Infrastructure

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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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…

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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…

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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…

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