Majority of Minnesota Electricity Zero-Emission in 2020

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Resilient growth and new milestones show momentum for energy transition

ST. PAUL, MINN. – The 2021 Minnesota Energy Factsheet, released today, shows that clean energy made huge strides in 2020, despite the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, zero-carbon electricity (composed of renewables and nuclear), generated 55 percent of Minnesota’s electricity, up from 48 percent in 2019. For the first time, renewable energy was the biggest source of electricity in Minnesota at 29 percent of total generation. Of 588 megawatts of new generation capacity built in 2020, all of it was wind or solar, marking a new record for Minnesota.

“Last year’s addition of new wind and solar capacity shows how Minnesota’s clean energy transition is happening in real time,” said Gregg Mast, executive director of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota. “With the right policy levers in place, businesses can fully leverage the clean energy transition and ensure that jobs continue to grow and that the economic benefits are extended to everyone who lives here.”

“Years like 2020 remind us why long-term data collection and analysis are critical tools for the clean energy industry,” said Lisa Jacobson, president of the BCSE. “The 2021 Minnesota Energy Factsheet shows that clean energy has strong momentum that carried the industry through a challenging year, but that progress cannot be taken for granted. For the clean energy sector to continue expanding its workforce and reducing emissions, it must be central in economic stimulus and recovery policy.”

The Factsheet is a companion to the 2021 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which outlines key trends influencing national and state investment and economics, energy supply, and energy demand. Both resources are commissioned by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), with research by BloombergNEF.

“The data in this year’s Minnesota Energy Factsheet shows very clearly how the right policy paired with ideal market conditions can create swift, positive changes in our energy sector,” said Aditya Ranade, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Energy Resources at the Minnesota Department of Commerce. “Since 2005, carbon emissions from the state’s power sector are down by more than 30%. We will continue to work in collaboration across the state to continue this progress.”

“From our perspective – partnering with cities and campuses to decrease their carbon emissions is not only important work – it’s work that bolsters economic growth in those communities,” said Ken Smith, President and CEO of Ever-Green Energy. “Minnesota is showing how innovative solutions to incorporate renewable energy and decrease emissions are helping us transition to a clean energy economy. And we’re doing it in a way that is strengthening our economy and creating jobs along the way.”

Highlights from this year’s Minnesota Energy Factsheet include:

●      More than HALF of Minnesota’s power came from zero-carbon sources in 2020. Meanwhile, coal’s contribution slipped from 30 percent in 2019 to 25 percent in 2020. 

●      RENEWABLE GENERATION rose from 18 percent of generation in 2011 to 29 percent in 2020, becoming the #1 source of electricity in Minnesota last year.

●      82% of all NEW POWER-GENERATING CAPACITY built in Minnesota in the last decade came from RENEWABLE ENERGY, adding 3.6 GW.

●      POWER SECTOR EMISSIONS in Minnesota fell nearly 17 percent in 2020 alone. Since 2011, emissions are down 40 percent.

●      Major Minnesota-based corporations have increased their efforts to procure renewable energy. 3M Co., Cargill Inc., Ecolab Inc., Target Corp., and General Mills between them have now signed agreements to power their operations with either wind or solar energy from projects representing over 1.3 GIGAWATTS OF CAPACITY.

●      Excluding the production tax credit (PTC), new wind builds are the CHEAPEST FORM of new electricity generation in the state. With the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), new solar builds are competitive with new combined-cycle natural gas plant builds on a $/MWh basis in Minnesota.

●      ELECTRIC VEHICLE sales in Minnesota are accelerating as battery prices have fallen. From 2016 to 2020 annual registrations of battery electric vehicles increased 535% to 3,800 units. Annual plug-in hybrid electric vehicle registrations rose 150% to 2,000 units.

●      The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked MINNESOTA 9th out of all 50 states for its overall energy efficiency programs (the HIGHEST RANKING in the Midwest).

Download the 2021 Minnesota Energy Factsheet today at http://www.bcse.org/factbook/#mn.

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About Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM): CEEM is an industry-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit representing the business voice for clean energy in Minnesota. CEEM provides a unified voice for clean energy business across the state. Our mission is to provide educational leadership, collaboration, and policy analysis that accelerates clean energy market growth and smart energy policies. Learn more at cleanenergyeconomymn.org.


About the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE): BCSE is a trade association representing the energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy sectors. It advocates for policies at the state, federal, and international level that promote the deployment of the full portfolio of commercially available clean energy products, technologies and services. Learn more at bcse.org.

About BloombergNEF: BloombergNEF is a leading provider of primary research on clean energy, advanced transport, digital industry, innovative materials, and commodities.  With a team of experts spread across six continents, BloombergNEF leverages the world’s most sophisticated data sets to create clear perspectives and in-depth forecasts that frame the financial, economic and policy implications of industry-transforming trends and technologies.  Available online, on mobile and on the Terminal, BloombergNEF is powered by Bloomberg’s global network of 19,000 employees in 176 locations, reporting 5,000 news stories a day. Learn more at about.bnef.com