What we do

Fresh Energy’s overarching goal is to achieve measurable progress toward a strong and prosperous Minnesota energy economy, while leading the Midwest’s critical role in our nation’s transition to highly efficient clean energy and transportation systems.

To accomplish this goal, we concentrate our efforts in the following six key areas: retiring coal plants, regulating carbon pollution, improving our transportation and built environment, expanding transmission for renewables, increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Coal and carbon reduction

Fresh Energy promotes tough state and national laws and standards that lead to deep, permanent reductions in pollution from power plants, vehicles, and industry and make Minnesota a leader in the clean energy economy. In 2014, Fresh Energy made big strides in replacing dirty power plants with cleaner energy through analysis, advocacy, and public outreach.

Electric vehicles

Fresh Energy works to promote electric vehicles by pursuing policies that allow Minnesota to take advantage of an increasingly cleaner regional electricity mix. As we ratchet down the use of coal and ramp up efficiency and renewables, it’s now easier than in Minnesota than in any others state to fuel your car with 100 percent wind or solar power. Among other key accomplishments, Fresh Energy’s work in the area has resulted in bipartisan legislation that included a discounted rate for EV refueling, an option of zero- emissions refueling with renewable energy, an option for state agencies to have electric fleet vehicles, and an opportunity for utilities to become champions for EV adoption.

Built environment

Fresh Energy pursues policies that make our built environment more efficient—saving consumers money and cutting carbon emissions. In 2014, Fresh Energy led a new partnership on improving energy efficiency in affordable multi-unit housing and advocated for the commonsense disclosure of energy use data to spur additional efficiency.


Fresh Energy works across multiple Midwestern states to secure the transmission infrastructure needed for a large scale transition to clean energy. In 2014, Fresh Energy advocated for a 100-mile line that will provide a crucial outlet for wind development in the Buffalo Ridge region—Minnesota’s best wind resource.

Renewable energy

Fresh Energy works to achieve Minnesota policies that require increased use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar. In 2014, we intervened in multiple administrative processes, including utility planning and rate cases, working to get the renewable energy details right.

Energy efficiency

Fresh Energy pursues policies that make our built environment more efficient—saving consumers money and cutting carbon emissions. In 2014, we worked to make sure that Minnesota’s demand-side efficiency program is strong and effective and intervened in utility rate cases and resource planning to speed the transition to a new utility business model that rewards efficiency and uses best technology options.


Fresh Energy promotes innovative transportation and land-use policies that will help speed the transition to a cleaner transportation system and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Minnesota’s transportation system is in need of a long-term funding source in order to maintain our existing infrastructure and invest in future infrastructure. In 2014, the Move MN campaign brought together more than 200 organizations to advocate for needed funding. A strong foundation was laid this session and work will continue in 2015.