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Minnesota needs strong state policy for renewable energy


Tue, Nov 29th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

On November 15 The Department of Commerce came to Preston Minnesota and proclaimed Minnesota as “America’s Clean Energy Capital”, but they did not provide you with the entire story. Minnesota currently only generates about 3% from renewables like wind, hydropower, solar, and biomass, the other 97% comes from coal and nuclear plants.

Minnesota’s commitment to renewable electricity began in 1994 during the Prairie Island nuclear waste negotiations. The resulting legislation required Xcel Energy to install 425 megawatts of wind, with a second phase of 400 megawatts contingent on its cost effectiveness as determined by the Public Utilities Commission (it was determined to be cost effective). This legislation made Minnesota a national leader, and in the 1990s, our state was ranked second behind California in production of wind energy. Since then, because state leaders have not passed clear public policies our progress has been disappointing.

Texas installed more wind than Minnesota in 2001, and our state dropped to third. In 2002, Iowa passed Minnesota and pushed us to fourth. In 2003, six states installed more wind than Minnesota did. Minnesota now has only 600 megawatts of wind—less than the total required by the 1994 legislation. Minnesota has lost ground on renewable energy development since the 1990’s.

Texas in just a few years has developed three-times more wind than Minnesota because they have passed a Renewable Energy Standard. The Minnesota Department of Commerce has opposed such legislation, and business has lost out because of this lack of support.

By not having a Renewable Energy Standard, Minnesota has lost out on many opportunities. Since 1990, 20 states have enacted Renewable Energy Standards. Passing such legislation sends a strong signal to the renewable energy industry that these states are good sites for business

Gamesa, a wind manufacturing company, decided to invest in Pennsylvania instead of Minnesota because of Pennsylvania’s Renewable Energy Standard, and the Iron Range lost 1,000 good paying jobs. Texas passed a Renewable Energy Standard in the late 1990s. By 2001, that state had developed 913 megawatts of wind, and 2,500 people were employed in the industry. Last year, Texas passed legislation that would increase their renewable energy requirement to 5,880 megawatts, more than would be required by Minnesota’s proposed 20 perc .....
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Our leaders have failed our country on Iraq

Fri, Nov 25th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Dick Cheney said his critic’s comments were “reprehensible;” President Bush called them “irresponsible.”

Somehow those words coming from these two men remind me of those Phillip Morris commercials where the tobacco company give ..... 
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Rural schools face a critical future

Fri, Nov 11th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

The recently concluded election highlights the problems the state faces in funding education. On Tuesday, more than 80 school districts throughout Minnesota put levy referendums to their voters; another 26 districts had bond referendums. This include ..... 
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It’s time to investigate the Vice-President’s office

Fri, Nov 4th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

President George Bush did the only sensible thing he could do in the aftermath of the latest debacle to hit his administration, he nominated Samuel Alito to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. What better way to steal the front ..... 
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Hearts and Minds

Fri, Oct 7th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

The only people still supporting President Bush today are those stalwart troops hanging around the bunker - flat-earth Christians, Orange County conservatives, and the uber-rich who have come to expect unfettered access to the low-hanging fruit. Thes ..... 
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Compassionate incompetence

Fri, Sep 16th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Ah, yes, compassion.    I will give the benefit of the doubt (reluctantly) that George Bush and his administration wanted to act, that they felt some sense of duty to respond to their fellow citizens struggling in the gloom o ..... 
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Déja vu all over again

Fri, Sep 2nd, 2005
Posted in Commentary

This has been the summer of the Hollywood remake. “The Longest Yard,” “The Bad News Bears,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” are all movies with old story lines re-made with new actors and faux glitz and sold to an unsuspecting public as new e ..... 
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A case for Intelligent Design

Fri, Aug 26th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

There are some common misperceptions about the Intelligent Design (ID) theory. It is not an attempt to prove the validity of scripture. Moreover, it doesn’t even have a particularly religious basis.  Historically, the questio ..... 
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The gospel according to Pat

Fri, Aug 26th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

You’ve probably heard of the row caused by tele-evangelist Pat Robertson’s recent remarks on the 700 Club that the US should whack - to use the vernacular of Tony Soprano - as in, knock off, pop, erase, kill - Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez.[Read the Rest]
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