Minnesota has been a leader in implementing smart energy policy for decades. Thanks to the advocacy of Fresh Energy and our partners, several key policy advancements for electric vehicles have put Minnesota right back in the driver’s seat.
The most recent victory is a ruling made by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) just days ago that will require Xcel, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power to include an all-renewable charging option in all of their marketing materials for electric vehicle recharging. Additionally, the PUC sided with Fresh Energy and is requiring these utilities to report on how they evaluate the specific costs of off-peak renewables. Currently all-renewable options are offered at a premium price despite wind energy being the lowest cost resource.
These crucial steps come a year after Fresh Energy helped craft bipartisan legislation that included a discounted rate for electric vehicle refueling, an option of zero-emissions all-renewable refueling, an option for state agencies to have electric fleet vehicles, and an opportunity for utilities to become champions for electric adoption. As highlighted by the U.S. Department of Energy, this legislation made Minnesota the first state in the nation to adopt a statewide standard for electric refueling and ensured electric vehicles would be a prevalent part of the state’s clean energy future.
That landmark legislation was a win, win, win—big savings for consumers, an extraordinary market opportunity for utilities, and timely action for society, reducing the risk of oil dependence while cutting carbon pollution.
To put it simply, a rapid increase in the number of electric vehicles plugging and charging with renewables will mean that our car travel is powered by wind and solar instead of oil, gas, and fossil fuels. But more electric vehicles on the road will also lead to lower battery prices, better battery technology, and more energy storage— important parts of Minnesota’s clean energy future.
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