Infrastructure

Energy Insecurity in Minnesota

Energy insecurity strikes too many Americans, and too many Minnesotans. More than any other reason, high utility bills force Americans turn to pay-day loans, or even out of their homes. High energy bills literally plague the poorest among us, as the stress of a looming payment and inconsistent heat leads to worse health outcomes. This…

Read More

Energy Myth: Renewables Cost More

Many folks, here in Minnesota and elsewhere, falsely believe that renewable energy simply costs more than fossil and nuclear energy. Perhaps these folks only remember when solar panels best adorned satellites and not homes. Perhaps the modest subsidies for wind and solar convince some that these technologies cannot stand on their own (nevermind the long-running…

Read More

What Can Batteries Do for You?

The United States just surpassed an important milestone, and you might not have noticed. The country’s electric grid can now store over a billion watts for one hour (1 GWh) with batteries for later use. By the end of 2018, analysts predict that capacity to double. Some even predict 50 times that within the next ten…

Read More

Time to Raise the Renewable Portfolio Standard?

Minnesota’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)—sometimes called a Renewable Energy Standard (RES)—was last updated in 2007. Most utilities have met it ahead of schedule. All but twelve states have some sort of RPS, twenty-nine of which are mandatory. Is it time for an update in Minnesota? What’s feasible? The details and progress In 2007 lawmakers codified…

Read More

The Room that Controls your Electric Sockets

The Room that Controls your Electric Sockets Did you know that a giant room in a nondescript building in Eagan, MN controls your electric sockets? Reminiscent of a scene from Dr. Strangelove, a full wall of brightly colored lines and blips and bits represents the sale and flow of electricity from Manitoba to Louisiana. Welcome…

Read More

Township Population Loss, Core City Resurgence

The pace of Minnesota’s population growth has changed over time and the geographical distribution of the state’s population has shifted, based on an analysis of county-level data presented in the first part of this series. An examination of county data, however, can overlook important population trends that are occurring within counties. The following analysis will…

Read More

Minnesota Needs a Multi-Modal Transportation System

The Center for the American Experiment (CAE) recently published a paper by Cato Institute Senior Fellow Randal O’Tool in which he blames planners at the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for Twin Cities highway congestion. The opinion paper drew comparisons to two other cities, Indianapolis and Kansas City, suggesting that Twin…

Read More

Mid-Week Reads: Intelligence and Pollution

Every week, North Star will take some time out of our schedules to bring you our favorite reads from the past week. Jeff Van Wychen The War on Stupid People Intelligence—narrowly defined in terms as the kind of “smarts” that is measured by SAT scores—is an attribute that only about one-third of Americans have, according…

Read More