Passive solar heating panels

December 11th, 2022

For years, I’ve wanted to put together a test project here in Red Wing, a solar heating panel on the south facing wall of many of the homes in town. Given the major impact of a heating panel on ONE house, imagine the heat, cost savings, and energy consumption decrease in a fleet of them! Oh well… I’ve not done the work, but if I have some time, dream on, but parking some pages here and starting a file.

There are so many good sites with info. The most important take away is that it’s very CHEAP to build these, and doesn’t take much skill.

And some related inks:

Low Profile, Aluminum Downspout, Solar Hot Air Construction Project

Downspout Test Collector Construction

OK, parked…


9:30 a.m. Wednesday November 9, 2022

3rd Floor Large Meeting Room

Public Utilities Commission

121 – 7th Place East, St. Paul

Seeing so many drought posts, photos of the Mississippi River at such low levels, looking at the Elephant Butte reservoir and the Rio Grande, drought affecting bird migration through California, essentially drought throughout much of U.S., particularly east of the Mississippi:

… and as I was deleting files, cleaning up computer as I clean up hard copy boxes and boxes of old files (i.e., the Mesaba Project, glad to be putting that one away), I found a report on water needs of power plants, it’s old, but I’d guess relevant, eh?

Here’s the 2011 update:

2011 Update: Estimating Freshwater Needs to Meet Future Thermoelectric Generation Requirements

Interesting that a search doesn’t turn up anything newer!!! Another from 2011:

A Review of Operational Water Consumption and Withdrawal Factors for Electricity Generating Technologies

There is this, so July 2022, must need other search terms???

NETL Co-Develops New Model for Sustainable Freshwater Use by Power Plants

When boats are having a hard time getting around on the Mississippi River, what does this mean for all the power plants dependent on the Mississippi for their water supply? Even our lovely garbage burner here on the river, not to mention Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant!

It was 20 years ago today…

October 22nd, 2022



Well, a bit more than 20 years ago… January 15, 2002, just after the start of the legislative session, I was at an energy committee meeting, Senate? House? I think Senate was first, then heard again at House, and the following year they got their legislation through as a part of the 2003 Prairie Island bill.

Anyway, there was a presentation back in 2002 about the greatest thing since sliced bread (NOT!), a coal gasification project proposed for “somewhere” on the Range. Here’s what they presented:

Note the parts about “brownfield” and “existing infrastructure.” LIES, it’s that simple. Here’s what their site looked like, this was at the DOE and locals site visit in 2005:

Marching through the woods, a tour of the brownfield site with infrastructure
Another site tour, Itasca County officials on site!
And another time, in November, 2006, the project developer was trespassing on land owned by one of our members during hunting season. There was no access to the proposed project site!

Starting in 2005, I was representing “mncoalgasplant,” landowners and residents near the proposed project, joined in tandem by Citizens Against the Mesaba Project (CAMP) (site circa 2013 with live links, thanks waybackmachine!). We had such active folks, every hearing was PACKED, and eventually the project faded, never formally declared dead, but piece by piece, it went away.

HOWEVER, Excelsior Energy did manage to get an save passed by the legislature for a natural gas plant:

Week before last, I picked up files from a cohort who shall remain unnamed, and am scanning in boxes of files, to post here, and recycle hard copies for biomass (UGH, but that’s what Red Wing does. Thanks, Xcel Energy!). I’ll be posting them, some interesting stuff if you’re into energy and political and capital intrigue, some purely inside baseball that no one will care about.

MONEY TRACKING – Spreadsheets and invoices to IRRB for reimbursement

Various Contractor Invoices (some redacted)

What a pain in the patoot that was — TWO ENTIRE WASTEBASKET OF SCANNING!