Xcel Energy

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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Global Warming

Public Utilities Commission Unanimously Approves Xcel’s 15-year energy plan

Today, the Public Utilities Commission held its final hearing and unanimously approved with modifications Xcel Energy’s 15-year energy plan (Integrated Resource Plan). After two years of rigorous study, Xcel Energy proposed a Midwest-leading energy plan for the next 15 years – doubling the amount of wind and solar on its system and taking significant strides to reduce coal with the retiring of Sherco units 1 and 2 in the mid-2020s. Xcel’s proposed energy plan saw broad support from customers, including over 10,000 Minnesotans; cities of Becker, Red Wing, and Minneapolis; Sherburne County; clean energy organizations, and the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

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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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Clean Energy

MN regulators adopt first of its kind value of solar rate

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Today, Minnesota regulators adopted a value of solar rate for Xcel Energy’s community solar program – consistent with detailed recommendations made by Fresh Energy. The decision comes after more than a year of work by nonprofits, utilities, solar businesses, and regulators to shape the next phase of Xcel Energy’s community solar program. Though there has been tremendous interest in community solar in Minnesota so far, progress on the solar gardens themselves had been slow. However, we now expect 400 – 450 MW of community solar projects in service by the end of 2017. Today’s decision will apply to the next phase of community solar projects.

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Energy Efficiency

Fixed charged increase denied by Minnesota regulators

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Minnesota regulators have denied an increase to CenterPoint Energy’s monthly fixed charge, instead pointing to the company’s current decoupling policy as the best way to balance revenue requirements with energy savings.

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Clean Energy

2016 Legislative Session Summary

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With so many topics being debated, it was hard for any issue to be resolved. Even bonding and transportation, two of the highest priorities for communities, legislators, and Governor Mark Dayton, received no action – with frantic debate going right down to the wire. Thankfully, were were able to move forward with several wins on energy and protect our foundational energy policies.

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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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