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New Research Shows - Wind and Solar Works!


VIRTUAL INDIVISIBLE EVENTS July 13 and July 20 

Please join us for 2 important meetings about climate change and how we can develop clean, alternative energy infrastructure right here in Minnesota!

If we want to do something about climate change, we must act locally to stop the development of fossil fuel infrastructure and promote the idea that clean, alternative energy works!  Many people are promoting the idea that it isn't possible to save our lifestyles without fossil fuel. This is NOT true. Learn the truth by attending our sessions on July 13 and 20th! 

Session Information

Wright County Indivisible is working in collaboration with the Sierra Club and Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light to highlight new research which emphasizes clean, alternative energy such as wind and solar is economically sound, environmentally sound and available to implement today.

When considering Wind and Solar energy, many people ask, “What about when the sun’s not shining… and the wind’s not blowing?” The answer is “ENERGY STORAGE”.

The McKnight Foundation funded the “Minnesota’s Smarter Grid” study developed by Vibrant Clean Energy. In the report, it clarifies that wind and solar energy will meet the future demand for power, even during peak use. To learn more, Wright County Indivisible (WCI) is hosting a two-part series of virtual meetings that will address the need to shift infrastructure to clean, renewable energy.

On Monday, July 13th, at 7:00 pm, Chuck Derry, a Sierra Club NorthStar Chapter consultant, will present information on the economic and environmental impacts of Xcel Energy’s proposed fracked gas plant in Becker, MN. He will also identify how central Minnesota citizens can submit comments to the Public Utilities Commission requesting that wind and solar be expanded and Xcel’s Energy’s request to build a new fracked gas plant in Becker be denied.

On Monday, July 20th, at 7:00 pm, Joe Meinholz, from Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, along with Indivisible members from northern MN will share Enbridge proposals for the Line 3 tar sands pipeline in MN and the current actions being sought to ensure this pipeline is rejected.  

Both presentations and group discussions will occur through a Zoom virtual meeting. For those not already members of Wright County Indivisible and interested in joining the meetings, please contact wrightcountyindivisible@gmail.com, to receive the Zoom connections necessary to attend.

Background on clean, alternative energy options :

Great River Energy recently announced it plans to shut down the Coal Creek Station – the largest coal plant in North Dakota – and replace it with wind energy purchases, wind farms, and Battery Storage. They are currently testing an innovative long-duration one megawatt battery storage demonstration project. This is one example of the expanded development of necessary storage facilities that will allow us to keep fossil fuel in the ground, while we meet all our energy needs with clean, renewable power generation through wind and solar.

The technological advances and expansion of clean renewable energy allows us to meet our goals of eliminating the release of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. Through wind and solar development, and the necessary storage, we eliminate the pollution and climate crisis that is currently putting us all at risk.

Continued use of fossil fuel is also economically unsound. Utility-scale renewable energy prices are now significantly below those of coal and gas generation, and they're less than half the cost of nuclear.”

So, not only will wind and solar energy meet our future demand for power, it is currently cheaper than coal or gas. And, multiple studies indicate it will continue to go down in price through 2050. The “Minnesota Smarter Grid” study predicts we will see a 30% decrease in prices per kilowatt hour by 2050. It also predicts a 300% increase in energy sector jobs by 2050, as we move to wind and solar.

Due to the decline in wind and solar energy prices, and storage development, it is predicted that fracked gas plants will be obsolete or “stranded” within 10 to 15 years. Placing the cost for plant development and continued use on the shoulders of those customers who do not have the option to purchase less expensive wind and solar energy, due to the monopolization of the utilities industry.

We are often told a “natural gas” plant would provide us with cleaner energy. While the burning of “natural gas” does produce less emissions than coal, the combined greenhouse gas emissions released through production, the environmental damage created by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), along with the leakage of methane through the transmission of these gases, (through pipelines, etc.), to fracked gas plants, are actually greater than the total amount of emissions produced by coal.

Xcel Energy’s projected greenhouse gas emissions, from the proposed fracked gas plant in Becker, are 1.5 million metric tons per year, including the estimated upstream emissions due to leakage. We cannot replace one problem (coal) with another (fracked gas).

Another critical climate issue in Minnesota is the proposed Line 3 pipeline. This summer, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is set to make significant decisions regarding approval of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline expansion. This Canadian pipeline would carry 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil, each day, through its 355-mile route over Minnesota’s most pristine waters and wild rice beds. The pipeline will make 227 crossings of our state’s cleanest waters and impacts over 11,000 acres of wetlands. TAR SANDS OIL is unique in comparison to other forms of crude.  It sinks in water, making it virtually impossible to entirely remove once leaked. 

Tar sands extraction emits up to three times more global warming pollution than does producing the same quantity of conventional crude.  It also depletes and pollutes freshwater resources and creates giant ponds of toxic waste. Refining the sticky black substance produces piles of petroleum coke, a hazardous by-product.

Also, “any future investment in coal, oil, and gas equities carry great risk and offer minimal or no upside” as stated by the fiduciary wall street advisor in response to investors. So, after the line is built who invests in the maintenance or cleanup of spills when all the investment interests have simply walked away and put their money in other long-term favorable renewable clean energy investments?

This Line 3 will violate treaty rights, despoil treaty lands and put them all at risk. These treaties are still in effect and must be respected. 

This Line 3 will wildly fuel climate change. The Tar Sands oil that Line 3 will carry would have a greater annual climate impact than the entire economy of Minnesota from every sector combined. Every year the pipeline runs as intended; the subsequent emissions produced by that oil will have the equivalent of 50 new coal plants running year-round. (Minnesota currently has 4 coal plants in its borders.)

We are at a “tipping point.” Fossil fuel is no longer feasible. It is not economical, and it is destroying our planet. We must transition to clean renewable energy.

It is clear that continued investment in fossil fuel is not economically sound. Nor does it create a sound environment. Wind and solar energy, energy storage, and energy efficiency will economically and environmentally create the necessary transition to the world of opportunity we strive for.  We have seen the fires, the draughts, the flooding, the storms. The action we take now will be historical, as it will seriously impact the lives of our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and all generations to come.

We have an opportunity! The future depends on our understanding, our voices, and our action. Wind and solar works! Join  WCI’s virtual event on July 13th and 20th to learn more about the practical action steps for change.

Contact: Chuck Derry - 320-250-8791 - chuckderry@frontiernet.net  or

Lori Cocking - 612-670-3030 – loricockinghr@gmail.com

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