Minnesota’s top 10 gains on clean energy in 2018

January 8, 2019
With another year behind us, it's time to look back at some of the biggest gains for clean energy in Minnesota!

1. Minnesota leads the Midwest in energy efficiency and renewable energy

Minnesota’s two largest clean energy sectors, energy efficiency and renewable energy, grew faster than those sectors in other Midwest states. Clean energy now employs more than 59,000 Minnesotans, and jobs in clean energy grew twice as fast as overall job growth in the state. Another fun fact: 40% of clean energy jobs are located in Greater Minnesota.

Source: 2018 Clean Jobs Midwest Report https://www.cleanjobsmidwest.com/state/minnesota


2. Xcel Energy commits to 100% carbon free electricity by 2050

Shortly after being named Utility Dive’s “Utility of the Year” for its leadership in the clean energy transition, Xcel Energy made a grand announcement. The utility giant committed to an 80% reduction of carbon emissions by 2030 and a goal of 100% carbon free electricity by 2050. Xcel Energy hopes to meet this ambitious goal through the  implementation of new renewable and carbon-free generation and energy storage technologies.

Sources: https://www.xcelenergy.com/company/media_room/news_releases/xcel_energy_aims_for_zero-carbon_electricity_by_2050



3. Renewable energy resources supply a quarter of the state’s net electricity generation

In March, Bloomberg New Energy Finance released its national energy report that found 25% of the electricity generated in Minnesota came from renewable energy sources, up from 23% in 2016. Wind alone produced 18% of the state’s net electricity, with a mix of biomass, hydro and solar power making up the remaining 7%.

Source: http://www.bcse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018-BCSE-BNEF-Minnesota-Energy-Factsheet.pdf


4. Metro Transit commits to 100% electric by 2022

In December, Metro Transit announced its plan to gradually add electric buses over the next few years with a goal of an all-electric fleet by 2022. The buses will be manufactured by New Flyer in St. Cloud.

Source: https://www.metrotransit.org/fleet-plan-calls-for-gradual-addition-of-electric-buses



5. Minnesota ranked 8th in nation for energy efficiency

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked Minnesota 8th in the nation through their 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. This was the highest ranking in the Midwest and was the 11th time in the past 12 years that Minnesota had been ranked in the top 10.

Source: https://mn.gov/commerce-stat/pdfs/EnergyEfficiencyScorecard.pdf


6. Shared renewables program ranked highest in the country

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) released its annual National Shared Renewables Scorecard in October, which evaluates state shared renewables programs which “generate energy at an electric provider’s site and allow participants to get bill credit for that energy without having to install it [on their property].” Out of 17 programs from 12 different states, Minnesota’s Solar*Rewards Community Program came out on top with the only “A” grade.

Sources: https://sharedrenewablesscorecard.org/#minnesota

https://www.utilitydive.com/news/minnesota-new-york-lead-on-shared-renewables-california-connecticut-fall/540682/ https://sharedrenewablesscorecard.org/


7. Report predicts more growth for clean energy jobs

In November, the McKnight Foundation report “Minnesota’s Smarter Grid” found that jobs in Minnesota’s clean energy sector could more than triple by 2050, creating an estimated 14,000 jobs in the wind industry and 36,000 jobs in the solar industry. This increase would be a result of decarbonizing Minnesota’s economy 80% from 2005 levels by 2050 as directed by Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. The study also found that electricity rates, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions would decrease.

Source: https://www.mcknight.org/wp-content/uploads/MinnessotasSmarterGrid_online.pdf


8. Minnesota’s first large-scale solar-plus battery storage project launches

Connexus Energy unveiled their large-scale solar-plus battery storage project in October – the state’s first-ever solar-plus storage project. Without storage, the project would create energy equivalent to 1,889 homes on average per year, but with battery storage units, it can store over three times that amount. The project will also save customers money, because it will reduce peak demand.

Source: https://www.connexusenergy.com/blog/2018/solar-storage-in-ramsey-and-athens-township/


9. Xcel Energy’s Community Solar Program hits 400 MW

As of August, Xcel Energy’s community solar program in Minnesota reached 400MW and as of December is close to breaking 500 MW. More than 10,000 residential customers (92% of all subscribers) are saving money with a shared solar subscription and nearly one-third of the program capacity serves public entities such as schools.

Sources: https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2018/08/28/minnesota-community-solar-reaches-400-mw-milestone/



10. Minnesota has 2nd highest solar job growth

The Solar Foundation’s 2017 Solar Job Census found that Minnesota was second in the nation for overall growth in solar jobs at 48.2% – 25 times faster than the overall state economy.

Source: https://www.thesolarfoundation.org/solar-jobs-census-factsheet-2017-mn/


Bonus Gain: Minneapolis Moves Towards Sustainability with 100 Percent Renewable Electricity Plan
As of April, Minneapolis joined cities like Rochester and St. Louis Park in commiting to a goal 100% renewable electricity. The target for municipal facilities and operations to be fully renewable is 2022 with the rest of the city following by 2030.

Sources: http://tcbmag.com/news/articles/2018/april/minneapolis-moves-towards-sustainability-with-100


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