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Wind

Turbine Technology Increases Wind Potential throughout U.S.

wind turbines germanyA recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory study reports great news on wind energy.  Significantly more wind power potential was found in nearly every state thanks to advancing technology which makes taller turbines to catch the wind possible.  Wind energy potential increased in nearly every state making 2/3 of states now able to produce 100% of their electricity with wind.  See the Director of the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, John Farrell's article and slides showing the increase in wind energy potential since 1991.

Bright Future for Renewable Energy in MN

wind turbine field

The Wind Energy Foundation’s “Powering Up Minnesota: A Report on The Benefits of Renewable Electricity Development” suggests Minnesota could supply more than 50 percent of its power needs through renewable energy by 2030 while creating more jobs and meeting federal carbon targets.  Wind project costs have dropped 50 percent in the last five years, while solar prices decreased 40 percent since 2010, However, the Wind Energy Foundation's report vastly underestimates solar’s potential contribution. 

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2 MN Counties Send $80 Million for Wind to other Countries and States

In "Energy Self Reliant States," David Morris and John Farrell write that the benefits of our energy resources can be of much greater benefits to states if they are locally owned.
. . . states have been the driving force behind renewable energy developments, largely because they correctly view these as economic development initiatives. In the next 20 years, the United States may invest up to $1 trillion in new renewable energy projects. All states can and should benefit from this investment. There’s a lot at stake, as characterized by Minnesota community wind developer Dan Juhl:

I live out on the Buffalo Ridge...I look out my window and I see hundreds of wind turbines. When I look at those turbines I'm happy and I'm sad... Most of those turbines are owned by our friends, the foreign multinationals. Out of two counties in Minnesota we export about 80 million dollars a year to France, Florida, Italy, Portugal, Spain. All of our energy future is going out the door when we could be turning that into something real for us.

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In Germany, Community Owned Wind Turbines Contribute More to Local Economy

Locally owned renewable energy can bring big economic benefits to local communities.  Half of Germany's, 43,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy are owned by regular farmers or citizens. John Farrell, Senior Policy Analyst at the Institute for Local Self Reliance,  reports that community ownership payments contribute 150 to 340 percent to local revenue in comparison to land lease payments by absentee corporate turbine owners.  The additional funds spread to the entire community rather than just the turbine hosts.
Local Ownership Boosts Economic Impact of Renewables

Absentee Ownership

    Locally Owned (Low)   
1.5x

LoLocally Owned (High)    3.4x


Total Economic Impact

John Farrell points out that it is important to get local communities involved in both the planning and the ownership of renewable energy projects.  See Ownership (and Money) a Cure for "Not In My Back Yard:"

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In June 2012, Think Again MN launched a history series that examines politics and policy-making in Minnesota during the last century from the immediate post World War II years up through the 1990s. That era witnessed fierce legislative battles at the State Capitol but it was also a time of shared values that cut across partisan lines. 

Read about it here

MN's Leading Election System

MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon

 

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Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at http://mnvotes.org

Oregon's Automatic Voter Registration

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

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