity demands, the reduction in nuclear energy production was offset by increased importation of fossil fuels, which increased the price of electricity by as much as 38 percent in some...

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Mass Decommissioning of German Wind Turbines Could Cost Hundreds of Millions of Euro More than Planned, Overwhelm Disposal Capacity

Germany is often lauded as an example that Minnesota should follow by renewable energy supporters, but it turns out Minnesota isn't the only part of the world that may have an expensive tab to pick up once their wind turbines reach the end of their 20 year useful lifetime. A new study from the German Federal Environmental Agency has found that the expected dismantling of thousands of old wind turbines in Germany could overburden the country's recycling capacities and lead to financial difficulties for the turbines' operators as reserves set aside might have been calculated too low, according to Clean Energy...

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