How the historic decision to transform Xcel Energy’s electricity was made

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.

Fresh Energy proposes decoupling, improved energy conservation for Otter Tail Power

Today, Fresh Energy filed expert testimony in Otter Tail Power’s current rate case at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), proposing a full revenue decoupling mechanism that could improve energy conservation investments for consumers. Otter Tail Power had proposed increasing the monthly customer charge from $8.50 to $13.30. This monthly charge is largely seen as discouraging energy conservation and energy efficiency because customers will pay the same amount no matter how much energy they use. Fresh Energy instead put forward a decoupling proposal that would help address Otter Tail Power’s concerns around stable revenue streams while allowing for substantial energy efficiency efforts and cost savings by the utility and its customers

Fresh Energy welcomes our summer fellows

Fellows help power Fresh Energy programs – and provide professional experience to emerging clean energy leaders. This summer, Fresh Energy is excited to welcome our summer fellows Ana Diaz, Kate Strickland, and Saskia Zinn. We also recently said farewell to our spring fellow Dave Evans.

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

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.