Global Warming

Minnesota Power To Retire Two Coal Plants

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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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Global Warming

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

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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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Clean Energy

EPA agrees with Fresh Energy, provides opportunities for solar in low-income communities

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On June 16, the Environmental Protection Agency agreed with Fresh Energy’s recommendations and announced updates to its proposed Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), a voluntary program that helps states meet their Clean Power Plan goals by encouraging investments in clean, renewable energy in the two years before the first compliance deadline.

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Global Warming

Public Utilities Commission protects customers from Minnesota Power’s aging coal plants

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On June 9, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted unanimously to approve Minnesota Power’s 15-year resource plan, requiring additional coal retirements and additional investments in wind, solar, and energy savings.

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Global Warming

175 nations sign the Paris Climate Agreement

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Over 170 governments declared an end to the fossil fuel era on Earth Day, April 22, signing the Paris Agreement, the first global commitment on climate change. Signers included the big emitters: the U.S., China, India, and Russia. World leaders were united in speaking of the urgency to act on climate change, calling for scaled up actions, and saying that political will was never stronger. Leaders also committed to rapid national processes to approve the agreement. However, while the landmark signing ceremony made history, global temperatures keep shattering records. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon explained, “We are in a race against time.”

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Global Warming

Nation-leading news: Judge recommends Minnesota use federal “social cost of carbon”

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A huge win for Minnesota on April 15 – a judge, after over a year of expert testimony, legal briefs, and public hearings, recommended to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that it adopt the federal “social cost of carbon” as the binding external cost of carbon dioxide emissions for all electric utility decision making. That means that the PUC (and the utilities that need the PUC to approve their spending plans) will have to include those very negative external costs in their calculations. As a result, fossil forms of electricity generation will be much more difficult to justify on economic terms.

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Global Warming

Statement on Supreme Court Putting Clean Power Plan on Pause

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“The Supreme Court’s highly unusual action flies in the face of common sense and of Minnesota experience. Experts agree the Clean Power Plan is on solid legal ground and will prevail based on legal merits. Minnesota is already on track to meet the Clean Power Plan goals and we expect the ruling to be only a pause in the process toward full implementation. The Clean Power Plan is firmly anchored in our nation’s clean air laws and a strong scientific record, and we expect the Clean Power Plan will surpass this challenge as Americans continue to work together to protect our families and communities from the clear and present danger of global warming.”

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Global Warming

What does the historic Paris climate agreement mean for Minnesota?

At the end of last year, 195 countries at the Paris Climate Summit agreed to the first-ever global agreement to cut carbon. The agreement reflects the momentum that cities, companies, countries, and civil society groups have built since the first international climate conference in 1992.

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Global Warming

2015 was the world’s hottest year ever recorded – it’s time for action

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Today, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released data showing that 2015 was by far the warmest year on record, surpassing 2014 by an unprecedented 1.6 degrees Celsius. These new data confirm that now is the time to take global action to address climate. Thankfully, 194 countries from around the world now have a framework in place to move in that direction. On the heels of the historic Paris Agreement, it’s crucial that Minnesota continue to lead by example on energy policy that can grow local businesses and create well-paying jobs all while reducing emissions from dirty, imported fuels.

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