If you live in Minnesota you may have seen the story in yesterday’s Strib, the worthless paper that functions solely to reprint stories from other sources and to broadcast progressive talking points. Our Public Utilities Commission, which is supposed to ensure that Minnesotans have access to affordable, reliable energy, is dominated by environmental whackos. (Strib Story) If you read the story you saw that a solar plant supposedly producing 200 megawatts of power was approved on 1553 acres of prime farmland in Dodge County. The conversion of farmland to solar panels, especially in Minnesota, is incredibly stupid. We are losing farmland at a rapid rate and it is critical to our ability to feed ourselves and to help feed the world. But that does not matter to the whackos.
This solar plant will never, ever, in a single day, for a single week, or a single month, produce the “nameplate” capacity of power. In Minnesota, solar power simply isn’t capable of any sustained output, particularly in winter. Dave Dixon points out that to meet the nominal output of the coal plants that are being retired, we would need 33,000 acres of solar power and to meet the actual output given how inefficient solar is, over 100,000 acres would have to be devoted to solar panels. Imagine the cost of this, both land acquisition or rental and building and maintaining the panel farms. These “renewable” energy forms require immense investments in new transmission lines. The energy they produce, unlike coal or gas, isn’t available on demand, so storage has to build. That storage, as Dave’s analysis showed, is phenomenally expensive and takes up even more land.
Imagine too, the environmental damage. Researchers are just beginning to understand the adverse impacts that solar farms and wind turbines have on weather and the climate, particularly on this scale. They also harm wildlife. The mining, manufacturing and disposal of renewable energy equipment has massive environment costs, which again the whackos are happy to ignore.
What isn’t to like about “renewable” energy? It is expensive, it isn’t reliable and it does lots of damage to the environment. Perfect for pro(re)gressives. But here is a silver lining and I bet we will see it in this recently approved plant. People will use the whackos own environmental laws to hold up the construction and operation of these plants and will make many so expensive to build that the owners simply give up. Now that is what I call good karma.