‘Way to go, Greenies’


By John Hinderacker, Power Line Blog.

The sad story of Minnesota’s green energy failure is one that no doubt is being replicated around the country. And one of the ironies of green energy is that it is terrible for the environment.

Liberals will tell you that Minnesota is one of the nation’s leaders in “green” energy, so its experience represents a good test: can green energy fulfill the extravagant promises made by its backers?

The answer is a resounding No, according to a blockbuster paper by our own Steve Hayward and Center of the American Experiment’s Peter Nelson. The paper, titled “Energy Policy in Minnesota: the High Cost of Failure,” can be read or downloaded at the Center’s web site.

Minnesota is a poor place for solar power, so its renewable policies have focused on wind. Minnesota has gone whole hog for wind energy, to the tune of–the Hayward/Nelson paper reveals, for the first time–approximately $15 billion. It is noteworthy that demand for electricity in Minnesota has been flat for quite a few years, so that $15 billion wasn’t spent to meet demand. Rather, it replaced electricity that already was being produced by coal, nuclear and natural gas plants.

Wind energy is intermittent and unreliable; it can only be produced when the wind is blowing within certain parameters, and cannot be stored at scale. It is expensive and inefficient, and therefore patently inferior to nuclear, coal and natural gas-powered electricity, except in one respect–its “greenness.” That greenness consists of not emitting carbon dioxide. So, for $15 billion, Minnesota must have bought a dramatic reduction in the state’s CO2 emissions, right?

Wrong. As the Hayward/Nelson paper shows, that massive investment hasn’t even made a dent. This chart shows total CO2 emissions from the state, by sector, from 1990 through 2014. There was a slight dip in 2012 and 2013 not because of wind power, but because an accident put one of the state’s major coal-fired units out of commission for two years:

Minnesota’s massive investment in wind power has reduced CO2 emissions from the electricity generation sector slightly, but that reduction has been below average compared with the nation as a whole. Why? Because the most effective way to reduce CO2 emissions, if you think that is a worthy goal, has been to replace coal with natural gas. Wind power has many defects, one of which is that it is windiest in the spring and fall, when demand for electricity is at its low ebb, and least windy in the summer and winter, when electricity demand peaks. So what fills those gaps? In Minnesota, coal does.

So Minnesota’s colossal investment in wind energy has been a total failure, in its own terms–a failure for which the state’s consumers and businesses have paid dearly. Historically, Minnesota enjoyed the advantage of relatively cheap electricity. Generally, electricity prices were around 18% lower in Minnesota than the national average. This was a big deal in a state where some other costs–e.g., the price of heating your home in the winter–were inevitably higher than average.

So what has happened to that 18% price discount during the years when billions have been spent on windmills and transmission lines? It has disappeared. In fact, 2017 is the first year on record in which the price of electricity in Minnesota is above the national average. Way to go, greenies.


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October 18, 2017 4:21 pm

Griff to the rescue-trip-stumble-FACEPLANT in 3……………..2…………………………………………1 3/4……………………………………………………………………………..

October 18, 2017 4:22 pm

approximately $15 billion

..and Minnesota spends ~ $20 billion on education and ~ $15 billion on health care (one of the lowest in the country)
That $15 billion could have been put to good use

Santa Baby
Reply to  Latitude
October 18, 2017 11:14 pm

A marxist does not accept The culture, economic system and legal system/laws that has been handel down to us trough history. They are not naive or stupid when wasting a lot of money on ideas that do not work. They are evil?

Brian Stendel
Reply to  Santa Baby
October 23, 2017 9:25 pm

Don’t fix what ain’t broke.

Reply to  Latitude
October 19, 2017 7:34 pm

Not really.
I say that billions more on the epic fails of socialized healthcare & leftist versions of ‘education’ is not putting money to “good use”.
How about simply returning the money to Minnesota taxpayers & let them decide?

Bruce Cobb
October 18, 2017 4:27 pm

Yabut, think of all the virtue signaling 15 $bil buys.

October 18, 2017 4:28 pm

I wonder if the manufacture of all those wind turbines was undertaken in Minnesota, or out of state, or even, God forbid, in China.

Where does all the concrete come from to provide the foundations for these things? Minnesota? I hope so, although that in itself must cause an enormous amount of atmospheric CO2, not that I believe increased atmospheric CO2 is in any way harmful.

Does Minnesota also have it’s own copper mining and smelting facilities to provide the miles of cables turbine farms require, or is that particular piece of CO2 saving technology offshored?

Where do the resin and composites required to form the blades come from, never mind the steel and aluminium for the towers themselves.

It’s all very well the greens lauding these things as ‘free’ energy until the costs of production, installation and maintenance are considered. Then they turn into an environmental nightmare.

Reply to  HotScot
October 18, 2017 11:43 pm

Yes, outsourcing jobs in general to China is the main reason that western economies have been able to reduce their CO2 bottom line.

There was a slight dip in 2012 and 2013 not because of wind power, but because an accident put one of the state’s major coal-fired units out of commission for two years:

It would have been better if the article managed to say over what period the 15bn was spent so it could be compared to the graph ! However, the biggest and most obvious drop was in 2008 and like everywhere else was due to the crash. That only now seems to be picking back up at bit.

Reply to  Greg
October 19, 2017 9:35 am

“outsourcing jobs in general to China is the main reason that western economies have been able to reduce their CO2”

Hence the reason for the green hypocrisy coming from China. They’re all for a green economy, as long as they’re the primary beneficiary. On the plus side, China seems to see the wisdom of Capitalism, to bad the West can’t see this through the fog of alarmism.

Reply to  HotScot
October 19, 2017 9:08 am

HotScot the turbines are made out of country and are shipped by boat to Duluth then offloaded to trains of semi’s to be trucked to the wind farms. I live near Duluth and have seen this in action. Rather ridiculous sight to see them trying to manuever through the streets of Duluth with the darn blades. Not to mention the fact that they CUT down a forest in west central Minnesota to build one of their wind farms. Meanwhile they are doing everything they can to retire (i.e. close) coal fired plants as fast as they can. Which is foolish since due to the intermittence of wind energy they need to have the power plants running in stand by mode for when the wind fails. The important thing is that Minnesota can pat itself on the back for being Green. (sarc. alert)

Dave Fair
Reply to  Lenore
October 19, 2017 11:45 am

It would be interesting to see how much electric energy is being imported from other States. Internal hydropower production?

Additionally, what is the capacity of interstate electric transmission interconnections? That is important because Minnesota will need large amounts of external power production if they retire significant thermal generation assuming wind replacement.

October 18, 2017 4:32 pm

CO2 costs for building and installing giant wind machines are almost never talked about or figured in the green calculations.
They must be.
Lose, lose, lose.

Btw–have you seen any retired AND disassembled or recycled?

Reply to  Bob Bevard
October 18, 2017 5:16 pm

The only profit that will ever be made with the giant wind machines, are the metal salvage companies that will have to be contracted to dismantle these monstrosities.

Reply to  pyeatte
October 18, 2017 9:01 pm

Yeah, and it will be the same companies that profited when they installed them.

Digging ditches and filling them in is a great earner for scurrilous and vile humans, as electronic entities create all the wealth these days.

Geoffrey Preece
Reply to  Bob Bevard
October 18, 2017 11:10 pm

Google it, it is not hard to find “talk” about it.

Reply to  Geoffrey Preece
October 20, 2017 9:30 pm

Not by the folks who build, sell, install, politicize, or proselytize about them.
I personally believe CO2 is a life-giving gas, but for the folks who argue that it is killing the planet~their solution(s) certainly ought to NOT cost more CO2 than the amount it will technically replace during the equipment lifetime operation.

Reply to  Bob Bevard
October 20, 2017 12:36 pm

Texas Law Review, 2016, [ Vol.95-123 ]

Re: Decommissioning costs UK and US.

‘Wind Energy’s Dirty Word: Decommissioning’, 29 pages


Reply to  Barbara
October 21, 2017 5:14 pm

‘Importance Of Decommissioning Security’, 2010, 6 pages

Re: Wind turbine decommissioning legal information.


Might be slow download and this article is also online.

Reply to  Barbara
October 22, 2017 1:22 pm

Macalester College, St.Paul, Minn.

Re: Decommissioning

Original Questions: 20 Decommissioning Questions, 3 pages

20 Questions at:

I Came I Saw I Left
October 18, 2017 4:34 pm

Check out what major hurricanes do to solar farms


Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
October 18, 2017 4:41 pm

Nature hates solar farms. ;->

Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
October 18, 2017 4:43 pm

no, see, now that’s the line of argument that would prevail

Sun Spot
Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
October 18, 2017 4:45 pm

Yup and that’s how all the solar power sprawl will look in ten years!

Sun Spot
Reply to  Sun Spot
October 18, 2017 4:45 pm

Solar and windmills are fragile

Reply to  Sun Spot
October 18, 2017 5:11 pm

We need windmills made out of solar panels. Win win…

Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
October 18, 2017 5:29 pm

The irony is that the Carribean is one of the few places where Wind power is nearly constant.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
October 18, 2017 7:37 pm

Can’t be real photos. Griff will tell you that properly constructed solar panels will not only withstand hurricanes but provide power immediately after!

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
October 18, 2017 8:12 pm

If not during. 🙂

old construction worker
Reply to  Michael Jankowski
October 19, 2017 4:35 am

You don’t understand job security and feather bedding.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
October 19, 2017 9:15 am

The panels themselves may survive (doubt it) but the supporting structures surely didn’t. I doubt very much if any engineering was applied to these installations to determine loads/strengths, environmental factors, etc.
They were obviously NOT overbuilt with adequate margins.
And trying to clean up such a mess with some panels still functioning and energizing whatever wiring remnants exist will not be easy or fun.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
October 19, 2017 1:26 pm

old construction worker
I suggest that local troll Griff does, indeed, understand “job security” – if not feather bedding.

Well, in a Republican Presidency, it is important that all adults have a job.
[Less so under the likes of Clinton, obviously, as state and federal gifts – don’t ask whose dollars they are! – will supplement incomes]
That basis, Griff is doing his [questionable, may I say?] best – assuming he is over 16, even if – possibly – still living with parents [or grandparents].

He is at least employed.

Many here may think his putative employer stinks to High Holborn, or worse.
But – Griffie has a job.

Almost – not quite – admiring Griff’s Chutzpah.

And, to declare an interest, I retired two and a half months ago, so now do not have a job.
Just pensions kicking in over the next eighteen months.

richard verney
Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
October 19, 2017 1:17 am

And windfarms also do not stand up well to hurricanes. See Puerto Rico:

Or even just a storm ,as in Denmark. See this one, it is good for a laugh:

Just to labour the point:

richard verney
Reply to  richard verney
October 19, 2017 1:21 am

For all those that claim that these monstrosities do not kill birds, see the the following (second clip starting at 40 seconds):

Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
October 19, 2017 1:59 am

Even before Irma, solar panels were competing with plants for land. Not green in my books.

Tom in Denver
Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
October 19, 2017 6:28 am

That Solar Farm was a blight on the landscape before the storm. How much debris was created from these panels and how much secondary damage did this debris cause?

In warm wet climates, solar panels are displacing natural plant life (nature’s solar generators) in order to put up these monstrosities. At best it’s a zero sum gain.

At least solar panels in a Desert can claim nothing else grew there.

Reply to  Tom in Denver
October 19, 2017 9:18 am

Um…there is a LOT of life in the deserts. Simply because you cannot see lots of vegetation does not mean the environment is sterile.
Robbing it of its primary source of energy does not come without cost.

Reply to  Tom in Denver
October 19, 2017 7:42 pm

Millions of birds of all types are killed yearly in the US alone by these windmills, see:
‘Wind turbines are actually slaughtering millions of birds and bats annually”

Reply to  Tom in Denver
October 20, 2017 5:28 pm

rocketscientist – you are so right. My buddies and I enjoy going out into the California desert to to shoot. It’s safe – nothing to burn. Except we learned we can’t use tracers, because – I don’t believe it, there is scraggly weeds that somehow catch fire. In fact, we’ve learned we can’t shoot normal ammo – .223 – on a hot day. Hits a rock, and bingo – we’re running downrange to put out fires with shovels, axes, fire extinguisher, and precious water.

Maybe the Sahara is different. The American deserts have too many plants that are ready to burn in a second.

Dave Fair
Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
October 19, 2017 11:50 am

Ya, but that might only happens every 10 years or so.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Dave Fair
October 19, 2017 11:53 am

Meaning hurricane damage.

Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
October 20, 2017 4:19 am

ah yes but the hurricanes were caused by warming the atmosphere by CO2 released by burning coal in power stations —weren’t they (sarc)

October 18, 2017 4:39 pm

I’m sure some Green will be along shortly to explain the problem is Minnesota didn’t do it right. If they had invested an additional $15 billion it would have all been fine. Or maybe an extra $30 billion.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 18, 2017 4:50 pm

You don’t save a sinking ship by pouring in more water, but that doesn’t stop them from trying.

Reply to  drednicolson
October 18, 2017 5:00 pm

Well, they are drilling holes in the ship to drain the water …

October 18, 2017 4:42 pm

How many raptors, song birds and bats have they killed? Oh, that is right they have a “take permit” from USWFS makes everything OK. Sure killing more birds each year, even having a few go extinct, is an acceptable trade off for saving the planet from CAGW. Of course energy used to create and maintain the wind turbines came from renewable sources, Oh, wait it didn’t. I did a bit of research for a political friend some decade or so ago. At the time most of the components for wind turbines were either from Europe or from China though like cars today assembled in America with a US corporate label. My political friend point out that the parts certainly didn’t ship here on wind powered transport.

Reply to  Edwin
October 18, 2017 5:14 pm

How much disruption is there in autumn and spring migrations because of these things?

Reply to  Edwin
October 18, 2017 6:46 pm
Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:02 pm

Well, I am really skeptical of this graphic. Who made up these numbers?

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:13 pm

Now look at deaths PER for each.

And btw,….. that study was a load of cherry-picked extrapolated garbage. !

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:14 pm

You really need to change your name to TotallyGullible.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:20 pm

How many owls, hawks and bald eagles fly into windows or are brought down by cats?

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:37 pm

Yeh, right! 10 trillion windows, a few thousand(?) wind turbines

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:40 pm

Something is amiss. Neither the “communications” nor “windows” bars are zeroed. Seems…well, fake.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 10:36 pm

Yes, but windows serve a useful purpose.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 19, 2017 3:00 am

Would that be Windows 8 or 10, and what about Macs?

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 19, 2017 8:41 am

Usual irrelevant response by those who do not understand reality. If storms kill more people than people kill people, should we ignore people killing people? That’s your argument. If anything kills more birds than turbines, we can kill all the birds we want with turbines. As long as it’s not the “most”.

The REAL problem here is the same people to demanded DDT be outlawed because of thinning bird eggs are now putting up arial cuisinarts to take out the very same birds they demanded be saved. It’s NOT about saving the world, the birds, or anything of the sort. It’s about getting one’s on way and destroying capitalism. That’s ALL it is. Enviros would kill every bird on the planet if it got them to their ultimate goal.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 19, 2017 10:58 am

So the creator of the above estimates purports that about 2,500,000 birds are killed by windows every single day, 28 birds obliterated each and every second? Mang, it’s hard to believe there are any birds left in places where windows exist with an imagination like that.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 20, 2017 8:53 am

Windows kill someplace between 100 million and 980 million birds annually… probably. If it’s 540 +- 440 million… wow.. that’s useful “information” They might as well just say, “no freaking clue.”

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 25, 2017 5:14 pm

mostly, they knock themselves out on the windows…just long enough for our cat to get to them, if he is outside then.

Tom in Denver
Reply to  Edwin
October 19, 2017 6:33 am

Yes Edwin, this is the real “Silent Spring”. At least DDT decreased mosquito born diseases.

Reply to  Tom in Denver
October 19, 2017 7:42 am

DDT never harmed birds.
Eagle populations started recovering years before DDT was banned. Right after hunting of eagles was banned.

October 18, 2017 4:54 pm

There should be an awards trophy for the worst jurisdiction. I nominate Ontario.

Matt Bergin
Reply to  BallBounces
October 19, 2017 5:04 am

BB As an Ontario resident I will second that nomination. Under the liberals Ontario has gone from the main economic engine for Canada to a “have not province” in less that 20 years.

Reply to  Matt Bergin
October 19, 2017 12:44 pm

I will third that nomination!

October 18, 2017 4:57 pm

The citizens of Minnesota can be grateful they aren’t in Canada. link The Liberal governments in Ontario have taken a godawful mess and made it much much worse by adding stupid climate policies to the mix. They’ve had to back off the price of electricity by 25% to avoid certain electoral defeat. Now they will only probably be defeated. In the process, they’ve punted the problems into the future without dealing with them. There’s a special place in hell for craven politicians.

Reply to  commieBob
October 18, 2017 9:29 pm

Given Ontario Liberals imposed Castro Jr on the rest of Canada, I’m afraid we can only laugh.

Matt Bergin
Reply to  MarkG
October 19, 2017 5:08 am

I live here and I am not laughing. You Americans are getting your country back. I’m sitting here watching my country being thrown away. There aren’t enough tears left to cry.

Reply to  commieBob
October 19, 2017 8:42 am

A crowded special place, no doubt.

Dave Fair
Reply to  commieBob
October 19, 2017 11:58 am

How did the politicians “… back off the price of electricity by 25% …?”

Reply to  commieBob
October 19, 2017 12:51 pm

Just to underline the relevancy of your comment, here’s a transcript of Lawyer Alan Whitely, where he refers to that punting as a ‘Ponzi’ scheme. https://ccsage.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/ccsage-lawyer-alan-whiteley-addresses-the-standing-committee-on-justice-policy-regarding-bill-132/

October 18, 2017 5:21 pm

Several years ago, Minnesota sued to prevent coal-generated electricity entering the state from North Dakota. Dirty electricity???????

October 18, 2017 5:23 pm

White collar theft that the public is continually paying for . Ontario politicians have sold out their citizens for the biggest fraud in history . Broken gas plant contracts and subsidies to their donor pals have screwed generations of citizens but mainly the poor and middle class . These people shouldn’t be kicked out of office they should be behind bars .
Ontario used to be justifiably proud of their diverse manufacturing capacity .that has been frittered away by Liberal hacks who couldn’t organize a pee up at a brewery .
Do the right thing Ontario fire those losers before you are fully in the have not province category .

October 18, 2017 5:28 pm

What was it Obama said early on in his Presidency… “Under my plan… electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

October 18, 2017 5:30 pm

If you think that wind and solar are expensive, just wait until you get the bill for the battery storage that will supposedly convert intermittent unreliable renewables into base load power. It can’t be be financially done given that even the best battery storage technology available today could not feasibly back up 12 hours worth of renewables for an entire state let a lone an entire continent if Mexico and Canada were to join in. A bit of simple arithmetic could answer that question, but I doubt the resources like Cobalt or Lithium are available in quantities that would be needed without raising their price that would make them uneconomic for EV’s. We will soon find out with the 100 MW Tesla battery in SA, OZ.

If this experiment with renewables and storage must continue, then I propose that storage (batteries) be nixed from this scheme, and consider HVDC transmission lines from east to west and vice versa, and time shift renewables east and west 2-3 states/provinces to where the wind is blowing and the sun is shining somewhere in that large geographic footprint. Plus demand load 1000 miles east or west would be accommodated for peak times locally, so as the wind blowing at 4 Am in Minnesota is priced prime time and available to where peak demand times are a 1000 miles away to the east at breakfast. Sourcing all generation onto this super HVDC grid would balance out the unreliable renewables, and utilize hydro and nat gas for any required peaking on this super grid.

I know this is fairly simplistic and still may not work, but would still be better than storage batteries at grid scale. Electricty has to be used real time without the inefficiencies of storage losses or cost of these grid scale battery banks. We need the HVDC grid sooner or later when we will have to adopt nuclear (maybe fusion) at some point, so spending money on a HVDC grid now would not be money mis-spent. It would be infrastructure we will need for the next 100 years, since I don’t think anything will ever replace electricity as the best form of energy for most of our long term economy. New York City already gets a big chunk of its electricity from Hydro Quebec through HVDC transmission lines fairly efficiently from 1000 miles+ distant near James Bay, so technically this already works very well with minimal losses. All the current AC grids would plug and play independently into the main HVDC grid, meaning if a local AC grid goes down, the remaining HVDC grid stays operational and their subsequent AC connected grids elsewhere. No cascading black out like the 2003 power outage that cost a lot of grief. For a tree branch and alarm that didn’t work.

Since we are discussing science fiction with renewables saving the world, I thought I would throw this in the mix for fun. Although we really will require the HVDC grid sooner or later, and preferably Ultra (U)HVDC for the future of electricity transmission, no matter how the electricity is generated. Getting the Right of Ways approved would be a herculean task and take many years, so something we should consider and pursue while we still can.

Reply to  Earthling2
October 18, 2017 5:55 pm

Manitoba has invested 15 billion in hydro, and another few billions to build a transmission line to Minneapolis. The wind power will be 100% backed up by hydro, if needed. The foil is NG power. A rate of 8 cents per kwhr is likely for the backup. The wind power will be more expensive. Overall the mix should work.

Reply to  sailboarder
October 19, 2017 7:46 am

Only if there is sufficient hydro.

Dave Fair
Reply to  sailboarder
October 19, 2017 12:03 pm

CA relies on Pacific NW hydropower. Look at the variability of that source; precipitation is not constant year on year.

The Reverend Badger
Reply to  Earthling2
October 19, 2017 1:13 am

You cannot (currently) construct an economically viable HVDC grid. The concept of HVDC transmission works in certain cases because the very long distance transmission of AC costs more (losses) than DC after a certain distance, so for a 1000m link the capital and running costs & losses of the AC/DC converters is offset by the per mile transmission cost saving.
An HVDC GRID would require numerous AC/DC converters which are very expensive and likely to become more expensive as you add more to a grid owing to stability requirements in running multiple converters second by second while maintaining balance in power flow and ac frequency stability and sync.
In the absence of a substantial component of rotary generation on the ac load side of the link you are going to have a real problem in maintaining frequency stability.Technology needs to move a long way on this before we can even consider HVDC grids as viable, probably going to have to go for a paradigm shift in the design of the AC/DC converters.
I am going to polish my Mercury Ignitrons this evening to remind me of the PSU we had on the Cyclotron!

Matt Bergin
Reply to  The Reverend Badger
October 19, 2017 5:16 am

The Reverend Badger
I though I was the only person left who knew what an ignitron was. I actually still use Ignitrons on one of the welders at work. They have been in use for at least 50 years and still going strong. We tried to replace them with solid state but after a few years we put them back in. Far more reliable.

Reply to  The Reverend Badger
October 19, 2017 9:41 am

You can’t beat ignitrons if you need to conduct KAmps of current very fast… Same goes for high-power RF – if you want 100kW and higher, it’s vacuum tubes all the way.

Reply to  The Reverend Badger
October 19, 2017 6:35 pm

The biggest problem with HVDC in outdoor situations it provides a driver to corrosion and electrolysis. It’s worth reading the report from what is now almost 20 years of data from China and it’s numerous HVDC systems
You will note that China has had to re-engineer all of there systems and now almost everything is designed and built in China replacing what was a largely German/USA design.

It’s a whole learning curve and need proper analysis for any proposed sites which really does check the real costs of everything.

Reply to  Earthling2
October 19, 2017 7:45 am

The purpose of that expensive battery storage is not to provide 12 hours of backup power, it’s to provide 15 minutes of power needed to get fossil fuel plants up to full power.
So you need to pay for wind/solar. Batteries. Fossil fuel plants.
Even worse, the amount of fossil fuel power capacity needs to be large enough to carry the load all by itself. In other words, you are going to be building the same number of fossil fuel plants regardless of whether you spend anything on wind/solar/battery or not.
So save the money, just build the fossil fuel plants.

Reply to  MarkW
October 19, 2017 8:47 am

Wind and solar have always required building two plants where one would suffice. It’s why people who understand math and economics oppose the idea. If we required people to buy a $100,000 car they could only drive on sunny days or windy days, then a $50,000 car they could drive any time, there would be outrage. However, take tax money, label the whole thing “earth friendly” and people rush in to support it. If human beings could only think…

October 18, 2017 5:39 pm

Way they go… Still can’t grasp the cruel unsympathetic human aspect.

October 18, 2017 5:47 pm

“an accident put one of the state’s major coal-fired units out of commission for two years”
So not stable after all, that coal stuff. Two years down.
Hmmm. What sort of accident could put wind or solar out for 2 years.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:15 pm

“could put wind or solar out for 2 years.”

Removing subsidies and feed-in mandates. ! 🙂

Nigel S
Reply to  AndyG55
October 18, 2017 11:24 pm

RS walked into that one.

Reply to  AndyG55
October 19, 2017 1:30 am

Poor totallygullible twerp is in a permanent face-plant !!

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:27 pm

A sunset. Those darned things put solar out of commission every night for the foreseeable future.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:53 pm

“What sort of accident could put wind or solar out for 2 years.”

Tornadoes. Katabatic wind storms and derechos with gusts up to 125MPH. Lightning strikes. Freezing rain in a blizzard coupled with thundersnow strikes on the motors.

Those are just a few, “really skeptical”.

Maybe you should get out of your shoebox once in a while and visit the real world, where the wind blows across open spaces, strong enough to knock you down.

Reply to  Sara
October 19, 2017 7:49 am


I Came I Saw I Left
Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 19, 2017 4:59 am

During every 4 years solar will be offline for a minimum total of 2 years. The coal plant 2-year offline event was anomalous.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 19, 2017 7:48 am

How long will it take to get Puerto Rico’s wind and solar back to full capacity?

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 19, 2017 7:48 am

PS wind and solar have their accidents daily, if not hourly.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 19, 2017 8:51 am

It takes at least 6 months to install wind and solar (depending on the size of the installation), and that’s after someone supplies the cash for the turbines, installation, removal of dead turbines, etc. If the usual pace of wind installation is followed, five years or so may be about right from start of getting money to actually having a turbine produce electricity. I’m counting “accidents” to include acts of weather, since wind and solar are energy from weather. Disruption in weather is an “accident” destroying wind and solar. A hurricane is to wind and solar as a plant explosion is to coal or gas.

Reply to  Sheri
October 19, 2017 11:46 am

Clean up at the solar arrays may have to be conducted only on moonless nights. Lots of energized cables laying on the ground.

Edward Katz
October 18, 2017 5:50 pm

If Minnesota wanted greener electricity, all it had to do is buy more hydro power from Manitoba Hydro, with whom it already has a contract with.

Reply to  Edward Katz
October 18, 2017 6:33 pm

Manitoba Hydro also uses a HVDC transmission line from its generation assets up on the Nelson River which empties into James Bay. That line too is close to 1000 miles long with very acceptable losses where it connects near Winnipeg to local AC grids and also to North Dakota and Minnesota and points south. Hard to beat reliable large Hydro with its massive storage and ability to follow large peaking loads. Hydro works fairly well with unreliable renewables, except for river ramping flows. This will be the next environmental challenge for hydro power from the left.

October 18, 2017 5:55 pm

“Generally, electricity prices were around 18% lower in Minnesota than the national average. This was a big deal in a state where some other costs–e.g., the price of heating your home in the winter–were inevitably higher than average.”

Do people in MN heat their homes with electricity?

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 6:55 pm

Mostly natural gas

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:36 pm

We do, but we are in Washington State where it only gets to -15°F; and that isn’t but about 1 in 4 years.
-5 is more common; just above zero still more common.
But isn’t that the idea — to heat with green energy, that is, wind and solar?

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
October 18, 2017 7:57 pm

Well, it depends on what kind of house you have and whether or not you can take advantage of solar heat in the winter, doesn’t it? I do, but it’s got to do with how my house is set up.

My house has a large bay window facing south. That puts a lot of solar heat into the living room. Since my house is small, it maintains a steady state of heat during the day, because I leave the blinds open. I shut them at night. The furnace hardly runs at all during the day in the winter, if I have sunshine. Good insulation helps hold in the heat, too.

I Came I Saw I Left
Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 19, 2017 5:10 am

The point was that it’s all paid for with $. So those who paid less for electricity, but more for heat will be hit harder in the wallet having to pay more for electricity. Thus a big deal.

October 18, 2017 6:00 pm

Too bad this article leaves out so much, like what portion of the electricity came from wind.
MN generated 18% of its electricity from wind in 2016. That’s 18% that did not generate CO2.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:15 pm

Yea. That’s too bad. CO2 is such a good thing in our atmosphere.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:32 pm

That’s 18% that required spinning reserves, thus negating the vast majority of the supposed “benefit”.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 18, 2017 7:38 pm

MN generated 18% of its electricity from wind in 2016.

This is meaningless. Electricity has to be generated when it is needed. Wind only generates when the wind blows which often times has no relationship to when it is needed. See Ontario selling wind generated power to New York and Michigan at negative prices.

Reply to  reallyskeptical
October 19, 2017 1:32 am

And that 18% in NO WAY makes up for even a fraction of the CO2 and poisonous chemicals used and released in manufacturing and installing these worthless monstrosities.

October 18, 2017 6:05 pm

comment image

October 18, 2017 6:08 pm

Here in northern CA I am going solar only because of increasing energy costs. I could care less about any CO2 I spare the environment. Plus, if things get crazy, I will always have electricity available during the daylight hours (also putting in a battery backup). We have lots of sunlight up here so it should work out OK.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  JohninRedding
October 18, 2017 7:23 pm

Even with increasing energy costs, it can only compete because you are (perhaps unwittingly) taking advantage of your neighbors who are forced by threat of jail time into helping you pay for it.

Capn Mike
Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
October 18, 2017 7:54 pm

There is justification if he wants off-grid earthquake or storm backup. That’s about it. But, it’s well worth it if you’re in the boonies.

October 18, 2017 6:26 pm

I have not seen Griff come blasting in on this posting yet. It must be so Green-Embarrassing that it is Griff-Proof.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
October 19, 2017 9:39 am

He is at work at his part time fast food job.

October 18, 2017 6:34 pm

I like this note [at the linked report]:
[T]he intermittency of wind and solar PV
[photovoltaics] means that systems that are
heavily reliant on them must be significantly
larger than conventional systems; this
increases their cost and capital requirements
dramatically. . . Efforts to promote an all- (or
nearly all-) renewables future are, in effect, a
commitment to building the largest electric
power system possible. It might be better to
start from the presumption that the smallest
power system that meets our needs is likely to
be the most efficient, and have the least social
and environmental impact.

October 18, 2017 6:48 pm

These alternative energy scams are on the way out. Trying to kick a big industry that’s full of corruption out of a government trough, takes time.

Oklahoma’s Former Governor: Subsidised Wind Power a Multi-Billion Dollar Mistake

As Mark Twain put it: “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” And, even when the dupe accepts his folly, sorry seems to be the hardest word.
Frank Keating was governor of Oklahoma 1995-2003 and is responsible for its wind power calamity, as he calls it.
Uncharacteristically of a modern politician, Keating taps into that fast disappearing virtue – grace – not only admitting that he was fooled, but sincerely apologising for the harm caused to Okies and their State.


Geoffrey Preece
October 18, 2017 6:48 pm

Electricity generation in Minnesota has had a 17% reduction in greenhouse gases 2005 to 2014. That also means a reduction in air pollution and the detrimental environmental health effects on humans of burning fossil fuels. https://www.pca.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/lraq-2sy17.pdf
The paper that this post relies upon, mixes other parts in to the renewable energy debate. The other parts are just as important, but they are not, directly speaking, renewable electricity.

Reply to  Geoffrey Preece
October 18, 2017 7:41 pm

Well then Geoffrey, why don’t we just eliminate all air pollution and the detrimental environmental health effect on humans by immediately stopping all burning of fossil fuels. Then, as we all die of starvation , exposure, disease, social anarchy and untreated injuries from no longer having accessible food and medical care, we can feel good that our air (which hasn’t been much of a problem in this country for decades) is now a little cleaner.

What is the cost of making clean air just a tiny bit cleaner?

Geoffrey Preece
Reply to  jclarke341
October 18, 2017 9:09 pm

Jclarke341, that is ridiculous hyperbole that has no relevance to anything that I said.

Reply to  jclarke341
October 19, 2017 5:41 am

How dare you take Geoffrey’s underlying assumptions and extrapolate them out to their logical conclusion! ;]

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Geoffrey Preece
October 18, 2017 8:02 pm

Your link doesn’t reflect electricity generation “in Minnesota.” As it notes in multiple places, it is also including imported electricity and credits changes in fuel sources for part of the reduction in power-related GHG reductions. So Minnesota gets to take credit for the work of other states without having that included in the ridiculous $15B.

Reply to  Geoffrey Preece
October 18, 2017 8:12 pm

The paper that this post relies upon, mixes other parts in to the renewable energy debate.

The grid is a system. As such, you cannot treat parts of the system in isolation as if they had no effect on other parts of the system.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Geoffrey Preece
October 18, 2017 9:09 pm

Electricity generation in Minnesota has had a 17% reduction in greenhouse gases 2005 to 2014. That also means a reduction in air pollution and the detrimental environmental health effects on humans of burning fossil fuels.

Not if the fossil fuel was natural gas. And not if nuclear was an alternative.

Reply to  Geoffrey Preece
October 19, 2017 7:53 am

What detrimental health effects?
Power plant emissions were cleaned up 40 years ago.

October 18, 2017 6:59 pm

I believe Excel energy took 40 acres of green space in MN to install solar panels. I have no problem with people putting them on their homes and businesses, but to take 40 acres away from nature?


Reply to  Doug
October 19, 2017 7:54 am

“I have no problem with people putting them on their homes and businesses”
Agree. but only so long as I’m not being forced to help pay for it.

Reply to  Doug
October 19, 2017 8:56 am

While I understand your sentiment, living in a state people call “desolate”, I am angered that people think they can just dump useless wind on the state because it’s worthless. I don’t like trees and forests much, but I don’t advocate cutting them down and putting in turbines. Wind is dumped on places where there are few people to fight back, sending the message that these people are useless and their homes and lifestyles are useless.

October 18, 2017 8:09 pm

Just an observation based on personal experience. Solar heat for a dwelling only works on an individual bases. Ditto, solar cells as electricity generating resources, and for windspinners, also. Mother Earth News had plenty of plans for people who wanted to go off the grid and generate their own electricity. The magazine also published plans for solar ovens and stoves. I can get a couple of 55-gallon oil drums, cut them in half, mount them on a suitable pole with bearings to keep them spinning in any wind, or just use the old-fashioned farm windmill, and I can generate enough electricity to run MY house on a day-to-day basis. I can also use my house as a heat collector, simply because it’s built to do that and has the right insulation for it.


The nonsense that it works on an industrial scale, with no nod to the cost of production of equipment or testing and construction, results in exactly what is going on now in Oz, with people unable to pay for their utilities, going without electricity and/or heat when they need it most. What’s next? Shutting down hospitals in the middle of surgery because the hospital can’t pay the bills for power?

The fact that it works on an individual basis does not mean that it translates well to an industrial scale.

Now you see the consequences of ignoring the real facts.

It works for ME, but not for THEE, power companies.

Reply to  Sara
October 19, 2017 8:56 am

Very well said, Sara.

J Mac
October 18, 2017 8:18 pm

What greater good could this $15 Billion have produced? We will never know.
$15 Billion…. Dust in the wind.

Reply to  J Mac
October 18, 2017 8:59 pm

J Mac wrote:”What greater good could this $15 Billion have produced? We will never know.
$15 Billion…. Dust in the wind.”

The global warming mob has caused the waste of tens of trillions of dollars worldwide. Imagine how much good this could have done if spent responsibly by intelligent people. instead of being squandered by scoundrels and imbeciles.

Reply to  Allan MacRae
October 19, 2017 7:55 am

This was Bjorn Lomborg’s point.
For the money that has been spent on windmills and solar, we could have provided clean water to every man woman and child on the planet.

Reply to  J Mac
October 20, 2017 7:26 pm

True, but the Greenbeans won’t stop pounding this into the ground until there is nothing left of it. I want to see THEM with no heat in winter, no lights at night all year ’round, and no air conditioning in the summer/ (I haven’t had to use my A/C for four years now, because of cooler summers.) I want to see THEM going without basics, like food and water because they can’t afford the cost.
We all might as well move THEM back to the 18th century, or earlier, before oil lamps were used, just to let them know exactly where THEY are heading us.

October 18, 2017 9:35 pm

What kind of a heartless American isn’t willing to spend another 18 cents/kw hr to SAVE THE PLANET from BIG OIL, BIG COAL … and the BIG ORANGE imposter in the White House … /sarc.

October 19, 2017 2:00 am

Wind power accounts for 18% of Minnesota’s power supply. So there is enough that one would think it would have an effect. One reason it probably doesn’t is that even when the wind blows, backup, fast reacting power stations need to be idling, and are open cycle gas power generators – which respond quickly, as required if the wind suddenly lessons, but are the most fuel intensive nat gas generators – they burn as much fuel idling as closed circuit nat gas generators use while providing power. This should be detectable by research. You’d think understanding how a grid operates would be an essential before mucking things up. I remember back before wind turbines were widespread,that a study of Minnesota’s grid by some university (Minnesota I believe) claimed that Minnesota could incorporate as much as ,I think, 40% wind power and still operate without interruptions. The question they should have been asked was what would be the side effects and total cost would be.

Reply to  arthur4563
October 19, 2017 7:57 am

You can skip the idling if you have enough batteries to supply the time for a cold start.
Of course that adds even more billions to the cost of your system.

Reply to  arthur4563
October 19, 2017 8:58 am

As long as electricity is invisible and mixed on the grid, people will not understand this. The uselessness of wind is only apparent when the line to the grid is cut.

Reply to  arthur4563
October 20, 2017 2:49 pm

Because of its availabilty, CNG power plants have converted local grids to a point where they supassed coal fired plants as a source of electricity. CNG pipelines provide the energy to heat homes and power cars and trucks; making it the fuel of choice CNG power plants can come on line in 7 sec. Power generation can be local and gas pipelines are a below ground transport as opposed to huge electric line corridors.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Frank J. Heller
October 20, 2017 4:42 pm

Frank, a few years back I was aware of small-scale, high-efficiency CT’s. They were being used at office towers, apartment complexes,etc.

What do you know about their deployment?

October 19, 2017 3:21 am

I spent over 6 years in south Minnesota and there wasn’t any major environmental issue over there. In fact, the air was fine and so was the water. Not like in other places where tap water tastes bad. Nothing that solar panels or wind turbines can fix, anyway.

Here is an old pic I took close where I used to live. You can see a power plant next to the Zumbro river. It was winter but the heat of the coal plant prevents the river and the Silver lake located downstream from freezing. Canadian geese take advantage of the warmer waters and spend the winters around the lake, instead of having to migrate further south. It is one of the environmental advantages of having a power plant that nobody mentions, probably because the environuts cannot turn it into profit. And lets face it, most environuts are city dwellers who don’t spent time in the countryside, so probably they don’t know about that. (And if they know it, they will hide it)


It is funny how canadian geese line up along the warm current, I guess, produced by the power plant.

Reply to  Urederra
October 19, 2017 5:31 am

But, but….. warmer is bad isn’t it? (seems like 97% of geese don’t agree though…..) 🙂

Richard M
Reply to  Urederra
October 19, 2017 7:00 am

That particular coal power plant has closed down due to the threat posed by Obama era regulations. No noticeable difference in the cities air pollution but a lot less geese in the winter.

Minnesota is a pretty good place for wind energy. A lot of farmland is used for the wind towers which isn’t as bad for birds and the wind blows pretty consistently. So this study is looking at one of the most optimal locations for wind energy and it still hasn’t reduced CO2 to any great extent.

Reply to  Urederra
October 19, 2017 7:58 am

In Florida the manatees love to hang around power plants during the winter.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Urederra
October 20, 2017 4:46 pm

I love Canadian Geese, except for all their crap on office park lawns. While greenies are stupid, nature’s creatures are not.

Frank K.
October 19, 2017 7:01 am

While the global warming alarmists have had all of us serfs sacrificing in the name of “climate change”, the green energy industry leaders such as Jeff Immelt (formerly of GE) have been doing things like this:

For much of Jeff Immelt’s 16-year run atop one of the world’s largest conglomerates, an empty business jet followed his GE-owned plane on some trips to destinations around the world, according to people familiar with the matter. The two jets sometimes parked far apart so they wouldn’t attract attention, and flight crews were told to not openly discuss the empty plane, the people said.

The second plane was a spare in case Mr. Immelt’s jet had mechanical problems. A GE spokeswoman said that “two planes were used on limited occasions for business-critical or security purposes.” Mr. Immelt didn’t respond to requests for comment.


Richard Ilfeld
October 19, 2017 7:06 am

The green trauma is worse when the evil coal plant protects an endangered species in winter, like the Big Bend plant near Tampa that hosts hundreds of Manatees in the cooling outflow during winter months.

Reply to  Richard Ilfeld
October 20, 2017 2:35 pm

The warm outfall from Maine Yankee provided a habitat for hundreds of lobsters, and a fishery for lobstermen at a time of the year when prices are high and setting traps difficult .

October 19, 2017 7:43 am

MN failed because they obviously didn’t spend enough. Solution: try again, but spend 5x as much.

Reply to  techgm
October 27, 2017 12:47 am

Which pay day lender do you recommend them to?

October 19, 2017 7:50 am

Examining the data, we find Minnisota producing 17.7% of their power from wind, and 23% from their three (small) nuclear plants. $15 billion will buy you two 1200 MW nuclear plants, which could produce 35% of the power Minnesota needs, resulting in 58% nuclear.

Reply to  arthur4563
October 23, 2017 7:35 am

And those nuclear plants would have the added benefit of providing power 24/7/365 rain or shine…

October 19, 2017 8:23 am

The good folk of Minnesota should enact a law stipulating that all food products be labelled with their carbon content … this will assist them to lower their use of this diabolical element, in line with their green energy commitments.

October 19, 2017 9:34 am

Maybe they should just burn corn ethanol in the boilers and move their presidential primary up ahead of Iowa. That gets a lot of attention at least and political fawning.

October 19, 2017 2:11 pm

You know I must say one thing – sure wind power is costly, unsightly, and kills a lot of birds, but on the other hand, it also doesn’t meet our energy needs.

We need more funding for more ideas that also don’t meet our energy needs. Otherwise we will never be able to not stop global warming!

Reply to  Geoman
October 20, 2017 7:30 pm

Geoman, I wish you had posted a spew alert when you dropped that comment in!

Janice Moore
October 19, 2017 6:17 pm

Much good discussion and many well-informed, insightful, high-value, comments on this thread. After reading the posted article, the linked, underlying paper, and the comments, nevertheless, something still needs to be said here —

The Hayward — Nelson paper rests on the false premise loudly exemplified by this statement:

{R}ivalry will hopefully lead to a more measured and effective approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

(Hayward and Nelson, 2017)

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions” is complete waste of time.


Spending one dime on this is as poor an investment as buying a lottery ticket (See, e.g., http://www.businessinsider.com/powerball-lottery-expected-value-2016-1NEGATIVE $ .14).

Well. How appropriate that my comment is a bit late in the day (and may be the final one), for it states the bottom line, here. 🙂

October 19, 2017 9:50 pm

This is funny – Media Marx (the BBC) has today a long story about the final end of car 🚗 manufacturing in Australia:


Have a guess – do you think there was a SINGLE MENTION of the reason – sky high electricity prices and low reliability of the same? Not a chance, comrades!

Reply to  ptolemy2
October 20, 2017 4:23 pm

Be fair – sky-high labour costs engineered by strong-arm unions also contributed. The Enterprise Bargaining Agreements that existed in the car manufacturing sector were far more lucrative than the working conditions of most Australian workers.

Reply to  ptolemy2
October 21, 2017 1:26 am

The German Spiegel magazine has a short article with a picture of smiling people:


The article is in german. A few points:
– The last produced car shown in the picture is planned to go to a museum
– The people are not happy
– In the high days Holden had a workforce of 24‘000, today only 950
– The union says politicians are responsible because subsidies stopped in 2014
– Ford closed it’s australian factories last year, Toyota in october

October 20, 2017 2:31 pm

MAINE initiated RGGI, the regional greenhouse gas initiative and theoretically reduced emissions; while siphoning off money for Energy Efficiency organizations.

Like Minnesota, RGGI claimed tons of averted emissions, and like Minnesota temps apparently went up… curious fact that there was neither a regional CO2 measurement methodology, nor a consistent one for temps so who really knows, keeping in mind CO2 is a vital ground level gas.

Ignorance of the KYOTO/COPENHAGEN recommendation to reforest the planet resulted in less biomass and in turn diminished photosynthesis; so no more oxygen, no more stored carbon, no more cleansing of other air pollutants, fewer bees, birds and greater rain runoff.

Depending upon how much forest was lost to wind farms during this socialist power grab and attack on corporations, the great emissions control scam only made AGW worse.

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