Infrastructure

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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A Comparative View of 2016 State Broadband Plans

This year, the Minnesota legislature is paying a lot of attention to broadband for its benefits in economic and social development. After Minnesota failed to reach its initial broadband goals, it becomes apparent that Minnesota needs to increase its investment in our telecommunication infrastructure. The House and Senate have different approaches on funding broadband infrastructure…

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Minnesota to Expand Its Broadband Grant Program

Broadband Internet access has been one of the main policy discussions in Minnesota for the past few years. Governor Dayton’s Broadband Task Force has recommended the state use public dollars to jumpstart broadband infrastructure investment. For FY2016-2017, Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith propose a $100 million in their supplemental budget for this issue, while…

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Minnesota Renewable Energy Goal is On Track

In 2007, the legislature passed a bill, called the Next Generation Energy Act, that aimed not only to reduce electricity use from fossil fuel by 15 percent by 2015, but also to increase electricity from renewable sources to 25 percent by 2025. A recent report

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Broadband Development Goals: A Right Step Forward

The importance of high-speed Internet and universally accessible broadband infrastructure is undeniable in the digital economy like today’s. It is vital infrastructure in every industry, from finance, manufacturing, and agriculture to public services like emergency dispatch, education, and health care. Broadband provides access to information, services, and opportunities to millions of people across the country,…

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