Energy Efficiency

Avoided cost utilized in solar pricing after decades of impacting conservation

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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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Energy Efficiency

Building energy footprints trending down

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This week Minnesota Public Radio released a report describing how real estate company Madison Equities is overhauling three of their large downtown St. Paul buildings. The most visible upgrade will be the replacing the neon lighting on the iconic First National Bank Building with LED lighting. This is part of a comprehensive $12.5 million retrofit project resulting in a 40 percent reduction in energy use between the three properties. And while the end result of this project will mean big savings, it actually started with a small decision – to benchmark how much energy the buildings were using in the first place.

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Energy Efficiency

Minnesota’s opportunity for better buildings with SB 2030

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This summer, the Minnesota Environmental Board (EQB) released the Climate Solutions and Economic Opportunities Report (CSEO Report), laying out the need to expand Minnesota’s “zero energy” building code, Sustainable Buildings 2030 (SB 2030). SB 2030 is an initiative to make all newly constructed and renovated buildings carbon neutral by 2030.

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