Top 5 Takeaways from the 2023 MN Energy Factsheet
The 2023 MN Energy Factsheet
Minnesota’s energy industry faced challenges and exciting opportunities in 2022, including supply chain constraints, solar tariff cases and workforce shortages.
- The challenges:
- Global instability from the war in Ukraine resulted in energy price increases, while grid congestion made interconnecting projects to the electricity grid a challenge.
- At the same time, the industry was faced with uncertainty based on the solar tariff cases and workforce shortages that led to small growth in renewable energy installations.
- The opportunities:
- Approval of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s Long Range Transmission Planning Tranche 1 Portfolio
- The enactment of the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act
- The announcement of Minnesota’s Climate Action Framework.
The 2023 MN Energy Factsheet is produced by Clean Energy Economy MN and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, with data contributions from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, BloombergNEF, and the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and with the support of the McKnight Foundation. It provides a fact-based overview of Minnesota’s energy sector and presents key metrics and highlights recent trends. Here are the top five takeaways from this year’s report.
1. Clean energy is locked into Minnesota’s future
Minnesota’s clean energy transition is locked in and steadily advancing every year. For the third consecutive year, zero-carbon power generated the majority of Minnesota’s electricity, this year reaching 55%. This is significantly higher than the national share of 41%! Producing clean energy in the state means that Minnesota is well on its way to becoming energy independent. In fact, Minnesota has slashed energy imports by more than half in the last decade – with just 9% of energy being imported in 2022, compared to 25% in 2013.
The clean energy industry in Minnesota employs nearly 58,000 workers, and it grew in line with the state’s overall workforce in 2021. Although job growth remains steady, the total clean energy workforce has not yet reached its pre-pandemic peak of nearly 62,000 workers.
2. Renewables are the vast majority of new energy capacity in Minnesota
Minnesota’s electricity generation mix is shifting away from coal-fired generation and towards renewables and natural gas. Renewable technologies accounted for nearly one-third of Minnesota’s generation in 2022, rising 75% over the last decade from 10.6TWh to 18.6TWh in 2022. The state added 96% of new generation capacity from wind and solar in 2022, with renewables making up 81% of all new capacity built in the last decade. Natural gas and oil plants made up the remaining capacity, as no new coal-fired power plants were built in the state in the last decade.
In 2022, Minnesota added 228MW of new wind and solar generation. Over the last decade, the state retired 953MW of coal-fired power plants, and all coal plants located in Minnesota plan to retire by 2035. The implementation of Minnesota’s Climate Action Framework will continue to promote the expansion of carbon-free electricity, as a primary goal of the framework is to reduce carbon emissions by increasing renewable energy production.
3. Emissions are dropping in the state
Due to the shifts in Minnesota’s energy mix, power sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have fallen 50% in Minnesota since 2005. In this timeframe, Minnesota has reduced power sector CO2 emissions faster than the U.S. average. In 2022, power sector CO2 emissions decreased 7% (nearly 35% in the last decade) while national power sector emissions dipped 1.5%.
4. Minnesota is a national leader in energy efficiency
Minnesota continues to demonstrate its leadership in energy efficiency policy and realized energy savings. The state has seen a 31% boost in energy productivity over the last decade, a measure of the economic benefit gained from each unit of energy used. Minnesota is also a regional leader in energy efficiency, again ranking in the top 10 nationally and the highest in the Midwest for its overall energy efficiency programs and policies, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Minnesota’s strong policy in the Conservation Improvement Program and the Energy Conservation and Optimization Act are leading the way for the state’s continued progress in this sector.
5. Electric vehicles are showing up more on Minnesota roads
Minnesotans are increasingly choosing electric vehicles. There are currently four times as many EVs on Minnesota roads as there were in 2018, and more than 1000x as many as in 2013. Transportation is the sector which contributes the most greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota’s economy, making it a focus for meeting the Climate Action Framework goal of a carbon-neutral economy.
The Climate Action Framework will also create a statewide EV plan, and the state is leveraging all available funds to improve EV charging infrastructure. The state is also investing the $68 million from the bipartisan Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for EV charging infrastructure. Minnesota has also increased activity in the electrification of other transportation sources like electric buses.