Infrastructure

North Star testimony at PUC Hearing on proposed Bitter Root wind farm

Note: below are my comments delivered at a recent public hearing hosted by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in Canby, MN on the proposed Bitter Root wind farm project, with further content added for submittal to the PUC on July 18. —————————– Your Honor, interested parties, and community members: thank you for the opportunity…

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A Tale of Two Wind Farms

On Thursday, June 28 at 6:00 pm, Minnesotans will attend two simultaneous public hearings on proposed wind energy projects in the Southwest Minnesota communities of Canby and Hendricks. The scheduling of two wind farm hearings at the exact same date and time, just 20 miles apart, speaks to the tremendous wind energy growth that is…

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Catching the Wind: New report examines the impact of local vs. non-local hiring practices on construction of Minnesota wind farms

A new report published by North Star Policy Institute finds that hundreds of new family-supporting jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic activity are at stake for Southern Minnesota communities based on imminent hiring decisions by wind energy companies and whether new projects are built by local or non-local workers. Minnesota’s wind energy economy…

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Holy Biomass, Batman!

Have you ever wondered where your garbage goes when it gets picked up from the curb? It might return to your home through the powerlines. Minnesotans burn wood chips, livestock waste, garbage, landfill gas, and more for electricity and heat. This diverse industry impacts every corner of the state in some shape or form—and controversy…

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Our Top Takeaways from the 2018 Minnesota Legislative Session

The Minnesota House and Senate adjourned late Sunday night, and brought the 2018 legislative session to a close. With Governor Mark Dayton likely to follow through on threats to veto key pieces of legislation, the complete book on the session is still being written.   Here are quick takes from North Star’s three policy experts…

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Minnesota’s Love Affair with Ethanol

Remember the last time you filled up your car at the pump. Did you notice the signage about ethanol? Even if you didn’t, you added to a segment of the Minnesota economy worth over $5 billion, and supported over 12,000 Minnesota jobs in the industry. That ethanol in your gas tank will also contribute less…

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Petroleum Refining in Minnesota

In the aftermath of a fire at the Husky Energy Superior Refinery in Superior, WI, petroleum refining has been in the news recently, with most of the focus on the safety of Minnesota refineries. There are two petroleum refineries in Minnesota and a handful of major pipelines that cross the state from oil-producing regions to…

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How Wind Benefits Minnesotans

Minnesota has been a leader in wind energy generation in the United States over the last two decades. Minnesotans adopted the technology relatively early. In 2017 Minnesota produced the 8th-most in the nation in net generation from wind energy. The wind energy industry provides thousands of good jobs to Minnesotans, cheaper electricity to millions of…

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Nuclear Power in Minnesota

Two nuclear stations in Minnesota, Monticello and Prairie Island, produced 23% of the state’s energy last year. Both were built in the 1970s. Between the three reactors at the two plants, they have a maximum capacity of 1,594 megawatts (MW)—enough to power more well more than a million homes. For those curious about how they…

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What Coal Plant Closures Mean for Minnesotans

In the last few years, several coal plants in Minnesota have either shut down their boilers, idled them, or converted them to another fuel source. These closures have followed national and international trends, where coal-fired electricity loses on cost to natural gas and renewables. What economic impacts will Minnesotans feel? The Becker, MN Sherburne County…

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