Recent content from David Shaffer
Rebuilt trout streams benefit anglers and fish
Earth-ripping work has helped restore more than 60 miles of trout streams in the past five years in western Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota. The big machines strip away thick layers of bank sediment that destroy trout habitat.
Five energy firms score contracts for Twin Cities government solar garden projects
Public agencies in Minnesota joined to seek out competitive project bids.
Major northern Minnesota power line wins approval from state regulators
The Great Northern Transmission project will be the state's second 500-kilovolt line when it is completed.
U.S. crude by rail industry slows down after six years of rapid growth
Once a booming business, the loading of crude oil at more than a dozen North Dakota rail terminals now faces a financial squeeze.
Minneapolis-based start-up applies advanced technologies to power-demand peaks
Power Over Time Inc. is applying two-way communication, cloud computing and smart controls to even out peaks, valleys on electric-grid usage.
N.D. reports lower crude oil production, expects further declines
If the low crude prices persist, several drillers could be ripe for bankruptcy, state official said.
Minnesota vows to move ahead with clean power
Despite a Supreme Court stay on EPA rules, Minnesota says it will develop plans to limit carbon and pursue energy initiatives
Ethanol profits fall sharply as low motor fuel prices cut into margins
The downturn in the ethanol industry isn't as bad as four years ago. But ethanol is selling into a U.S. gasoline market where prices recently hit a seven-year low thanks to the worldwide crude oil glut.
Former Fagen Inc. CFO admitted to FBI that she embezzled funds
Kirsten Tjosaas, recently fired by Fagen Inc., is cooperating in the investigation, her attorney said.
Regulators reject lower electric rates for northern Minnesota mines, mills
Regulators reject Minnesota Power's offer of lower electric rates to iron mines and pulp mills, but plan may be revived.
Low-cost energy storage for power grid can be found in your basement, study says
The Brattle Group study says that the nation's 50 million residential electric water heaters can address bigger challenges such as storing intermittent renewable energy from wind farms and solar arrays.
Flint Hills Resources plans $750 million in capital investment at its Minnesota refinery
The 3-year project in Rosemount targets efficiency, reduced emissions
One large solar project in Minnesota going ahead, another delayed
Great River Energy plans a solar project near Buffalo, Minn., but NextEra's giant project near Marshall, Minn., will get further study.
Enbridge says Minnesota regulators applied "unlawful" process to its Sandpiper pipeline review
The pipeline company claims that the procedures will unfairly delay project.
Xcel 'nearly certain' it can comply with federal Clean Power Plan in Minn.
Other utilities aren't as hopeful, ask U.S. Supreme Court to intercede
Xcel Energy reports increase in fourth-quarter and annual profits
The Minneapolis-based utility said it met or beat its annual earnings guidance for the 11th straight year.
Regulators approve Minnesota Power solar project at Camp Ripley
Commissioners concerned by cost of Minnesota Power's plan.
Wind power industry surges, and expects steady growth
2015 was the third-biggest year for expansion in the United States
Largest Minnesota solar array wins approval from utility regulators
The $180 million power project is planned for leased farmland in Chisago County.
Mpls. start-up wants to install hydropower without need for dams
Minneapolis start-up Verterra Energy has patented a horizontal turbine to harvest hydropower without a dam.
N.D. oil sinks to $20 per barrel with more bankruptcies expected as drilling activity declines
More bankruptcies are expected as drilling declines due to low prices.
Center for Energy and Environment hires new president to succeed founder
The Center for Energy and Environment, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that promotes clean energy and conservation, said Thursday that it has hired a new president to…
Otter Tail Power finishes major upgrade at coal plant in Big Stone, S.D.
Despite $356M in upgrades, the coal-powered plant may not be allowed to run at full capacity.
TenKsolar raises $25 million from new investors including Goldman Sachs
Investment will help sales; new investors include Goldman Sachs & Co.
Largest coal supplier to Minnesota electric utilities files for bankruptcy protection
Arch says it will keep shipping; Minnesota utilities don't foresee problems
Connexus Energy sells out its first, and Minn.'s largest, community solar garden
After slow start, Connexus offered monthly payment option and business jumped
Obituary: Clayton Rein helped shape the housing industry in Minnesota
Clayton Rein, a Twin Cities real estate developer and property manager who owned art galleries, pioneered the renting of artwork for corporate offices and founded…
Midwest consumer advocates win victory on electric grid transmission rates
Consumer advocates have won a battle over excessive profits by utilities with transmission lines that deliver electricity across the Midwest. In a ruling that calls…
Solar power boom in Chisago County creates winners and losers
Eight major projects are planned, but some lament the loss of green fields.
Consumer groups cool to utility rate hike to help Iron Range mines, pulp mills
Consumer advocates question Minnesota Power's plan to shift electric costs from big industry to residential customers.
Regulators authorize expansive environmental reviews for proposed Minnesota pipelines
Enbridge Energy fears delays to its plan for northern Minnesota.
SEC investigating unusual 2012 stock trading at oil train company
The inquiry is focused on a loan to a Wayzata firm.
Regulators OK interim electric rate hike for Xcel but worry about nuclear costs
Nuclear power costs, other investments are factors in the 5.5 percent boost, which takes effect on Jan. 1.
Cross-border pipeline switch allowing more Canadian crude into Minnesota is legal, judge rules
Judge denied request to stop Enbridge from bringing in more Canadian oil.
North Dakota to see more declines in oil drilling as prices hit 7-year low
With prices at seven-year low, production keeps declining, despite slight jump in October
Heavy bitumen crude oil from Canada poses an extra environmental risk, study finds
Study findings come as regulators face key decisions on Minnesota pipelines
Long a leader in wind power, Xcel sees advantages in owning more wind farms
Utility is leader in wind power, and investments are paying off.
State's largest solar array now generating power at MSP Airport
With no fanfare, the switch was flipped on the Minnesota's newest and largest solar power generator
EPA sets 2016 blending targets for ethanol and other biofuels
More biofuel will be required to be blended into the nation's fuel supply next year, but the ethanol industry isn't entirely happy about it.The U.S.…
Shutdown of Monticello nuclear plant causes fish kill
The sudden drop in temperature in the discharged cooling water resulted in a fish kill in the Mississippi River.
Southwest Minnesota wind farm sold out of bankruptcy to bank and local investors
Small investors stand to lose their investment in the Minwind project.
Farmer-owned cooperative CHS Inc. profits fell 28 percent in 2015
Annual profit declines 28 percent for the nation's largest farmer-owned cooperative.
More N.D. oil trains entering Twin Cities via west suburbs
Temporary rerouting sends more past Target Field and through downtown Minneapolis.
Would you believe gas prices of $1.70 a gallon by Christmas?
Gasoline prices in Minnesota are slipping below $2 per gallon, and experts say they're headed even lower.
Garofalo shows off self-driving technology in new Tesla
Taking guests for a spin, Pat Garofalo says new technology is wave of transportation's future.
Mortenson creates unit to build grid-scale electric storage projects
One of the nation's leading builders of renewable energy projects and transmission lines sees a business opportunity in large battery storage.
Ethanol industry making profits despite lower price of fuel
Companies benefitted from increased demand, but tighter margins are expected to stay over the next year.
Solar garden options rolling out for Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota
For most consumers, shared solar is new territory, with its own rewards and risks.
Iron Range mines may get electric rate relief; residential rates would rise
Minnesota Power is proposing lower electric rates for mines, mills; residential rates would rise 14.5%.
Xcel proposes green-only electricity as customer option
The program is a response to customers, especially corporations, that want to be powered by wind and solar.
Keystone XL would have helped N.D. move some of its oil
The rejection of Keystone XL is a setback for North Dakota’s oil industry, even though falling oil prices and the drop in Bakken drilling and…
Xcel requests rate hike; bills would go up for customers
By 2018, a typical electric customer's annual electric charges would be $132 higher if state regulators approve the 9.8 percent increase sought by the company.
Xcel Energy earnings up for the third quarter
Recent rate hikes in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota are contributing to the utility's bottom line.
TenKsolar to replace failed equipment on solar power arrays
A software problem with solar arrays curtailed energy production during late summer.
State is set to make a big leap into solar
The state Department of Administration is seeking bids for power from shared solar projects planned in Xcel Energy's Minnesota region.
Dayton writes BNSF to criticize oil train traffic near downtown Mpls.
The largest rail hauler of Bakken crude oil recently disclosed a shift in traffic that sends trains through western suburbs.
North Dakota and Minnesota face off over coal power in federal appeals court
The federal appeals court will see if a Minnesota law violates interstate commerce.
State Supreme Court asked to step into pipeline battle
Enbridge Energy, state PUC seek review of ruling requiring environmental impact statement for Sandpiper crude oil project.
Xcel launches $68M upgrade at Prairie Island nuclear plant
The upgrades aim to extend the life of the 1970s-era power plant.
Slow, stinky start to Le Sueur, Minn., green-energy project
The federally subsidized plant is generating less electricity, more odor.
Xcel Energy wants to replace 100,000 Minnesota streetlights with LEDs
Utility's five-year project promises better lighting, savings for cities.
North Dakota oil output slips again as outlook for industry gets bleaker
Production has declined in five of the past eight months as the industry tries "to weather the storm."
Stalled Xcel solar garden program in Minnesota may end up in court
Clean energy developers complain the rules are unclear, and Xcel Energy is to slow connecting solar projects to substations.
Obituary: Emery Bulinski, owner of Ely's Snowbank Lodge
Emery Bulinski, an entrepreneur who moved to Ely, Minn., after World War II and owned the former Snowbank Lodge and at least a dozen other…
Xcel Energy plans more wind, solar power and less coal — and sooner — in Minnesota
The utility looks to replace two of three coal burners at its Sherco plant with natural gas unit by 2026.
Environmental groups seek enhanced studies of planned crude oil pipelines across Minnesota
The Sandpiper pipeline remains on hold while Line 3 has similar environmental concerns.
First solar garden completed in Xcel's Minnesota region
About 1,300 community sites are waiting for approval in Xcel's Minnesota service area.
Gevo Inc. plans continues production of new biofuel at Luverne, Minn., plant
An investment of $5 million is planned at the isobutanol plant in Luverne, Minn.
Wayzata-based Dakota Plains Holdings' stock takes wide swings
The company, which loads oil trains, must submit a plan by Oct. 14 to stay in NYSE's small-cap exchange.
Anti-pipeline groups ask judge to halt increased Canadian oil flow into Minnesota
Opponents asked a judge to stop the increased flow from a Canadian line.
Big power users face smaller harvest from solar gardens
State regulators' recent decision to limit the number of solar gardens per site — a change sought by Xcel and supported by some solar developers — has clouded the prospects for corporate and institutional deals.
Surprise at the pump: Lowest Labor Day gas prices in 11 years
Gas prices hit an 11-year low just in time for holiday travel; they could drop even further this fall.
Xcel Energy taking heat for slow rollout of solar garden program in Minnesota
Due to delays, shared projects are unlikely to be built this year, energy companies say
Environmental, tribal groups want Sandpiper route reconsidered
Minnesota PUC is not obligated to revisit its June decision.
Minn., N. Dakota are pushed to work together on clean energy
Clean Power Plan has incentives for states to work jointly on carbon emissions.