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Sad News: Closure Dates Announced for Boswell Power Plant

Earlier this week, Minnesota Power announced the utility would be "coal-free" by 2035 by shutting down Unit 3 of the Boswell Energy Center in 2030 and converting Unit 4 to another fuel that is not yet specified in 2035. As we detailed in our Spring 2020 issue of Thinking Minnesota, Boswell is the backbone of the Iron Range economy. It provides the electricity needed for Minnesota's iron mines and paper mills to run smoothly. It would presumably be the source of electricity for the PolyMet mine should it ever emerge from legal purgatory. In my opinion, the national security implications of losing these...

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Xcel Energy is Decommissioning and “Repowering” Five Wind Facilities Before the End of Their 20-Year Useful Lifespan

Last week, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved Xcel Energy's $750 million plan to decommission and rebuild, or "repower" five wind facilities before the end of their useful 20-year lifetime. The implications of Xcel's proposal are massive because it demonstrates that many wind facilities don't even last for 20 years before utilities seek to tear down their old turbines and build new ones. According to documents filed with the PUC, Xcel will repower turbines at Grand Meadow, Nobles, Borders Winds, Pleasant Valley, and assist with repowering the Ewington facility. Repowering wind facilities can involve tearing down the old wind turbines...

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Robert Bryce: California’s Natural Gas Bans Are Drawing Fire From Black And Latino Leaders

The concept of "environmental justice" has gained increasing traction among liberal lawmakers who claim that past energy and environmental policies have left low income and minority communities less able to afford their energy bills than their more-affluent counterparts. It is true that our energy polices have made it more difficult for these communities to afford their energy costs, but it is the policies promoted by these liberal politicians that have made energy so unaffordable. California is the worst offender in this regard. Liberal politicians in California talk about the need for environmental justice while enacting the very policies that are harming low...

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Germany’s Energy Disaster 20 Years Later

When it comes to energy policy, legislators in Minnesota often cite Germany as an example of a shining star on a hill. This fondness for Germany probably stems from the taxpayer-funded trips that lawmakers take to experience the German Energiewende, or "Energy Transition." The ironic thing about their love affair with Germany is that the country's experiment with wind and solar power has been a total disaster, resulting in skyrocketing electricity prices and a failure to produce an electric grid that emits less carbon dioxide than the United States. You don't have to take my word for it, either. Vaclav Smil, a world-renowned...

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Illinois Farm Bureau: Know Your Rights When Considering Wind or Solar Agreements

Wind and solar special interest groups often tout these energy sources as a boon to rural America by giving farmers another "crop" to grow, but there has been growing pushback against wind and solar from farmers and landowners across the country, from California to Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. In Illinois, the Vermilion County Farm Bureau is helping to educate members so they do not get taken advantage of by wind and solar developers who present one-sided agreements. According to WCIA news; VERMILION COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — If wind or solar farm developers want to build on your property, the Illinois Farm Bureau says...

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Wind and Solar Developers Don’t Want To Pay Their Own Costs To Connect To The Grid

Despite bold-sounding announcements on decarbonizing America from progressive politicians and profit-seeking, government-approved monopolies, the biggest impediment to a world powered by wind, solar, and batteries is not political opposition from unwashed conservatives, it is reality. This truth was on display in a recent article in RTO Insider, which stated that the transmission upgraded needed to connect new wind and solar facilities to the grid costs too much. The cost is so high that wind and solar developers are abandoning their projects, which is great news for Minnesota families, seniors, and businesses. "MISO West — which includes Minnesota, Iowa, parts of the Dakotas and...

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Line 3 Opponent, Winona LaDuke, Unhinged on Almanac

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Pollution Control Agency approved permits for the Line 3 oil pipeline operated by Enbridge. As we have noted many times, the current Line 3 is corroded and operating at half capacity to reduce the risk of an oil spill, and replacing this project is the right thing to do for the environment and Minnesota's economy. However, not everyone sees it this way. On Almanac last week, anti-pipeline activist and executive director of Honor the Earth, Winona LaDuke, made several statements that were factually inaccurate and she even called the pipeline the ecological equivalent of...

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