What’s on MPR News today? 3/7/18

Wednesday March 7, 2018
(Subject to change as events dictate)

Until 9 a.m. – Morning Edition
How to spend the 3M settlement; reducing nitrates in Minnesota water; nuclear talks and the Koreas; factory workers fear steel tariffs; the results of the Texas election; and Ask Cokie about security clearances.

9 a.m. – MPR News with Kerri Miller
With all the talk of ‘chaos in the White House’ we want to take a look at the leadership style of this and past presidents. Who have been chaotic leaders? What leadership strategies have been most effective?

Guests: Hitendra Wadhwa, professor of Professional Practice at Columbia School of Business, founder of the Institute for Personal Leadership; Tim Walch, director emeritus of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

10 a.m.- 1A with Joshua Johnson
President Trump is pushing hard for tariffs on steel and aluminum. Many Republicans and America s allies don t like the idea. Nor do the markets. But the White House says the current setup penalizes those who matter most. Is Trump’s talk of imposing tariffs a move to benefit domestic manufacturing, or just to please his political base? And what might the backlash be here and abroad?

Guests: Shawn Donnan, world trade editor, Financial Times; Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University; Michael Stumo, CEO, the Coalition for a Prosperous America; Mike Hicks, grain dryer service technician, Whetstone AG Supply.

11 a.m. – MPR News with Tom Weber (Mike Mulcahy hosts)
Renewable energy is now Minnesota’s second-largest source of electricity generation. Renewables – solar and wind among them — made up 25 percent of the state’s electricity generation in 2017, overtaking nuclear and second only to coal. That’s according to a report released last week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which tracks power generation across the country.

Coal made up 39 percent of the energy Minnesota generated inside its borders in 2017. And while nuclear capacity is static, Minnesota has been adding new wind and solar capacity every year. Where are renewables growing and will that growth will continue?

Guests:Ben Gerber, executive director, Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS);Gabe Chan, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota.

12 p.m. – MPR News Presents
Part one of an NPR special on the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. For NPR’s”Embedded” series, Kelly McEvers reports on two key questions explored by Special Counsel Robert Mueller: Part 1 is titled, “Collusion.” Part 2, airing on Thursday March 8, is titled,”Obstruction.”

1 p.m. – The Takeaway
In Obama’s backyard, a fight over displacement. The proposed Obama Presidential Center could push people out. What one Chicago community is saying as developers forge ahead.

2 p.m. – BBC NewsHour
How the Saudi Crown prince is shaking his country and his region. What should the West make of him? We’ll have the latest on the Russian spy poisoning. And marriage advice from China: lower your expectations.

3 p.m. – All Things Considered
Gov. Dayton outlines a school security plan; a look at gun permit data in Minnesota; what’s next after the Texas primary; the power in Puerto Rico flickers; and a congressional hearing on security clearances.

7 p.m. – The World
A family under fire. Meet a mother who lives in Syria in the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta. She has two kids. They stay in an air raid shelter because their neighborhood is being bombed.And it’s hard to explain why.

8 p.m. – Fresh Air
Terry has a return visit from John Oliver, who hosts the HBO satirical series Last Week Tonight, which often reviews the news of the week, then takes a deep dive into one story, which is always both really funny and informative. His approach has been described as an investigative comedy. He first became known as a correspondent on The Daily Show.

  • MrE85

    “Where are renewables growing and will that growth will continue?”

    Wind energy makes up quite a bit of the renewable power we use in Minnesota. Today’s wind turbines are more efficient than in the past, and we live in a region with some of the best wind energy potential in North America. Solar remains a very small piece of MN’s energy pie, but expect that share to grow. Growth in renewable energy will continue, despite the efforts by some to turn back the clock.

    • Such a blight on the landscape, though.

      • MrE85

        Eye of the beholder. I find them rather attractive, and strangle hypnotic to watch.

        • kevins

          Me too.

        • Right, but you’re usually just passing through.

          They’re like a landfill. We want our trash taken away and as long as its out of our sight, we’re pretty OK with wherever it ends up.

          • jon

            I’d totally be ok with them going up near my house… nice open space near some high voltage lines/rail lines they could put them (power lines are already there to tap into).

            I find them very peaceful to look at… maybe my dutch ancestory showing itself.

          • MrE85

            You really don’t want them too close. There is some noise and “flicker effect” with wind turbines. But in a pasture outside of town? Why not? The cows don’t mend ’em.

          • Rob

            The birds are another story.

          • MrE85

            Perhaps, but grilled eagle is very tasty..

          • Bob VanPelt

            And i want them next to me? I live next to that pasture outside of town. So because there are fewer of us per square mile, that makes it ok trample on our rights?

          • jon

            If the noise can beat the road noise, and the freight train noise, and the high school marching band practicing noise, then that’s one heck of a noisy wind turbine.

          • Rob

            And you could always honor your heritage by planting massive amounts of tulips near the windmills, thereby making things even more visually appealing.

          • MrE85

            We have a similar NIMBY debate going on in my neighborhood about some solar panels. Some neighbors say the proposed project will ruin their view…of a reclaimed landfill.

        • Rob

          No hypnotic strangles of birds, just decapitations.

      • No rose without a thorn. They are an opportunity to generate power here rather than importing coal, which pollutes our air and water with acid rain, radioactivity, carbon dioxide, and carcinogenic particulates. And have you ever driven by the massive coal mines in Wyoming? Not exactly eye candy.

      • Bob VanPelt

        A 30 plus year blight, that the taxpayers will fork out the cash to tear down when they are abandoned.

      • Jerry

        Better to build a wind turbine on a mountain than to destroy it to get the coal underneath.

    • jon

      As I was doing my taxes I saw the line for solar incentives on the 1040… (claiming my electric car incentives this year) and said “well I wonder if the math works out now…”

      sure enough after running the numbers, it seems like 20-25 year panels will beat the average returns on the S&P500 on my house (even with my neighbors big tree blocking some of evening sun…) over the course of the time period the panels are warranted for… (and given the next 20-25 years is likely to see a downturn in the market they might beat it well before then.)

      I’ve got to get a call in to an installer to have them come confirm some things for me (how much can fit on my roof, sun lines, etc.) but the plan right now is to get some 50% of my power consumption generated on site… And then I can say my electric car is powered by the sun (not really, it charges at night, and from what I Can see of xcels power plants it seems base load is mostly nuclear so the car is nuclear powered… but time shifting via net metering….. the details are unimportant.)

      Anyhow, solar incentives appear to still be part of the GOP tax law, until 2019, so I plan to get them on before the cost goes up ~30%…

      • MrE85

        If your property has the room for panels, it’s a great move for many. Personally, I would opt for a share in community solar, where my utility installs and maintains the panels on property they own, then I buy a share in the power they make. Too many trees at Stately Moffitt Manor for my own solar.

        • Rob

          Just signed on to Xcel’s alternative energy option.

        • Woodbury’s first solar garden is under construction.

  • Bob VanPelt

    Anyone who thinks wind turbines are “strangely hypnotic” and “very peaceful to look at” needs to live next to them. I don’t mean drive by at 70 mph on the interstate, I mean live -24/7/365- next to them. The newer ones are almost 500 ft tall, and can be very noisy. They also can cause many health issues, and lower property values. So if you think they are so neat then I have a nice rural acreage for you.

    • Jerry

      Would you rather live next to a coal mine or frac sand pit?

      • Bob VanPelt

        Jerry, My point is I was here first, why should I have to. They are noisy, create health issues, and lower my property value. If they want to put them next to me and I was here first, do I not have any rights? At least they should have to provide a property value guarantee, is that not fair?

        • Jerry

          Is it worse than someone putting in a feedlot next door? Until recently I lived off a gravel road with a gravel pit on it. We couldn’t have the window open all summer because of the dust and had to listen to semis jake braking until 10pm. Now I live off an arterial road in Minneapolis and get to be poisoned by suburbanites idleing their cars at the stoplight. We all have prices to pay for others actions.

          • Bob VanPelt

            A feedlot is part of the rural landscape, industrial wind farms are not. I’m curious was the gravel pit there first? If so it was your choice to live there. Same goes for living next to a main road in the TCs.

          • MrE85

            “A feedlot is part of the rural landscape, industrial wind farms are not…”

            Well, they are now, and they are likely here to stay.

          • Jerry

            How are thousands of pigs any more part of the rural lanscape than windmills? That is an arbitrary distinction. Large feedlots have as much relationship to traditional family farm as wind turbines have to old windmills. (Personal note: I work on a relatively small dairy lot)

            And no, my family has been on that land for over a hundred years. The gravel pit came later.

        • jon

          You can totally tell people you don’t want a wind turbine on your property.

          But no you don’t have any rights to other people’s property and what they do on it… you can petition the city/county for ordinances limiting what they can do on their property, but that doesn’t make it a right for you, it makes it a restriction of rights for them.

          • Bob VanPelt

            I understand that I don’t have any right to other people’s property. That is not my point. My question is, Do I not have any rights? If these things lower my property value or make a member of my family sick? What is the harm in making Xcel offer a property value guarantee? Should I as a “non participating” land owner be made to bear the cost of this experiment? So its OK for EXCEL to line their pockets with taxpayer money, but not ok for me to ask to be treated fairly?

          • jon

            No, you have no right to ensure your property retains its value.

            You have no right to say what other people can do with their property, and if you feel xcel is making to much money contact your congressman, because xcels profit margins are limited under law since they are a public utility.

    • Jack Ungerleider

      I think the problem is that we are trying to adapt what should be a more distributed generation process to the existing centralized power delivery system. The system requires generation of large quantities of power to be economical. So to generate a lot of power you make very large wind turbines. Very large turbines require lots of space. If we look more at smaller scale power production we can distribute smaller generators over a larger area.

      • Jerry

        I think distributed production makes more sense for both solar and wind power. A larger number of smaller turbines and solar panels on more roofs, rather than giant solar farms and large towers.

        • Bob VanPelt

          I think that is a good idea, I have my own solar array (4 yrs old). Unfortunately the rules of the game are written by/for corporate interests. Its a multi-million dollar game, and companies like Xcel are getting rich at the taxpayers expense.

          • Jerry

            If xcel was smart, they would get into the business of building and maintaining private power sources, like small windmills or rooftop solar, rather than leaving that market to others.

          • Jay T. Berken

            “If xcel was smart, they would get into the business of building and maintaining private power sources”

            That is interesting. There is talk in the at the State Capital which would allow private entities to produce power and sell power directly to other entities hence bypassing the electric utility. My work place had their State Representative come and talk to his local electric utilities. Although currently one could produce power and sell it to an utility (most times to the governing electric utility) for cost up to 100 Kw (net metering), this law could gut the monopoly electric utility from the inside. But if the utility goes on the offence and leases out Distributed Generation (DG) to its customers. Then the electric utility would not be so against solar and wind, and worry about others coming in (i.e. Amazon or Walmart) and producing power on its roof tops and selling it directly to customers. This is like the car model which I have been reading that GM and Ford are looking into to rent/lease cars outright to individuals through car sharing when needed instead of selling the vehicle.

            https://www.rila.org/sustainability/Documents/RILA%20and%20ITI%20-Minnesota%20Memo%20on%20Corporate%20RE%20Opportunity.pdf

  • Bob VanPelt

    And just how close to the turbines would you want to “live” ? How about 1000 ft from your house? What if it affected your health or enjoyment of property?

  • Jack Ungerleider

    A quick scan of that article looks like its talking about the turbines used for centralized power generation. I’m not sure you can compare small scale solar and wind, like they sell to cabin owners at the State Fair, with mega turbines used by the power companies for their wind farms. But that’s what I’m talking about with highly distributed generation. What if you could equip an urban house with the ability to generate most of its own power? Yes there would be a lot of small turbines and solar panels but since everybody would have the setup it wouldn’t stand out as being odd.

    Do I think we’ll get there? Not any time soon. A major disruption to how we do things now has to happen before we get the opportunity to work towards this type of setup.

  • Jerry

    I wonder about the possibility of affixing them to tall buildings. Th height advantage is already there. This would obviously not be the classic windmill style, but maybe a vertical axis turbine, which could be omnidirectional and compact.

  • Jay T. Berken

    One thing the conversation did not talk about, or should I say explained better, is we hear that 25% of our power comes from renewables. Is that 25% of the base/demand power comes from renewables or 25% of the overall power comes from renewables? If it is the latter, it doesn’t help us from moving away from coal, natural gas or nuclear since is can be variable power and not be counted as demand load.