New Factsheet reveals dramatic cost declines for renewable energy
Cleaner generation sources bring Minnesota’s carbon emissions down 34% since 2005
ST. PAUL, MINN. – The rapid cost declines for renewable energy have enabled the industry to deliver the lowest cost electricity options in Minnesota according to the 2019 Minnesota State Energy Factsheet, released today. The findings, which show that renewables are the second largest source of electricity generation in Minnesota for the second year in a row, come at a time when state legislators and Governor Tim Walz are proposing to transition the state’s electricity generation to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
The Minnesota State Energy Factsheet is a companion to the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, compiled by research firm BloombergNEF for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE). The Factbook outlines key trends influencing national and state investment and economics, energy supply, and energy demand. As the American energy sector continues its transformation to cleaner, cheaper sustainable energy, Minnesota remains a leader. Highlights from this year’s Minnesota Factsheet include:
- The cost of wind and solar in Minnesota declined 16 percent and 23 percent respectively over the past year. For example: cost of wind = $38/MWh unsubsidized compared to last year when Minnesota wind levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) came in at $45/MWh unsubsidized. With subsidies Minnesota wind is now $26/MWh.
- Renewable generation jumped 37% from 2013 to 2018 reaching an estimated 15TWh, or 25 percent of the state’s total electricity generation mix, making it the second largest source of electricity in Minnesota for the second year in a row.
- Wind alone produced 18% of total Minnesota power in 2018.
- Minnesota now has 508MW of community solar online, the most of any state in the nation. Over 100 community solar gardens were added in the state in 2018.
- Natural gas generation was 15.3 percent of the Minnesota electricity mix, at 8.8TWh, in 2018.
- The total average monthly electricity bill for Minnesota households was $97.58 in 2017 (the last year for which data is available); this is 13% below the national average.
- Minnesota-based corporations are stepping up efforts to procure renewable energy. 3M Co., Cargill Inc., Ecolab Inc., Target Corp., and General Mills have all signed agreements to power their operations with either wind or solar.
- Minnesota’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, which operates utilities in eight states, announced it would deliver 100% carbon-free power to all of its customers by 2050, and reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2030, from 2005 levels.
- Minnesota is well-positioned to take advantage of rapidly declining battery storage costs (across the U.S. prices for lithium ion batteries fell 18% last year). The state’s first large scale solar plus storage project came online in 2018.
- The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked Minnesota 8th out of all 50 states, the highest ranking in the Midwest, for its overall energy efficiency programs (up from a rank of 9th last year).
Industry leaders are seeing these trends play out in Minnesota:
“The dramatically changing clean energy landscape means our business has to stay alert to changing prices, technologies and attitudes. As the costs for wind, solar, and energy storage all continue to fall year-over-year, that means new opportunities for our business, which in turn creates new jobs. Werner Electric is thrilled with the direction clean energy is headed in Minnesota.” said Ryan Butterfield, Director of Energy Services & Solutions at Werner Electric.
“The biggest takeaway from this report is that Minnesota has a ton of momentum to make big leaps forward in transforming its energy system. The rapid cost declines of renewables can’t be overstated because each year these technologies become cheaper. Clean energy is a smart choice for businesses across the state and country,” said CEEM Executive Director Gregg Mast. “I’m proud of the policy leadership happening at the state level, and I hope to see the passage of ambitious policies this legislative session that will lead to even more growth for innovative clean energy solutions.”
“Sustainable energy’s contributions to Minnesota are expanding and delivering increased jobs and economic benefits to communities, businesses and manufacturers in the state,” said Lisa Jacobson, President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. “We examine sustainable energy trends across the country – and Minnesota is a clear leader. We look forward to seeing businesses and policymakers in the state build on these encouraging trends.”
The 2019 Factbook is provided in a PDF format (totaling over 100 slides) and is intended to serve as a reference guide of energy statistics throughout the year. The Minnesota Factsheet is a shorter companion resource that can be used as a quick guide. Please see www.bcse.org/factbook for both publications.
About Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM): CEEM is an industry-led, non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening Minnesota’s clean energy business ecosystem. 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.
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.