As wind and solar markets grow, Minnesota’s electricity is getting cleaner and it’s becoming increasingly beneficial to power more of our economy with electricity. Just because you live in an old house doesn’t mean you can’t move toward a carbon-free, electric economy.
Data can be a powerful tool for spurring energy efficiency, and Fresh Energy is committed to ensuring Minnesota provides the most useful and effective system. The state’s Public Utilities Commission is currently discussing how Minnesotans will access their own energy data, building on a multistep process.
The next step for Fresh Energy is to work with investor-owned utilities on choosing aggregation levels that help set a clear market for efficient buildings – which, in turn, will drive investment into energy efficiency improvements that cut waste and reduce emissions.
This summer, Minnesota became the first state in the nation to adopt a value of solar (VOS) tariff. This methodology, in contrast with net metering for solar generation, has a 25-year bill credit schedule rather than simply mirroring the retail rate as it fluctuates over time. While factoring in avoided cost may be a new idea for solar, factoring in the value of avoided cost has been used to analyze energy efficiency programs for over 40 years.
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.