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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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German Electricity Prices Have Increased 2.5 Times Since 2008

Every year for the last several years, Minnesota lawmakers have piled onto a plane to visit Germany, which is supposedly a renewable energy utopia. It is amazing that so many taxpayer dollars can be used to learn so little, because Germany is a prime example of what not to do. I've written about this topic many times, but the myth that Germany's energy system is a success story never seems to go away. Over the last 12 years, Germany has spent hundreds of billions of Euro on wind and solar, and the only thing they have to show for it is...

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On the One Year Anniversary of the Polar Vortex, Wind Was 0.16 Percent Productive

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the Polar Vortex, which enveloped the state in an arctic cold that pushed our energy system to the max. You'll remember that our friends at Xcel Energy sent out an emergency request that all 460,000 of their natural gas customers turn their thermostat down to 63 degrees to make sure there was not a widespread natural gas shortage, and there was virtually no wind on the system because of low wind speeds and because at -24 degrees Fahrenheit, it was too cold for wind turbines to operate. Well, history repeated itself yesterday, at least in...

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The Bad: Senate’s Clean Energy First Bill Would Probably Be A Blank Check to Xcel Energy

Yesterday, I wrote about The Good aspects of the Minnesota State Senate's Clean Energy First bill. Today I'll talk about The Bad aspects, and tomorrow I'll suggest ways to amend the legislation to make sure Minnesota families and businesses are not paying higher costs as a result of the bill. The Bad As a result of legalizing new nuclear, large hydro, and carbon capture and sequestration technology, the Clean Energy First bill could reduce more emissions for less cost than wind, solar, and battery storage. While this sounds great in theory, the legislation also contains problematic provisions that will essentially be a blank...

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The Good: Senate’s Clean Energy First Bill Could Reduce More Emissions at Lower Cost than Walz/House Proposals

I recently posted my testimony from Rochester on the Clean Energy First (CEF) bill currently circulating around the Minnesota State Senate. Today, I'll elaborate on the good parts of the Senate's Clean Energy First Bill, tomorrow, I'll talk about the bad parts, and Wednesday, I'll propose some amendments that would improve the bill. The Good The most important improvements offered in this bill, compared to the version put forward last session by Governor Walz and the Minnesota House of Representatives, is the classification of large hydroelectric dams as a “renewable” or “carbon free” resource, the bill legalizes new nuclear power plants, and...

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