Founded in 1990 and incorporated in 1992, Fresh Energy is a widely recognized nonprofit leader, with a proven track record for achieving measurable progress toward a strong and prosperous Minnesota energy economy.

Fresh Energy was originally formed under the name Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy as an alliance of organizations working on energy conservation, economic development, environmental protection, neighborhood issues, and civic engagement. In 2006 we changed our name to Fresh Energy to better reflect the broader scope of our organization.

Fresh Energy is committed to working effectively with Minnesota leaders, public and private partners, and individual residents who care about the future of our energy system and economy.

The summaries below provide highlights of some recent benefits to Minnesota as a result of our work:


Gas plant ruling.  Administrative Law Judge finds that Minnesota Power failed to show that their proposed new natural gas would be in the public interest. Fresh Energy provided testimony that Minnesota Power did not need the new energy capacity, that it wouldn’t be in the customer interest, that efficiency and renewable energy alternatives would better serve customers and provided evidence that the approval of a new fossil fuel plant would make it difficult, if not impossible, for Minnesota to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Updated interconnection standards. The Public Utilities Commission unanimously approves the process portion of the new interconnection standard and transition plan, marking the first major milestone of the effort. Connecting solar and other clean energy to the electric grid has been overly complicated, but with leadership from Fresh Energy and its partners, the process is becoming simpler and more transparent.

Xcel’s time-of-use pilot. The Public Utilities Commission approves Xcel Energy’s new time-of-use-pilot, making it possible for customers to save money by using electricity at different times of day. Fresh Energy developed an extensive record showing the value of time-of-use rates and provided expert input throughout the proceeding and in numerous stakeholder meetings.

Energy Access and Equity. Fresh Energy launches a director-led initiative to better incorporate equity into renewables, efficiency, and other policy work across the energy system and to strengthen the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Electric vehicle off-peak charging. The Public Utilities Commission unanimously approves Xcel Energy’s pilot program that will charge electric vehicle owners less for fueling their cars overnight. Fresh Energy was integral in the development of the pilot and urging the Commission to require the state’s other investor-owned utilities to offer similar programs.

VW settlement. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency plan devotes 15 percent to installing public chargers and 15 percent for heavy-duty electric vehicles (e.g. electric transit buses). The funding will facilitate the build-out of a web of rapid electric vehicle chargers across the state. Throughout the process, Fresh Energy was a strong champion for electric vehicles and chargers, participating in technical stakeholder meetings and providing public comments.

Low-income solar project. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approves a pilot program developed by Xcel Energy and Energy CENTS Coalition to provide solar and energy efficiency to low-income customers. Fresh Energy pushed for the pilot to be part of a larger strategy to serve low-income customers.

Energy News Network expanding. Southwest and Northeast Energy News launches as well as the Energy News Network website.


Celebrating 25 years. Fresh Energy commemorates the anniversary of its founding by highlighting the organization’s people, partners, past accomplishments, and vital opportunities for future progress.

Solar is booming. Minnesota’s solar market is poised to complete a ten-fold increase from less than 50 megawatts at the beginning of 2016 to a projected 500 megawatts by the end of 2017.

Real cost of coal confirmed. After years of work with our partners, Fresh Energy and Minnesota’s health secure a victory when the Public Utilities Commission updates a planning cost for coal that takes into account the social and environmental impacts. 

Coal plants closing. Eight major coal plants, including the state’s oldest and most polluting plant, are now slated for retirement.

Global Climate Summit. Fresh Energy is called upon to share Minnesota progress at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, leading a panel of state government and corporate officials in the only state-  specific presentation included in this important international climate event.


Bees love solar. Minnesota sets standards for bird and pollinator-friendly solar, with more than 2,300 acres planted (equivalent to more than 1.4 million six foot by 12 foot backyard pollinator gardens).

MNCharging.org. Electric car owners have a new go-to source to learn how to charge their vehicle, including all-renewable options.

Supporting wind. Minnesota law removes red tape for repowering wind turbine sites.

Improved industrial options. State law is clarified to allow combined heat and power systems that reduce emissions.

Expanded energy news. Fresh Energy launches original reporting in southeast states, providing new independent journalism on the transition to clean energy and building on the success of Midwest Energy News.


From coal to clean energy. Xcel Energy, after considering data from and working with Fresh Energy and its partners, announces planned closing of Sherco units 1 and 2.

Minnesota in Paris. Fresh Energy brings Midwest and Minnesota-based insights to United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Committed to efficiency. Minnesota avoids fixed charge increases on utility bills, based on pure economics to maintain affordable energy that inspires efficiency.


Renewable energy powered cars. Minnesota announces nation’s first statewide discounted overnight recharging rate for electric vehicles and an option for all-renewable energy.

More efficient buildings. Implementation begins on the new residential building code requiring 20 percent greater efficiency than current statewide code.


Spurring solar. A new standard requires all public utilities to generate at least 1.5 percent of their electricity from solar energy resources by the year 2020.

Community solar. New law creates an opportunity for community members to jointly develop solar projects and receive credit on their utility bills for their share of the solar power produced.

Net metering. A new law expands the size of projects that qualify for net metering—a bedrock clean energy policy that allows utility customers with small onsite renewable energy systems to spin their meter backwards and save on their utility bills—to 1,000 kilowatts.

True value of solar.  Process begins to set a new “value of solar” rate  to compensate solar project owners for the true value of the electricity they produce.

Value of efficiency affirmed. Legislators pass a policy that states cost-effective energy savings is an energy resource preferable to all other resources.

Greening the MLS. Minnesota becomes one of the first states in the Midwest to help homebuyers find a green-certified or energy-efficient home.

For a full list of highlights, please contact info@fresh-energy.org.