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Ringing in the New Year with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Energy and Environmental Policy for 2019

Happy New Year, everyone! You may or may not be recuperating from last night's events, but here is a short post on the upcoming, good, bad, and ugly happenings for energy and environmental policy in 2019. The Good: PolyMet PolyMet's NorthMet mining project has cleared all of the regulatory hurdles needed at the state level, leaving a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the final remaining substantive approval. Thankfully, we have a President in the White House who understands the importance of mining and will not delay the project as long as possible in the regulatory morass, like...

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Our Take: Complicated Economics of Community Solar Gardens Subject of Debate

The Star Tribune recently ran an article called "Complicated economics of community solar gardens subject of debate." Seeing how the Strib did not seek our opinion on the topic for their article, I'm providing it below. First and foremost, Minnesota's Community Solar installations are a mess. These solar installations are small, inefficient, and expensive. According to the article in the Star Tribune, Xcel Energy currently purchases power from the solar gardens at a price of 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour, which is 4.3 times more expensive than the electricity generated at the Sherburne County (Sherco) coal-fired power plant in 2016. Cost data for...

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Happy Festivus, Everyone!

Happy Festivus, Everyone! In case you're unfamiliar, Festivus is perhaps the holiest day of the year, where family members gather around an unadorned aluminum pole and air their grievances with each other. Keeping with this sacred tradition, I have a few grievances I'd like to air. In the words of St. Francis (Costanza): Mark Dayton: Policy disagreements are to be expected in life, that's fair, but to give 22 state employees huge raises on your way out the door is exactly why people on the left and right have lost confidence in politics and begun favoring populist candidates. Scott Walker As a native Wisconsinite I still...

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New Technologies, Not Paris Climate Agreement, Will Do the Job

Wind and solar simply aren't working, and these inefficient and unreliable technologies are a key reason the Paris Climate Accord is a dismal failure. The article below is a sobering piece that sheds light on how the proposed "solutions" to carbon dioxide emissions have been expensive failures. The article below was originally published in The Financial Times. Since climate change began to gain political traction in 1990, very little has been achieved. The concentration of carbon in the atmosphere has kept going up. Lots of money has been spent, vested interests have profited, but the reality is that we remain well on course for...

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No, Xcel’s Pledge to be Carbon-Free by 2050 Does Not Make Good Business Sense

Lee Schafer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote an article in the Sunday, December 9th edition of the newspaper stating that Xcel's pledge to generate 100 percent of its electricity from "carbon free" sources by 2050 made good business sense. Unfortunately, Xcel Energy's plan will only make "business sense" for Xcel, companies like Mortenson Construction that are financially invested in the renewable energy industry, Xcel's shareholders, and non-government organizations like Fresh Energy that promote renewable energy sources like wind and solar despite their high cost and low reliability. ...

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Utility Dive Names Xcel Energy “Utility of the Year.” We’re Less Impressed

Utility Dive, a website that covers the ongoings of the electric utility industry, has named Xcel Energy the Utility of the Year for 2018, commending the company for retiring coal-fired power plants and investing billions in future wind, solar, and natural gas installations. As for us, we don't think Xcel should be applauded for pursuing policies that result in higher profits for Xcel shareholders at the expense of the families and businesses who have no choice but to buy their electricity from the monopoly utility. ...

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Japan is Restarting Their Nuclear Power Plants: When Will Minnesota Legalize New Nuclear Power Plants?

Japan has taken aggressive steps to restart their nuclear power program by restarting five nuclear reactors in 2018. According to the Energy Information Administration, these nuclear reactors have a capacity of capacity of around six gigawatts (GW). For reference, this is more than Minnesota's coal and nuclear capabilities, combined.  In total, more than 9 GW of nuclear capacity have come online since 2015 in Japan. If Minnesota had installed this same nuclear capacity, we would have been able to generate 100 percent of our electricity use with nearly zero carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, CO2 emissions from electricity generation in Minnesota have only fallen 25...

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In Case You Ever Question Our Renewable Energy Arguments – Here’s Xcel Agreeing with Us 

In its most recent annual securities and exchanges report to investors, Xcel admitted exactly what American Experiment has been saying for years – that renewable energy sources increase electricity rates, create energy grids with excess and idle capacity, and lead to a more unreliable energy system.  ...

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Another One Bites the Dust: Wisconsin Wind Farm Decommissioned After Just 20 Years

An industrial wind facility in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin has been decommissioned after just 20 years of service because the turbines are no longer cost effective to maintain and operate. The decommissioning of the 14 turbines took many people by surprise, even local government officials and the farmer who had five of the turbines on his property. Why Are We So Surprised? What's really surprising about these wind turbines being decommissioned after 20 years is the is the fact that people were surprised by it. You'd be astonished at how many people I talk to that have no idea that wind turbines only last for 20...

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