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Xcel Energy Provides Strong Testimony Against the Community Solar Program

I have a lot of policy disagreements with Xcel Energy, but I firmly believe it is important to give credit when credit is due. The video below is from last week, and it shows Rick Evans of Xcel Energy testifying about the huge inefficiencies related to the Community Solar program. Evans makes many of the same arguments Center of the American Experiment makes about wind and solar every day. https://youtu.be/I-jPAY1wL-4?t=3431 Evans states: "Our customers are required to pay triple the cost of solar energy, in an unlimited quantity, that comes on to our system regardless of whether we need it or not. First of...

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Real Clear Energy: Money & Power: New FOIA’d Documents Offer Ugly Candor About ‘Green Energy’

The article below was originally written by Chris Horner and it appeared at Real Clear Energy. I've added my own commentary within the text of the article below. "Recently, excerpts from notes taken at a meeting at the Rockefeller family mansion between activists, donors and political appointees emerged. They contain further revelations, beyond those first reported. These notes quote numerous, high-ranking political appointees from state government making quite clear that the costly lessons of scandalous Obama-era parade of high-profile and costly green energy boondoggles changed nothing. “Green energy” remains about money and power. As in keeping power, not generating it. The handwritten and typed notes...

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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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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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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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100 Percent Wind+Solar+Batteries= $1,036.80 Monthly Electric Bill, According to An Xcel Energy Slide Show and EIA Data

In April of this year, Gov. Tim Walz's administration suggested the economics of nuclear power likely make it too expensive to be part of his plan to produce 100 percent of Minnesota’s electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050. Instead, the administration argued technological improvements would allow wind, solar, and battery storage technology to reliably and affordably meet Minnesota’s energy needs. A slide show produced by Xcel Energy suggests the Governor couldn't be more wrong. This slideshow was presented to the Midwestern Governor's Association meeting in March of 2019. One would assume someone from the Governor's office would be at the meeting, but just in...

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Reactions to Proposed Rate Increases Shows Minnesota Citizen’s Utility Board Cares More about Renewables Than Ratepayers

There is no reason for CUB to be more upset about Minnesota Power’s rate increase than Xcel Energy's. I submit that the reason CUB is less forgiving of Minnesota Power's smaller rate increase is that the organization cares about renewables first, and ratepayers second....

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MPUC Continues to Address Utility System Reliability: Gas System Shortcomings Addressed, Electric Generation Issues Receive Scant Attention

The Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) represents electric utilities that are owned and operated by municipal governments throughout the state of Minnesota. The association publishes a monthly newsletter, and one article highlighting the serious reliability issues presented by last winter's polar vortex was very interesting. I have reproduced the article below and added additional commentary to supplement some of the points made. Minnesota’s electric and natural gas utility systems were stressed last winter, failures occurred, and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) has addressed the issue several times since then, including Oct. 10. The latest meeting revolved around the Xcel Energy gas...

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Windfail: Individual Wind Facilities Were Less Productive in 2018 than 2017 in Many Regions of the Country

Renewable energy advocates are seemingly always talking about how advances in technology will *finally* make wind and solar competitive with coal, nuclear, and natural gas without taxpayer subsidies. One of their arguments is that wind facilities are becoming more productive over time, generating more of their potential output, but recent data from Lawrence Berkeley Labs shows the productivity of wind turbines fell from 2017 to 2018 in many regions of the country, including Minnesota....

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Three Things Xcel Energy Doesn’t Want You to Know About Their Massive Increase in Electricity Prices

Xcel Energy recently announced its intention to impose a massive 15.2 percent increase in electricity prices in Minnesota over the course of three years to pay for a $466 million spending spree that will pay for wind turbines, transmission lines, distribution system and nuclear plant upgrades, higher corporate profits, and erase customer savings from energy efficiency. However, the 15.3 percent is just an average. In fact, the government-approved monopoly utility is seeking to raise residential electricity rates by 17.75 percent, representing a massive increase in electricity costs for Minnesota families. Here are three things Xcel Energy doesn't want you to know...

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