Powering Progress

A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FRESH ENERGY

2016 No. 04 – April

Global Warming

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

SONY DSC

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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Transportation & Land Use

325,000 reserved the new Tesla – what does it mean for EVs?

tesla line

This is the latest is a series of events showing the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in Minnesota and nationally, including an all-electric room at the Twin Cities Auto Show and a steep discount on the Nissan Leaf in the month of March. With the Chevy Bolt (another 200 mile electric vehicle expected to cost around $35,000) set to release next year, a year ahead of the Model 3, a new issue is about to be raised in the world of electric vehicles: the downside of being first to market.

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Energy Efficiency

Research shows utilities save even more with decoupling

decoupling

A recent article published in the Electricity Journal, co-authored by Fresh Energy and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), shows that utilities with decoupling policies are putting more money into energy efficiency and achieving greater energy savings.

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2016 No. 04 – April

Soil, Crop, & Storm Water Benefits of Solar Sites

Native Landscaping

When investing $1-$2 million per acre in solar panels, one tends to focus on the benefits directly generated by the new hardware — 100% fuel-free energy with no moving parts. However—simply by using the right seed mix—each of these sites can also provide significant agricultural benefits related to storm water, soil, and crop pollination.

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