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What Would a Joe Biden Fracking Ban Look Like? Part Six: Impossibly Expensive Electricity

During the Democrat debate between Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice-President Joe Biden on Sunday, March 15, 2020, Vice-President Biden stated that he would allow “no new fracking.” However, banning fracking would cause the cost of generating electricity with natural gas to skyrocket by tripling the cost. As a result, places like Minnesota would either see utilities switch back to coal-fired power plants, or if Xcel Energy gets to fully implement it's plan to shut down coal-fired power plants before the end of their useful lifetime and replace them wind, solar, and natural gas, Minnesota families will be shocked at...

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Coronavirus Aid Package Fails Because Liberal Democrats Want Green New Deal, Student Debt Forgiveness

This weekend, a $1.6 trillion spending planned aimed at reducing the economic strain Americans will feel due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus failed to pass out of the Senate because it wasn't the Green New Deal, and because it did not include provisions for student loan forgiveness. These two aspects apparently made the package a deal breaker for House and Senate Democrats in Washington, D.C. Green New Deal, or No Deal One of the demands being made by House Democrats in a draft proposal are requirements for airline companies that receive financial assistance to offset 100 percent of their carbon dioxide emissions by...

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Darling, is the Wind Blowing? I’d Like to Go to the Hospital For COVID-19

Last year, President Trump mocked the unreliability of wind power at the Conservative Political Action Conference stating, "Darling, is the wind blowing today? I'd like to watch television." While the President's jabs were directed at watching television, the unreliable nature of wind and solar power makes them ill-suited to providing reliable, affordable electricity for our nation's hospitals when they need it most. For example, earlier this week, the wind wasn't blowing very well. In fact, data from the regional grid operator show wind was producing just 12.87 percent of its potential, meaning coal, nuclear, and natural gas power plants were needed...

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What Would a Joe Biden Fracking Ban Look Like? Part Two: Devastating Economic Impacts

During the Democrat debate on Sunday, March 15, 2020, between Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice-President Joe Biden, Vice-President Biden stated that he would allow "no new fracking," and touted his role in spending $90 billion on the solar industry as part of the Obama administration's stimulus package. As I explained in Part One of this series, banning "new fracking" is essentially the same thing as banning all fracking. Such a bad policy would have devastating economic impacts for the entire country. According to a 2016 study conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce entitled "What if Hydraulic Fracturing Was Banned?"...

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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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Minnesota Electricity Rates Increased Again in 2019, Reaching New All-Time Highs

Newly-released data from the United States Energy Information Administration show that electricity rates in Minnesota increased again in 2019, reaching new all-time highs. The increase in electricity costs affected all classes of consumers, resulting in higher costs for families, businesses, and factories. It didn't used to be this way. In fact, Minnesota once had electricity prices that were nearly 20 percent below the national average, but since 2005, when Xcel Energy was required to start adding significant amounts of wind on its system, electricity prices have increased by nearly 60 percent, which is about 30 percent more than the national average,...

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Despite More Turbines, Minnesota Wind Production in 2019 Was Still Below 2017 Levels

If you build them, the wind won't necessarily come. I've recently reported that wind facilities in Minnesota produced less electricity in 2018 than 2017, and newly-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows electricity generation from Minnesota wind facilities was about one percent less in 2019 than 2017, although 2019 saw more generation from wind turbines than 2018. The decline, relative to 2017 generation, occurred despite the fact that there are about 3.6 percent more wind generation capacity installed in Minnesota today (3,843 megawatts) than there were at the end of 2017 (3,699 megawatts), according to the U.S. Department of Energy's...

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My Response to Fox 9’s “The Last Gasp of Coal”

Earlier this week, Fox 9 ran a story entitled "The Last Gasp of Coal," which suggested that coal plants are costing ratepayers a lot of money because of a practice known as self scheduling. Several of our readers sent this story to me, so I decided to reach out to Tom Lyden, the lead reporter on this story, to offer a perspective other than those shared by Fresh Energy, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. You can read my email to Mr. Lyden below. Dear Mr. Lyden, My name is Isaac Orr, and I am a policy fellow specializing in energy and...

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Bloomberg: Wind Turbine Blades Can’t Be Recycled, So They’re Piling Up in Landfills

Center of the American Experiment has been at the forefront of exposing the short lifespan and enormous cost associated with decommissioning wind turbines at the end of their 20 year useful life. Well, a recent article from Bloomberg had some stunning pictures of wind turbines filling up landfills in Wyoming. According to the article: A wind turbine’s blades can be longer than a Boeing 747 wing, so at the end of their lifespan they can’t just be hauled away. First, you need to saw through the lissome fiberglass using a diamond-encrusted industrial saw to create three pieces small enough to be strapped to a...

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Our Perspective: Xcel Quarterly Profits up 35 Percent, Buoyed by Rate Increases

The Star Tribune published a bombshell story last Thursday entitled "Xcel Quarterly Profits up 35 Percent, Buoyed by Rate Increases," which reported Xcel Energy's quarterly profits for the last quarter of 2019, but unfortunately, unless people understand energy policy in Minnesota, they would have no idea why this story is so explosive. According to the Star Tribune article: "Xcel Energy’s fourth-quarter profits rose 35% and beat Wall Street forecasts, aided by rate increases in several states." Higher electric and natural gas profit margins, primarily due to rate increases, added 37 cents per share in 2019, said a report Thursday by Travis Miller, a...

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