Staff Directory 6370636

David Shaffer

Reporter | Energy and business
Recent content from David Shaffer
Rennie Airth

Review: 'The Death of Kings,' by Rennie Airth

FICTION: New evidence turns up years after a man is executed for an actress' death.
IBM retiree and Trout Unlimited volunteer Raymond Ricketts has helped coordinate 21 stream restoration projects.

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.

Northern Oil top executive was investor in loan package under SEC investigation

Inquiry looks at stock movement that yielded millions in payouts.

State's largest wind farm yet proposed in southwest Minnesota

Nobles 2 Power Partners wind project would be larger than the nearby Nobles Wind Farm.

Large solar project approved near Marshall, Minn. for Xcel Energy customers

Regulators approve second major solar farm to serve Xcel Energy customers.
Bob Walker, the founder of Select Comfort and former CEO of Bixby Energy.

Appeals panel upholds fraud conviction of Bixby Energy CEO Bob Walker

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Walker's claims that he was naive.

No change in review process for Minnesota crude oil pipelines

Enbridge Energy said the timetable causes unreasonable delay

Higher electric rates for Otter Tail Power customers

But Minnesota regulators order scaled-back interim rate hike
Jeff Broin, CEO of the nation's largest ethanol producer, Poet Inc., based in Sioux Falls, S.D. photographed Tuesday, March 22, 2016, at the Star Trib

First Midwest cellulosic ethanol plant is producing tank-car loads of fuel

Poet Inc. is shipping fuel from Iowa facility, which could hit full output by year's end.
Massive pipes take water from the Mississippi River into Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island nuclear plant in Red Wing. The plant is the city’s

Xcel faces a big investment to keep its nuclear units going

The high cost of upgrading 40-year-old nuclear reactors is confronting the utility again, with $487 million in needed upgrades at its Prairie Island facility by 2020.
Private Money Investors can partner with Utility Scale Solar Farm project developers for large short term returns. (PRNewsFoto/Innovative Solar System

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.
Empty railroad tank cars snake their way into a storage yard in Newark, Delaware, July 28, 2013 The cars will return to North Dakota's Bakken region t

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.
Power Over Time officials Nick Wormley, Ralph Jenson and Matthew Blackler, from left, near a bank of prototypes of their energy controllers.

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.
Floor hand Ray Gerrish worked to make repairs on a drilling rig as the sun rose near the site outside Watford City on December 17, 2013.

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.
Gov. Mark Dayton

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
Steam from operations shrouded the Buffalo Lake Advanced Biofuels plant in Buffalo Lake, Minn., last year. The plant ceased production in January beca

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.
The early morning sun illuminated steam generated at the Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount. There are plans for a $750 million investment in upgrades, t

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.
Power generation at Sherco. Excel Energy had an open house at the Sherburne County Generating Plant (Sherco) in Becker, Minnesota, Tuesday, October 2,

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
Rate hikes in several areas offset lower electric and natural gas demand during the last three months of the year for Xcel Energy.

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.
DAVID BREWSTER • Monday 04/11/11 Hartland, MN. : ] Wind generators, part of the Alliant Energy wind farm

Wind power industry surges, and expects steady growth

2015 was the third-biggest year for expansion in the United States
Connexus CEO Greg Ridderbusch runs Minnesota's largest retail power cooperative. Ridderbusch recently was named CEO after many years at Great River En

Connexus Energy CEO Ridderbusch on the co-op way of business

Largest Minnesota solar array wins approval from utility regulators

The $180 million power project is planned for leased farmland in Chisago County.
Ted Christopher is the founder and CEO of Verterra Energy Inc. He’s standing with the prototype of a turbine that took him several years to dev

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.
Derrick hand Scott Berreth (right) rappelled through the drilling rig structure as the crew prepared to restart machinery after some repairs had been

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 coal-fired Big Stone power plant rises on the prairie in South Dakota, just across the border from Ortonville, Minn. It is co-ownd by Otter Tail P

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.
Reflective backs on solar arrays reflected the suns rays. President and Founder of tenKsolar, Dallas Meyer, talked about how how the tenKsolar company

TenKsolar raises $25 million from new investors including Goldman Sachs

Investment will help sales; new investors include Goldman Sachs & Co.
Trains are loaded with coal at dawn at Arch Coal's Black Thunder mine near Wright, Wyo. The trains never stop moving under the giant coal loadout silo

Largest coal supplier to Minnesota electric utilities files for bankruptcy protection

Arch says it will keep shipping; Minnesota utilities don't foresee problems
A rail worker spoke to officers at the scene of a fatal incident involving a train at BNSF Railway on Harrison St. in Minneapolis, Minn. on Monday, Ma

N.D. oil trains shift route back to northeast Mpls. tracks, BNSF reports

Kevin and Cathy Palmer of Blaine bought six solar panels through Connexus Energy for their home in Blaine. They believe "it's time" to look to renewab

Connexus Energy sells out its first, and Minn.'s largest, community solar garden

After slow start, Connexus offered monthly payment option and business jumped
Clayton G. Rein, Twin Cities real estate developer and manger, art collector and founder and first president of the Minnesota Multi Housing Associatio

Obituary: Clayton Rein helped shape the housing industry in Minnesota

Power transmission lines are suspended from electricity pylons in Clifton, New Jersey, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010. U.S. electrical output rose 6.

Midwest consumer advocates win victory on electric grid transmission rates

Rick and Cheryl Ramberg looked out at where solar panels will be. ] (KYNDELL HARKNESS/STAR TRIBUNE) The Ramburg/Carpe

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.
50 million gals of oil a week pass through the Twin Cities from the Bakken. An oil train moves through St Paul, MN July 25, 2014 { tom.wallace@startri

SEC investigating unusual 2012 stock trading at oil train company

The inquiry is focused on a loan to a Wayzata firm.
Water is drawn from the Mississippi River through this building, center, the site of a recent chlorine leak. The Xcel Energy Prairie Island Nuclear Pl

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.
The drilling rig floor is slick with grease and oil.] (JIM GEHRZ/STAR TRIBUNE) / December 17, 2013, Watford City, ND – BACKGROUND I

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
FILE - In this July 29, 2010, file photo, a worker monitors water in Talmadge Creek in Marshall Township, Mich., near the Kalamazoo River as oil from

Heavy bitumen crude oil from Canada poses an extra environmental risk, study finds

Study findings come as regulators face key decisions on Minnesota pipelines
Benjamin Fowke

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.
Photo provided by MAC - attached an aerial photo of the ramps showing where the arrays are located at MSP International airport

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

The gray concrete walls of the Monticello nuclear power plant, 40 miles north of the Twin Cities. The upper third of the building is not hardened like

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.
CHS headquarters in Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

Farmer-owned cooperative CHS Inc. profits fell 28 percent in 2015

Annual profit declines 28 percent for the nation's largest farmer-owned cooperative.
A train made its way along the tracks near downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday. The number of trains carrying oil from North Dakota and traveling through

More N.D. oil trains entering Twin Cities via west suburbs

Temporary rerouting sends more past Target Field and through downtown Minneapolis.
Regular was priced at $192 per gallon at the BP on Lyndale Ave. S. & W. 36th St. Thursday afternoon. ] JEFF WHEELER ï

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

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.
Greg Hackenmueller, project superintendent at the Bethel University expansion. Mortenson has survived this current economic downturn partly by focusin

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.
The Blue Flint Ethanol and The Great River Energy Coal Creek Station are located next to each other in Underwood, ND. ] (JIM GEHRZ/STAR TRIBUNE) / Jul

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.
Mining will be a huge issue in the minds of 8th district voters. This is the MINNTAC taconite mine in Mountain Iron, Minnesota. ] Mountain Iron , MN -

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.
The drilling rig floor is slick with grease and oil.] (JIM GEHRZ/STAR TRIBUNE) / December 17, 2013, Watford City, ND – BACKGROUND I

Keystone XL would have helped N.D. move some of its oil

Xcel Energy said it will begin seeking a three-year rate hike of nearly 10 percent from Minnesota customers. File photo of new Xcel power lines under

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 said its third-quarter profit climbed nearly 16 percent, lifted by higher rates in Minnesota and the seven other states in which it operates.

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.
Reflective backs on solar arrays reflected the suns rays. President and Founder of tenKsolar, Dallas Meyer, talked about how how the tenKsolar company

TenKsolar to replace failed equipment on solar power arrays

A software problem with solar arrays curtailed energy production during late summer.
Scaffolding around the Capitol dome. ] GLEN STUBBE * , Tuesday, May 19, 2015 Crews wasted no time clearing out furniture and a

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.
A train made its way along the tracks near downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday. The number of trains carrying oil from North Dakota and traveling through

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.
Winona LaDuke led protestors as they demonstrated outside the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in St. Paul, before the hearing on June 3, 2015

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.
The Hometown BioEnergy power plant in Le Sueur, Minn., takes in farm waste and turns it into methane gas in a process called anaerobic digestion. The

Slow, stinky start to Le Sueur, Minn., green-energy project

The federally subsidized plant is generating less electricity, more odor.
Lyon-Lincoln Electric Coop Lineman Dan Tutt installs an LED Street Light in Russell, Minn., in 2014. More cities are saving money and improving night

Xcel Energy wants to replace 100,000 Minnesota streetlights with LEDs

Utility's five-year project promises better lighting, savings for cities.
Floor hand Ray Gerrish worked to make repairs on a drilling rig as the sun rose near the site outside Watford City. ] (JIM GEHRZ/STAR TRIBUNE) / Octob

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.
Emery Bulinski - ~ dad on the porch of the newly constructed Snowbank Lodge. 1967

Obituary: Emery Bulinski, owner of Ely's Snowbank Lodge