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Consumer-Friendly Community Solar Pledge

The solar industry in Minnesota is growing rapidly, with new businesses and jobs being added every day. To help consumers navigate this rapidly growing market, Fresh Energy has established a set of best practices you can look for when choosing a community solar business.
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Clean Energy

Clean Energy

Property rights protected by Minnesota regulators

Today, Minnesota regulators ruled in favor of consumers and their property rights when it comes to generating their own solar power. The issue at hand was a customer complaint brought to the Public Utilities Commission after the customer felt he was denied his rights to be compensated for generating his own energy under Minnesota law. The customer’s utility – Minnesota Valley Light and Power Association in Montevideo – had attempted to pay nothing for a significant amount of electricity and other system benefits his solar system would provide back to the grid.

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Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency

Supporters raise $13,005 for Fresh Energy on #GTMD16

As part of Give to the Max Day, nearly 90 Fresh Energy supporters donated $13,005 to keep Minnesota’s progress on clean energy going. We’re especially proud to work in communities across the state and earn the support from folks from Rochester to Elk River and Morris to Laporte. The momentum across Minnesota has also earned Fresh Energy national acclaim, bringing in donations from five different states yesterday alone. Fresh Energy is proud to be a leading voice for clean energy policy and we couldn’t do our work without the amazing support from individuals across the state and country. Thank you so much for your support.

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Avoided cost utilized in solar pricing after decades of impacting conservation

This summer, Minnesota became the first state in the nation to adopt a value of solar (VOS) tariff. This methodology, in contrast with net metering for solar generation, has a 25-year bill credit schedule rather than simply mirroring the retail rate as it fluctuates over time. While factoring in avoided cost may be a new idea for solar, factoring in the value of avoided cost has been used to analyze energy efficiency programs for over 40 years.

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Global Warming

Global Warming

Minnesota Power To Retire Two Coal Plants

Today, Minnesota Power based in Duluth announced their decision to retire two older coal-burning power plants, Boswell 1 and 2 in Cohasset, MN, near Grand Rapids, by the end of 2018. Fresh Energy and our clean energy partners advocated that these units appear to be no longer economic to run, with cleaner energy available and cheaper. Regulators at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on June 9, 2016 evaluated the economics of running these older units with needed additional pollution controls, compared to other cleaner, cheaper options for meeting energy needs, and the PUC agreed with us.

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How the historic decision to transform Xcel Energy’s electricity was made

Working directly with Xcel and with our “Clean Energy Organizations”, or CEO, partnership, Fresh Energy used for the first time in Minnesota the same utility inputs and modeling Xcel uses. We analyzed options for closing the Sherco 1 and 2 coal plants and replacing them with vast amounts of cost-effective energy efficiency, wind, and solar power. Our independent analysis demonstrated that Xcel’s cheapest course of action—and the lowest in carbon—was the retirement and replacement of these two units, which are the biggest sources of global warming pollution in the Upper Midwest. Xcel agreed with our analysis, and completely revised its 15-year plan to reflect those economic opportunities. Fresh Energy applauds the unanimous Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decision to modify and approve Xcel’s 15-year Resource Plan as the affordable, reliable, and clean path forward for Minnesota customers.

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Public Utilities Commission Unanimously Approves Xcel’s 15-year energy plan

Today, the Public Utilities Commission held its final hearing and unanimously approved with modifications Xcel Energy’s 15-year energy plan (Integrated Resource Plan). After two years of rigorous study, Xcel Energy proposed a Midwest-leading energy plan for the next 15 years – doubling the amount of wind and solar on its system and taking significant strides to reduce coal with the retiring of Sherco units 1 and 2 in the mid-2020s. Xcel’s proposed energy plan saw broad support from customers, including over 10,000 Minnesotans; cities of Becker, Red Wing, and Minneapolis; Sherburne County; clean energy organizations, and the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

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The Narrative

The Narrative

Electric Cooperatives Connecting Pollinator Conservation and Clean Energy

“Butterflies, birds, and bees find a haven at Connexus” proclaimed the email recently sent to all members of Connexus Energy, Minnesota’s largest customer-owned electric cooperative. Connexus’ community solar garden hasn’t just been popular with its members — the site is also benefitting Minnesota’s bumblebees, honeybees, and foraging song birds — and is on the leading edge of a rapidly growing trend.

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188-2: Minnesota Sets Standard for Land Use on Solar Sites

Authored by agriculture leaders, a new law sends a clear signal to the solar industry regarding a preferred practice for use of land on solar sites. State-wide standard will meaningfully help Minnesota’s bees, monarchs, pheasants, and songbirds, by providing abundant, high-quality foraging habitat on solar sites.

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Transportation & Land Use

Transportation & Land Use

December 6 at Noon CST| Everything EVs Webinar

Join our electric vehicle expert Jukka Kukkonen on December 6 and ask every question you’ve ever had about EVs. Jukka Kukkonen is an electric vehicle expert at Fresh Energy who has worked extensively with auto manufacturers, private businesses, local governments, and EV owners. After giving a quick presentation, Jukka will answer your questions and help get you charged up about going electric.

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#SaferStreets are better for businesses, families, and the community

One of the biggest challenges in our current transportation system is the way our streets are designed. In many parts of our communities the only safe option for people to get around town is to drive a car, raising costs and limiting options for businesses, families, and the community as a whole. Last year, St Paul sought to address this issue by creating and passing a long-term plan for expanding safe transportation options throughout the city. This bike plan established a comprehensive network of safe bike routes – making it easier for people to reduce congestion, wear and tear, and their associated costs on our streets. Now, with a long term plan in place, business leaders, city officials, and state lawmakers are standing up to support safer streets for St Paul.

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325,000 reserved the new Tesla – what does it mean for EVs?

This is the latest is a series of events showing the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in Minnesota and nationally, including an all-electric room at the Twin Cities Auto Show and a steep discount on the Nissan Leaf in the month of March. With the Chevy Bolt (another 200 mile electric vehicle expected to cost around $35,000) set to release next year, a year ahead of the Model 3, a new issue is about to be raised in the world of electric vehicles: the downside of being first to market.

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