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Despite Massive Wind and Solar Spending, Minnesota Carbon Dioxide Emissions Essentially Flat Since 2012

When lawmakers like Governor Tim Walz and members of the Minnesota House of Representatives call for massively increasing the amount of wind and solar on the grid, they often do so because they claim climate change is an "existential crisis." If these lawmakers truly believe this talking point, though, they wouldn't be advocating for building more wind and solar. This is because Minnesota has seen virtually no decline in annual CO2 emissions since 2012, despite the fact that we have seen wind and solar capacity increase by 50 percent during this time frame, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. The...

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Video: The Year 2019 on ElectricityMap [Europe]

You can talk to people about the weather-driven variation in electricity output from wind and solar power until you're blue in the face, but it will never be as effective as showing them, in real time, what sources of electricity generation are currently keeping the lights on. This is where ElectricityMap becomes an indispensable tool. If you're interested in energy issues, you must download this app on your phone. The reason this app is such a great tool is that it shows how "green" the electricity is in areas throughout the world, as measured by the amount of carbon dioxide produced...

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Xcel Energy Electricity Bills Will Increase $50 This Year Due to Renewable Energy

Xcel Energy is seeking to increase your electricity prices by 4.736 percent in order to pay for an additional $101.8 million in spending on wind projects between 2019 and 2020. This will cause the average family with Xcel Energy to pay about $52 more in 2020 than they did in 2018. As a result, these families would pay the highest electricity bills they have ever paid....

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South Carolina Has Much Lower CO2 Emissions and Lower Electricity Prices Than Minnesota

Liberal politicians in Minnesota love to pretend that they are leaders in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, which they claim are fueling an existential climate crisis. The data, however, shows that conservative South Carolina has much lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of electricity produced and lower electricity prices than Minnesota. The reason? South Carolina embraces nuclear power, whereas Minnesota liberals eschew it. According to the data, emissions of CO2 are 40 percent lower in South Carolina, per unit of electricity generated, than they are in Minnesota, according to the graph below which was constructed using 2018 data from the...

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This Year in Energy and Environment: 2019 Edition

With 2020 upon us, I'd like to reflect back on 2019 because it was a banner year for energy and environmental issues here at Center of the American Experiment. Here are some of the highlights from each month. In January, American Experiment submitted comments to the U.S. Forest Service in support of the lease renewal for the Twin Metals Minnesota mine. Since then Twin Metals has submitted its mine plan to state and federal agencies for review. We also covered the fact that wind and solar were not working during Polar Vortex in real time, highlighting the dangers of relying upon...

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How the Renewable Energy Grinch Stole Your Christmas Budget

Christmas is a time where friends and families come together to appreciate each other during the holidays. However, Christmas can also be a stressful period of time, especially for parents, because of the impact holiday spending has on their finances. Unfortunately, this financial stress has been exacerbated by Minnesota’s mandates for renewable energy which have driven up the cost of electricity. Minnesota families used to have electricity prices that were nearly 20 percent below the national average, but this changed dramatically beginning in 2005 when Xcel Energy was first required to add renewables to their system. The trend became even more...

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Grid Operator Study Shows Complexity of Integrating Renewables Increases Exponentially After 30 Percent

The grid operator for the region including Minnesota, the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO), recently released it's study examining the complexity of integrating renewable energy onto the grid. The findings show that it becomes exponentially more difficult to integrate renewable energy into the regional grid as the amount of renewable energy increases beyond 30 percent, as you can see in the graph below. This is important, because it clearly shows that the challenges of integrating intermittent renewable energy sources like wind are not, in fact, overblown, as the Star Tribune editorial board argued earlier this year. In reality, these challenges have...

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Reality, Physics, Emerge as Greatest Obstacles to Renewable Growth

Renewable energy rent seekers like to make it seem like history is on their side, and that there is simply an inevitable and glorious march toward wind, solar, and battery storage technology. It appears two pesky characters, reality and physics, are showing up to spoil the party. One of the many problems with wind and solar is that they are widely dispersed, and these facilities are often located far away from the population centers that will use the electricity generated from them. As a result, extensive and expensive transmission systems must be built to accommodate these weather-dependent resources, but it appears...

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Production at Nobles Wind Facility Continues to Plummet

Earlier this year, I wrote about how the Nobles Wind project, which is the third-largest wind facility in Minnesota, is already losing steam. The most recent data from the Energy Information Administration (which runs through September) show that 2019 hasn't been kind to the project, either. Thus far, the Nobles wind project has a capacity factor of just 33.9, which is far below where it has been in previous years, according to the table below. In fact, the capacity factor (a measure of productivity) of this wind facility is about 10 percent lower this year compared to 2014. This has important implications...

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Mitchell South Dakota: Home of The Corn Palace and Wind Turbine Blade Landfill Exhibit?

Mitchell, South Dakota is famous for the corn palace, but it appears the community is also known among wind companies as a place to dispose of wind turbine blades that are no longer useful. According to the Mitchell Republic: "Who will take the old, unrecyclable blades that are being replaced on South Dakota’s wind turbines? The city of Mitchell is positioning to take those in, and a Davison County board gave a Mitchell business approval to dismantle blades Tuesday. Bob Ball, who runs H&R Salvage of Mitchell, is in the business of destroying blades, something he says he’s already doing with success...

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