Get the Facts: Clean Energy Delivers for Minnesota

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March began with some exciting energy news for Minnesota. Among the headlines: renewables are now Minnesota's second largest source of electricity. And, according to data just released from the Department of Energy, a full 25 percent of Minnesota’s energy generation comes from renewable sources -- meeting our state’s Renewable Energy Standard a full seven years early.

This was big news -- and it helped us kick off our our second annual briefing for the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook and Minnesota State Energy Factsheet, which is produced by research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE).

The 2018 Factbook (available here) provides the latest, accurate market information about energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy. The data highlights major changes that occurred over the past year, which show that clean energy is delivering more jobs, increased economic growth, and greater energy productivity for America and Minnesota. To see where Minnesota stands in the midst of the energy transition take a look at the 2018 Minnesota State Energy Factsheet.

We were proud to partner with BCSE, as well as Greater MSP, the McKnight Foundation, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and the Science Museum of Minnesota for this noteworthy event.

At the briefing, Rachel Luo, an analyst from BNEF who compiled the report, shared key trends from the national data, among them were:

  • Economic growth no longer relies on expanding energy consumption – U.S. GDP has uncoupled from primary energy consumption.
  • Sustainable energy has become an established part of U.S. power – in the past 10 years U.S. electricity generation from renewables has increased 92% (while coal has dropped 38%).
  • The power sector transformation is not ratcheting up consumer costs – in fact, electricity is making up a smaller share of household bills than ever before.

The presentation also highlighted significant changes in Minnesota, such as:

  • Renewables are growing contributors to Minnesota’s power mix—renewables now account for 25 percent of our electricity generation.
  • Solar is on the verge of becoming economic—and, last year, annual solar capacity additions overtook those for wind in Minnesota.
  • Minnesota is meeting more of its electricity needs with in-state resources—with an increase in in-state generation and a decline in retail sales of electricity the state cut the amount of electricity imported by 63%.
  • Minnesota performs far above the U.S. average for energy efficiency measures—our state is ranked 9th out of all 50 states by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for its overall energy efficiency programs.

 

Along with BNEF’s presentation we were fortunate to have industry leaders discuss the Factsheet findings and impact of the growth of clean energy for Minnesota. Stephanie Zawatowski, Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of Governor Mark Dayton, and Brandon Denne, Manager of Procurement at Blattner Energy provided opening remarks for the event. CEEM’s Executive Director Gregg Mast led a panel with experts from across industries, including: 

  • Dan Juhl, Chairman of the Board, Juhl Energy
  • Jeff Moe, Global Director of Energy Policy and Product Advocacy, Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability, Ingersoll Rand
  • Nina Axelson, Vice President of Public Relations, Ever-Green Energy
  • Pamela Gorman Prochaska, Director of Nuclear Regulatory Policy, Xcel Energy
  • Sheri Brezinka, Regional Director of the West North Central Region, U.S. Green Building Council

Among the comments made during the panel were that the complexity of our energy sector shouldn’t confuse us or slow us down—the investment in clean energy and energy efficient technologies has been strong and consistent. Resources like the Minnesota State Energy Factsheet and national Factbook are important tools for measuring our progress, eliciting conversation and asking, “Where do we want to go next?”

We hope you will be part of the conversation with us. Want to be involved? Have questions about the Factbook? Get in touch.

 

Did you miss the event? Check out the conversation on Twitter at #CleanEnergyDelivers and #GetTheFacts.