Top 7 Takeaways from the 2022 MN Energy Factsheet
The 2022 Minnesota Energy Factsheet highlights Minnesota’s clean energy industry’s progress and perseverance in the face of a challenging year. The 2021 numbers show the impact of the pandemic and turbulent energy market on Minnesota’s clean energy economy, but overall trends predict a promising future for Minnesota’s energy sector. With increased renewable power generation and installations, Minnesota has taken steps on its path toward energy independence.
The data in this year’s Factsheet was compiled by BloombergNEF and was published by Clean Energy Economy MN and our partners at the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and funded by the McKnight Foundation.
Here are the top 7 takeaways from this year’s Factsheet
1. The MAJOIRTY of Minnesota’s electricity comes from zero-carbon power sources at 52% – compared to the national average of 39%.
Minnesota’s electricity generation mix continues to trend away from coal-fired generation and toward renewables and natural gas. Zero-carbon power includes both renewables and nuclear energy generation. In the last ten years, no new coal-fired power plants were built in the state, and renewables accounted for 81% of all new capacity. In 2021, Minnesota built primarily (98.5%) renewable power plants, totaling 406MW of new wind and solar generation.
2. Minnesota is on its way to achieving energy independence – with ENERGY IMPORTS FALLING to just 10% in 2021, compared to 22% a decade ago.
Minnesota consumed 66TWh of electricity in 2021 and imported 6.3TWh. That marks the lowest level of imports for two decades. Imported electricity accounted for 10% of consumption in 2021, down from 22% in 2012. Total electricity consumption in Minnesota grew 3% from 2020-2021, as the economy recovered from the Covid-19 impacts.
3. Renewable energy was the NUMBER ONE source of electricity in Minnesota in 2021.
In 2021, renewable electricity provided 28% of Minnesota’s generation, the largest source for two years in a row. Wind was the largest source of renewable energy at 22% of all power generated. Solar technologies provided another 3.2%, hydro 1.5%, and biomass/waste-to-energy 2.2%.
4. 81% of all new power-generating capacity built in Minnesota in the last decade comes from renewables.
Over the last decade, Minnesota invested primarily in renewable electricity generation sources, adding 3.4GW. Activity has been particularly strong in the past five years with 2.3GW of new renewables added, including 1.1GW of solar and 1.2GW of wind. Minnesota also built 406MW of new wind and solar last year, which accounted for 98.5% of all new generation capacity.
5. Emissions from electricity produced in Minnesota have fallen 40% in the last decade.
And since 2005, emissions from electricity have fallen nearly 50 percent. We saw a slight (9%) increase in emissions in 2021 from 2020, this increase was expected due to a rebound in economic activity and the increase in the use of coal power due to the rising prices of natural gas – though emissions still remain below pre-pandemic levels.
6. Minnesota’s energy productivity, or how efficiently we use energy, increased to 29% in 2021, up from 25% in 2020.
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Minnesota ranks first in the Midwest for our energy efficiency efforts and 9th in the nation. Minnesota’s successful Conservation Improvement Program (CIP), has paved the way for Minnesota to cost-effectively achieve the savings required by its annual Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS). In 2021, Minnesota passed the Energy Conservation and Optimization Act (ECO) which modernizes CIP and will help keep Minnesota on the leading edge of energy waste reduction.
7. Minnesotans are choosing electric vehicles at an increasing rate. Annual registrations for electric vehicles have INCREASED 300% in the last 5 years.
The increase in electric vehicles can be attributed to a combination of lower prices, federal subsidies, and greater consumer choice. Transportation is the sector that contributes most to Minnesota CO2 emissions. To meet the state’s aggressive goal to cut economy-wide emissions, EV adoption must therefore accelerate dramatically. In July 2021, Governor Walz signed Clean Cars Minnesota into law, making Minnesota the first Clean Cars state in the Midwest to help in this effort.