BNEF: Unsubsidized wind now competitive with gas in Minnesota FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Minneapolis Star-Tribune:The cost of deploying wind and solar energy continued to decline significantly in Minnesota last year, and wind — even without federal tax subsidies — may be the state’s cheapest source of new electricity.Those conclusions were included in a report released Monday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which annually surveys the U.S. power generation sector for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, an industry-led group.The cost of new wind and solar power facilities in Minnesota fell by 16 percent and 23 percent respectively in 2018 over the previous year, the report found.The “levelized cost” of new, unsubsidized wind energy came in at $38 per megawatt hour (MWh), which takes into account the cost to build a power plant and its total power output, according to the Bloomberg analysis. Bloomberg didn’t have a state-by-state breakout of the levelized cost of natural gas. But wind in Minnesota is particularly cheap.“Minnesota has access to some of the best wind resources in the U.S.,” the Bloomberg report said. “As a result … new wind build in the state is likely already at parity with new combined-cycle natural gas plants even without incentives.”More: Cost of adding new wind, solar energy continues to fall in Minnesota, report says
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error At least we can’t accuse Major League Baseball of being hidebound to tradition. Not anymore. Three weeks from now, the 2020 season will begin with:A 60-game regular season scheduleNo fans in attendance, in some parks if not allA runner on second base to begin the 10th inning of tied gamesDesignated hitters in both leagues“Unsportsmanlike conduct” penalties for arguing within six feet of an umpirePlayers with face coverings – optional on the field and in the dugout, mandatory in training roomsA prohibition on spittingRules for the hotels – everything from room service protocol to air conditioning settings – where teams stay during road tripsMinor leaguers who are available for call-up, but no minor league gamesFor such a staid institution as MLB, these statutes equate to bending over backwards, performing a backflip, then a cartwheel, then a somersault, all in the name of imposing a lucrative pastime upon a continental hot zone. The rules are sweeping and draconian. They were also necessary for getting players back on the field – if not keeping them safe.Wednesday, one Major League Soccer team said six of its players tested positive for COVID-19 after reporting to their tournament bubble in Orlando. That carries at least two reminders for baseball. One, that an early draft of the 2020 season in which teams competed in separate Florida and Arizona “bubbles” was far from airtight. Two, that the novel coronavirus can infect one-fifth of a team’s roster without regard for its spitting protocol.It’s hard to imagine a less sensible location to play baseball right now than a major city in the United States. Some of these cities recorded a sudden surge in positive COVID-19 tests over the past week. Then again, it might not matter where the games are played. The best-laid schemes of owners and players often go awry. A deadly virus doesn’t care if a three-batter minimum rule for relief pitchers was a hot topic six months ago. Should we consider a .400 batting average in a 60-game season legitimate? Should we attach an asterisk to the World Series champion in the official record books? We should be so lucky if these concerns are front and center on Nov. 1.For now, there are bigger questions at hand. How legitimate is the season if one team loses its entire starting lineup to the coronavirus? What if it can’t field 25 players, the minimum required by MLB’s 2020 operations manual? The manual consists of 33,286 words, but it does not include a Disaster Plan specific to the coronavirus.That ostensibly leaves the league’s previously established Disaster Plan in place. This plan specifically outlines the protocol for an “epidemic illness” that causes “the death, dismemberment or permanent injury from playing professional baseball” of at least five players after Opening Day. It authorizes commissioner Rob Manfred to pause or cancel a team’s season after consulting with the MLB Players Association. It also authorizes a “Rule 29 draft” in which an affected team can restock its roster by selecting up to five players from another team’s roster.The idea of a Disaster Plan usually conjures nightmares of an unforeseen event, like a plane crash or a bus accident. The potential for a COVID-19 outbreak weakening a man’s lungs for three months is entirely foreseeable – on a team-wide scale, let alone among five players. The terms of the plan have never been more important.But just because the commissioner can hold a dispersal draft in the middle of August doesn’t mean he should. What if the Dodgers and Angels have to surrender five players each to another team, simply because they avoided the virus and the other team did not? In the midst of such an abbreviated season, does that seem fair? Baseball history isn’t the best lens for answering these questions. Think of it more like a typical NFL season. The potential for a player to miss the full season is so high, it becomes a game of Next Man Up (to borrow the title of John Feinstein’s book about the 2004 Baltimore Ravens). It’s no surprise that four players – Ian Desmond, Joe Ross, Ryan Zimmerman and Mike Leake – voluntarily opted out of the season prior to Wednesday, the league-wide “summer camp” report date. For some, the cost of playing will outweigh the benefit.When the players opted out, the process of crowning a champion began. Baseball is a game of skill, but this season will be one of survival – one the players effectively agreed to when they gave Manfred the right to impose a season of any length. In a national radio interview Wednesday, Manfred said “we weren’t going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiations with the players went.” Whether that’s because of economic concerns or health concerns is a moot point now. It’s game on.We’ll see 60 more games than any minor-league team will play in 2020. We’ll see 60 more here than in Mexico; the 16-team Mexican Baseball League put safety first Wednesday and canceled a season that was scheduled to begin Aug. 7. And that might be a good thing.We can dream about the sight of Mookie Betts in a Dodgers uniform, and Shohei Ohtani on the mound for the Angels, when the time comes. For now, CDC recommendations and public-gathering restrictions are changing by the week. It still feels too soon.A 60-game season will feel short. The empty ballparks will look weird. You might even miss the sight of players spitting and managers arguing with umpires. But don’t miss the forest for the trees. If a World Series champion is crowned in 2020, it will mean baseball either managed to keep a virus at bay, or tolerated more risk to human livelihood than it should have.There won’t be much middle ground. That’s too much to contain in a single asterisk.