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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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Groups Dispute Cost of Renewable Energies

Last week I gave a talk in St. Cloud Minnesota about the findings of our report, Doubling Down on Failure, as part of our Morning in Minnesota Breakfast series to about 50 people who were eager to learn more about why their electricity bills keep rising. I was pleasantly surprised that the St. Cloud Times sent a reporter to listen to my talk, and they published the following article about my presentation: ST. CLOUD — What does it cost to switch to renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power? Isaac Orr, a policy fellow with the Center of the American Experment, looked into the...

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Isaac Orr: Minnesota’s High Electric Bills Will Continue to Rise Higher

This article originally appeared in today's Pioneer Press. The version below is the same text, but with graphics added. Xcel Energy recently unveiled its plan to prematurely retire its coal plants and replace them with billions of dollars’ worth of wind, solar, and most importantly, natural gas. Unfortunately, Xcel’s plan will constitute a large increase in electricity costs for Minnesota families, businesses and schools, and these costs would far exceed any potential environmental benefit. Many people may not realize that Minnesota residential electric bills reached a new all-time high in 2018. In fact, these bills exceeded $103 per month for the first time ever...

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Xcel Energy CEO Made $26.2 Million in 2018 As Your Electric Bill Reached a New All-Time High

The Star Tribune recently ran a piece announcing that Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke was the third-highest paid CEO in Minnesota in 2018 with a total pay of $26.2 million for the year. This wouldn't necessarily be outrageous compensation if Xcel Energy were a private company competing for your businesses in a free market, but the fact that Xcel customers are literally forced by the government to buy their electricity from the  government-approved monopoly makes this level of compensation unconscionable. Why does the Xcel CEO get paid so much? According to the Star Tribune: "Fowke’s annual bonus is based on five factors: employee...

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Renewables Will Make Minnesota Less Energy Independent, Not More

Happy 4th of July, everyone. Today I'd like to debunk a common myth among renewable energy advocates about the impact wind and solar will have on Minnesota's energy independence. The common trope goes like this, "Minnesota doesn't have any coal, natural gas, or oil, so we should build wind turbines and solar panels to make our state less dependent on energy from other states." The first part is true, every ton of coal, drop of oil, or molecule of natural gas consumed in Minnesota must come from out of state, but that does not make the second portion of this statement true....

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Every Wind Turbine and Solar Panel Built Today Will Be Scrap Metal by 2050

Wind turbines and solar panels only last for 20 and 30 years, respectively, meaning every wind turbine and solar panel built today will be scrap metal by 2050. How can anyone who claims climate change is an "existential crisis" seriously advocate for building tomorrow's scrap metal, today?...

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Should EV Charging Stations Be Regulated as Utilities? Kentucky Joins Majority to Say ‘No,’ Minnesota Should Too

Last week, Kentucky regulators ruled that electric vehicle charging stations were not considered utilities under state law, according to Utility Dive. In doing so, Kentucky joins Iowa, Vermont and California in determining that chargers do not provide a public service in the same way that other electric services do. This makes sense, because owning an electric car is a luxury item. The graph below from the Energy Information Administration shows most electric car owners make more than $100,000. Not surprisingly, most of the household that own electric cars also have a regular car. Therefore, the argument that electric car chargers are a vital public...

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