Missed opportunity for clean energy as gas plant bill moves forward

Today, Governor Dayton signed a bill into law that allows Xcel Energy to build a natural gas plant in Becker, Minnesota. Though Fresh Energy believes that the bill is a missed opportunity to pursue even greater investments in local clean energy sources like wind, solar, and energy efficiency, we are hopeful that Xcel will bring plans for the proposed plant to the Public Utilities Commission for careful review.

Xcel community solar turns two

As the market potential and popularity of community solar grows nationally, all eyes are on Minnesota. Why are so few projects up and running? How real is the 800MW queue? Is the program sustainable? At the two year anniversary of Xcel Energy’s community solar program launch, we’re taking a deep dive on the health of the program today and its potential going forward.

Farmer holding kid

Property rights protected by Minnesota regulators

Today, Minnesota regulators ruled in favor of consumers and their property rights when it comes to generating their own solar power. The issue at hand was a customer complaint brought to the Public Utilities Commission after the customer felt he was denied his rights to be compensated for generating his own energy under Minnesota law. The customer’s utility – Minnesota Valley Light and Power Association in Montevideo – had attempted to pay nothing for a significant amount of electricity and other system benefits his solar system would provide back to the grid.

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