MN Blows Billions!

Minnesota is blowing billions on wind power—not to mention billions more from taxpayers across the country. The state began erecting wind turbines to lower electric bills and CO2 emissions. But the result is HIGHER electricity rates and dubious CO2 reductions. When it comes to energy, Minnesota is blowing it!

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Minnesota Blows! Actually, Minnesota is a beautiful place that is home to a lot of wonderful people. But state politicians are blowing billions of dollars on wind power—and getting next to nothing in return except higher electricity costs for ratepayers, while lining the pockets of some well-connected special interest groups.

The whole fiasco is discussed in detail in a new report by the “Center of the American Experiment”. Several years back state leaders decided that it would be politically beneficial to them if the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” cut greenhouse gas emissions. The plan for achieving this goal was to erect thousands of industrial wind turbines.

When this love affair with wind energy began, the people of Minnesota were paying some of the lowest electricity rates in the nation—almost 20% less than the national average. But as more turbines began spinning, that price advantage started shrinking. By early 2017, for the first time Minnesota ratepayers were paying MORE than the national average. For this privilege, Minnesota spent an estimated $10 billion on wind turbines and billions more on upgraded transmission lines. If Minnesota had simply kept its historic electricity price advantage, ratepayers would have saved an estimated $4.4 billion over the last seven years, or roughly $1,500 for a family of four.

Let’s assume some people in Minnesota are ok with spending billions of dollars on wind power so they can feel good about substantially lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Except, that’s not what’s happening. From 2005 to 2014 Minnesota’s carbon emissions dropped by 6.6 percent. However, in this same time period America’s emissions dropped by 9.3 percent about 40 percent more than Minnesota’s!

In fact, the state’s CO2 emissions from the electric power sector in 2014 were the same as in 1990 — long before the state began investing enormous amounts of money into budget-busting turbines. There are quite a few reasons why Minnesota’s big wind spend is failing so catastrophically.

For example, most citizens are unaware that the electric grid must match supply and demand every second of the day. This means that wind energy’s inescapable, chronic intermittency is a major problem. When the wind slows down or stops another energy source—typically coal or natural gas, has to produce more electricity so the lights don’t go out. Having extra power capacity from natural gas and coal on standby is an expensive duplication of infrastructure.

And wind has another big problem. It tends to produce the most output when it’s needed least and the opposite is also true. In Minnesota the peak of electricity demand comes in August, the month when the wind doesn’t blow very much.

Then there’s the problem of location. The electricity is needed for the twin cities in the southeast part of the state, but the wind blows hardest in the western and northern regions of Minnesota so connecting the wind turbines to the electricity users has resulted in billions of dollars spent on new and upgraded transmission lines.

I know what you’re thinking. Why are Minnesota’s politicians doing this to their citizens? Well, follow the money. Big wind companies make huge profits taking advantage of generous federal subsidies and tax credits.

Big Wind’s lobbyists spend a lot of time making sales pitches to state legislators. And exactly how many lobbyists are representing the interests of Minnesota ratepayers. That’s right…not a one. Hey Minnesotans – when will you start demanding that energy policies be based on science and not be written by special interest lobbyists?

Power On America.

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  • Minnesota Blows Billions is based on the work in the following report by the Center of the American Experiment, a think tank in Minnesota. The estimates made in this report and in our video are on the conservative side. The total cost is almost certainly higher as is the cost to Minnesota ratepayers.
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  • The height of wind turbines continues to grow.
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  • A list of wind installations in the United States.
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