Utility success shows state energy efficiency policies are working

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Advancing the next level of energy savings is a big priority for Fresh Energy and central to helping Minnesota keep energy costs low and embrace innovative efficiency programs. Through the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) utilities are required to achieve energy savings that reduce the energy burden for homes and businesses and reduce waste. By helping pass the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, encouraging utilities to embrace high-leverage strategies, and engaging as experts to shape how CIP is structured, Fresh Energy works to maximize energy savings as a resource in our state.

Based on reports filed in April, those efforts are working.

On April 2, 2018, Minnesota’s three investor-owned utilities—Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power—filed reports with the Minnesota Department of Commerce detailing the energy savings achieved in 2017 through CIP. These utilities represent about two-thirds of the electricity provided throughout the state. Some highlights from the filings include:

  • In 2017, all three utilities significantly exceeded Minnesota’s 1.5 percent annual energy savings goal, delivering energy efficiency to customers throughout the state.
    • Xcel Energy achieved 2.27 percent of sales
    • Minnesota Power achieved 2.63 percent of sales
    • Otter Tail Power achieved 3.02 percent of sales
  • Savings achieved in 2017 through these energy efficiency programs are equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of nearly 88,000 homes.
  • Utilities are delivering savings cost-effectively, generating significant benefits for every dollar spent on energy efficiency.

Minnesota’s Conservation Improvement Programs, or utility-led energy efficiency programs, have delivered energy savings to residents and businesses throughout the state for decades. In 2007, the Next Generation Energy Act expanded the state’s policies around energy efficiency through goals established in the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard. Many utilities have responded by exceeding those goals with cost-effective programs that help customers save money directly on their bill, avoid unnecessary and expensive investments on the grid, and make our system as efficient as possible. These programs are delivered at lower cost than any new or existing generation resource and without any emissions, making energy savings Minnesota’s cheapest and cleanest energy source.

As shown in the chart below, Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power have steadily increased energy savings achievements in the last ten years since the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard was passed. In short, our state’s energy efficiency policies are working and delivering positive results.

In the coming weeks, Fresh Energy will look for opportunities to drive more cost-effective energy savings through these reports, and the Minnesota Department of Commerce will review the filings before issuing final approval of the results.