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Isaac Orr: Lower Electricity Costs From Going Carbon-Free? Wanna Bet, Gov. Walz?

The following article originally appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press: Gov. Tim Walz recently announced his plan to make Minnesota’s electricity 100 percent carbon-free by 2050, and while the governor claims his plan will reduce energy costs for Minnesota families due to improvements in energy efficiency, I could not disagree more with his assessment. Therefore, I am willing to bet the governor a month’s salary that his claim is incorrect and that electricity costs will skyrocket under his plan. Increasing quantities of renewable energy result in increasing electricity prices because they are more expensive than conventional sources of electricity, like coal....

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Minnesota’s Third-Largest Wind Farm is Already Losing Steam: Output Falls 14 percent from 2014 Highs

According the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, wind turbines have operational lifetimes of 20 years, but it appears Xcel Energy's Nobles wind project, the third-largest wind farm in Minnesota, is losing steam after just eight. The graph below was produced using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration plant-level data. It shows the electricity generation of the Nobles wind project, which became operational in 2010, through 2018. You'll notice that electricity generation peaked in 2014, and that generation was about 14 percent lower in 2018, compared to the 2014 production levels. It is important to take note of this decline in electricity production...

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Two Answers I’d Like on Xcel Energy’s Carbon Report

Xcel Energy made headlines by announcing they would be the first electric utility to derive 100 percent of their electricity from sources that don't emit carbon dioxide by 2050. Earlier this month, the government-approved monopoly utility company released a 28-page report outlining their plan for "Building a Carbon-free Future." After reading the document, I was left with two nagging questions that should have been answered in the report: what would it cost, and how much future warming would it prevent?...

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Xcel Blames Snow Cover for Poor Performance of Solar Panels During Polar Vortex

Xcel Energy representatives recently stated that the company's solar panels only produced 8 to 10 percent of their potential output because of snow cover. Xcel Energy posted a profit of $1.1 billion in 2017, and you're telling me they can't pay a high-schooler to scrape off their solar panels for a little extra cash?...

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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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Xcel Energy Property Taxes Soar 131.6 Percent Since Minnesota Began Mandating Renewable Energy – Ratepayers are Stuck with the Bill

We at American Experiment often write about how wind and solar energy cause nearly every aspect of the energy grid to be more expensive, but one aspect of this story we have not yet covered is the role wind and solar play on increasing property taxes. Property taxes constitute approximately 6 percent of your electric bill, as utility companies are allowed to pass these expenses directly on to their consumers. As property taxes rise, so does the amount you pay for electricity each month. As renewable energy sources increase on the grid, so do the property tax expenses that ratepayers are stuck...

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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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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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