Energy Efficiency

Electric Utilities 2.0

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Electric utilities’ old way of doing business is increasingly out of date. Instead of a system that incentivizes selling more and more energy, we need a system that works in partnership with how the world is changing—and helps electric utilities become efficiency and conservation champions.

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Energy Efficiency

State agency studies energy savings goals

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The 2013 legislative session included a requirement that the state’s Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources conduct a study examining ways to maximize long-term, cost-effective energy savings, carbon reductions and economic benefits, and minimize energy waste and costs to ratepayers in all sectors through energy efficiency.

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Clean Energy

The importance of strong policy leadership: Xcel seeks permission to buy cost-competitive wind faster than required

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Minnesota has a strong history of passing public policy to drive development of energy from renewable resources. In 2007, the state passed what was then one of the strongest renewable energy standard policies in the country. In 2013, Minnesota passed a new solar energy standard. Xcel Energy, Minnesota’s largest utility, is a perfect example of how state energy policy can facilitate the advancement of clean, cost-competitive energy generation. This summer, Xcel announced that it’s seeking permission from regulators to add 750 megawatts of wind power to its generation portfolio in and around Minnesota (enough to power over 310,000 homes).

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Energy Efficiency

Making it easier for utilities to invest in efficiency

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Imagine you own a business in Minnesota that makes widgets. The more widgets your company sells, the more money you make and the happier your shareholders. But now imagine that selling fewer widgets would have significant benefits to the economy, society, and environment, and policy makers are calling on you to sell less and less. All of these factors conflict with your business model of producing and selling as many widgets as possible. Utilities in Minnesota and across the country face a similar dilemma when it comes to producing energy.

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Energy Efficiency

Efficiency: Minnesota’s preferred energy resource

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The cheapest, cleanest energy is energy we don’t have to produce. When Minnesota businesses and residents save energy through efficiency, it eliminates the need to produce more power (saving money at the same time). But don’t be fooled into thinking efficiency is small peanuts. It’s actually a reliable and powerful way to meet growing electricity demand—on the same playing field as wind, solar, or coal and natural gas. And policy makers are starting to realize it.

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