Thanks to strong energy policy, Minnesota’s electricity mix is becoming cleaner and less expensive—and oil and gas are becoming dirtier, riskier and more costly. That’s why Fresh Energy is dedicated to not only ensuring our electric sector is emission-free, but also working to get the oil and gas out of the rest of our economy. The path to electrifying our economy requires: cleaning up the electric system, electrifying more of the economy, and building a electric grid of the future.
Fresh Energy scored Minnesota’s progress toward an all-electric economy. Here’s where we stand.
Cleaning up the electric system
Minnesota’s wind and solar market continue to soar, utilizing favorable tax credits and regulatory schemes.
- Total capacity for solar and wind surpassed 700 and 3,600 megawatts in the last year, respectively.
- There is now 300 megawatts of community solar gardens, helping ensure more families, businesses, cities, and schools can access renewable energy.
- Minnesota’s total in-state renewable energy generation reached 25 percent, up from 7 percent in 2006.
Electrifying more of the economy
Several initiatives are advancing Fresh Energy’s goals to electrify the entire economy. While significant efforts are still needed to reach our goals, there is growing momentum at the state and local levels to electrify everything from city transit, fleet services, and school buses, to space and water heating.
- The State of Minnesota received over 20 electric vehicles to be used in its fleet services.
- The state’s first electric school bus hit the road this year in Lakeville, Minnesota.
- Xcel Energy’s electric vehicle charging pilot was approved and is being rolled out.
- Duluth is ready to receive its first batch of electric buses for use in transit services.
- Electric buses are coming soon to Minneapolis.
- Minnesota is set to spend Volkswagen settlement funds on a variety of key electric transportation initiatives.
- The Metropolitan Council announced its services will be 100 percent renewables by 2040, including a commitment to adding more electric buses to its fleet.
- An innovative Otter Tail Power proposal seeks to allow fuel-switching from natural gas and propane to electric air-source heat pumps within the Conservation Improvement Program.
- Great River Energy and Dakota Electric are finishing up work on a 80 plus smart-home development.
An electric grid of the future
As we electrify more of our economy, a high-performing electric grid and savvy utility programs are critical to facilitating variable amounts of electricity consumption. That’s why over the last year, Fresh Energy was engaged in multiple fronts to ensure a modern, flexible grid that can support an all-electric economy.
- Xcel Energy’s time-of-use pilot was approved.
- Updated interconnection standards streamline processes for connecting solar to the grid—cutting red tape and making investments in clean energy easier for customers throughout Minnesota.
While you can see that progress has been made in the transition to an all-electric economy, we still have a ways to go. Stay tuned for more updates.