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Grid Operators Confirm: Wind Didn’t Work During Polar Vortex

The energy world is buzzing today after the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO) released a report stating the wind didn't show up to work during the polar vortex that swept Minnesota on January 29 and 30. Electricity output from wind plummeted due to low wind speeds and because it was "too cold" for the wind turbines to operate. That being said, why on Earth would DFL lawmakers in St. Paul propose legislation mandating more wind turbines? Here are a few choice excerpts from media outlets covering the story with some of my own commentary sprinkled in. From E&E News: "As residents of the Twin Cities awoke...

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EIA: Extreme Cold in the Midwest Led to High Power Demand and Record Natural Gas Demand

Well, folks.  The results of the Energy Information Administration's autopsy of the January 2019 polar vortex are in and wind fared very poorly, mainly because wind plants were turned off because it was too cold for them to operate safely. The article below is from EIA's Today in Energy series. Extreme cold weather in the Midwest at the end of January led to high—but not record-setting—electricity load on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, the coldest day of the period, on the Midcontinent Independent System Operator(MISO) grid. However, consumption of natural gas, the main fuel used for heating in the region, reached estimated record levels on...

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The Big Problem With Wind, Solar, and Batteries

The following article originally appeared in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. There have been many recent articles in The Daily Sentinel on Xcel's new Colorado Energy Plan related to climate change policy. In addition, the national news has been covering the Green New Deal being proposed by many politicians to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels in the next 10 years. It is ludicrous to think that we could live in a modern society without fossil fuels. Affordable fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil have brought more people out of poverty in the modern world than ever before. Nineteenth...

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In the Tank Episode 179

Hello! In this edition of the In the Tank podcast, Donny interviews  Jonathan Williams from ALEC about his organization's latest installment of the Rich States Poor States book. Minnesota does not fair well. Also, we talk about the Supreme Court's unanimous decision to disallow unfair fines and how it pertains to civil asset forfeiture, and we lambaste an incredibly misleading headline by the New York Times on the Green New Deal. https://soundcloud.com/user-694711047/in-the-tank-ep179-rich-states-poor-states-civil-asset-forfeiture-nyt-article-fail...

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Minnesotans Are Not Getting A Deal on Their Electricity Bills

Renewable energy advocates' fixation on bills relative to the national average rather than prices, is a disingenuous slight of hand that allows them to make it seem like Minnesotans are getting a deal on their electric bill, when in reality our bills are only lower than those of residents living in other states because we less electricity than the national average. In short, we're not getting a deal on our electricity. We're paying more for less....

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SF1372 Eliminating Size Limits on Hydropower is Smart Policy

Minnesota passed its 25 percent renewable energy mandate in 2007, but did you know this bill specifically prohibited counting electricity from large hydroelectric dams as a way to comply with the standard? As crazy as this sounds, it is true, and it has had serious negative impacts for Minnesota households. Fortunately, SF 1372 would eliminate the size limit on hydropower for satisfying the renewable energy mandate. This may sound like a small tweak to existing legislation, but this is actually a very big deal. Minnesota currently imports about 7.2 million megawatt hours of electricity from Canada, or about 10 percent of our...

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Helping the U of M Energy Transition Lab Understand Energy

A few weeks ago, I wrote an opinion editorial to the Star Tribune about how the Polar Vortex reemphasized the need for reliable forms of electricity in our state. My article was the most widely read opinion piece on the Strib’s website for two days, which prompted three employees of the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab (ETL) to write a reply. Their reply claimed I used confusing statistics to misrepresent the role renewables play in our system, but I contest that the statistics I used should not be confusing, especially for members the university's Energy Transition Lab. So, to clear...

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Green New Delusion Would Require Lots of Mining, But Will Walz Allow it in MN?

The Green New Deal (GND) has become the talk of the down despite the fact that Ernie Moniz, the head of the Department of Energy under the Obama administration, has called the deal impractical. However, renewable energy advocates are pressuring lawmakers in St. Paul to push ahead with their own GND for Minnesota, but the question remains, where will the copper, nickel, cobalt, and manganese come from? An article from Geologyforinvestors.com suggests there will be as many as 125 million electric cars on the road within the next decade, which may be overly optimistic, but we'll see. The more important point...

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American Experiment Testifies on Bill to Increase Renewable Energy Mandate

On Tuesday, I was in St. Paul to testify on House File 700, which would increase Minnesota's renewable energy mandate to 55 percent renewable by 2030, and 80 percent renewable by 2035. I was one of three testifiers who told the committee that this bill is a bad idea. You can watch my brief, two minute testimony below. American Experiment will soon release a report on the economic and environmental impacts of doubling Minnesota's current renewable energy mandate to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. I share some of the top-line findings of the study with the committee, and although it...

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Nuclear Is Less Costly Than You Think

The following article originally appeared in the Financial Times: Does it make any sense to build nuclear plants in Britain? Not obviously, unless you are an atomic evangelist. In recent months, half the participants in the country’s once-vaunted “nuclear renaissance” have packed their bags and departed. First Toshiba and then Hitachi dropped reactor projects, each citing their inability to get finance on terms that would deliver power to consumers at acceptable cost. Critics point to the widening gap between the strike prices demanded by nuclear and renewable investors, highlighting the new low of £57.50 per megawatt hour for two UK offshore wind...

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