IEER Report: Minnesota can go 100% green

On March 13, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) released a new report stating that all of Minnesota’s electricity generation needs can be met by wind and solar sources combined with improvements to the state’s electric grid system and energy efficiency policies.

The report, “Renewable Minnesota: A technical and economic analysis of a 100% renewable-energy based electricity system for Minnesota”, demonstrates that Minnesota has more than enough wind and solar resources to meet the state’s demand for electricity generation.

According to the report, a renewable energy-based electricity sector is technically feasible using proven technologies. “A renewable energy-based electricity system costs about the same overall as at present if efficiency improvements are made along with the transition to renewable electricity generation,” the report notes.

The report was researched and written by Arjun Makhijani and Christina Mills of the IEER and M.V. Ramana of Princeton University.

“A significant change in electricity generation sources is clearly needed to achieve that goal,” Makhijani explained. “Fortunately, wind and solar can provide 100% of Minnesota’s electricity. These currently available technologies also offer significant job creation and economic development opportunities.”

The report, among others, makes several recommendations, including:

  • Initiate a statewide energy efficiency study, including technical and economic aspects.  Examine the effect of efficiency investments on electricity demand.
  • Require utilities to include increased renewable energy and storage in their Integrated Resource Plans.
  • Develop and implement a timeline for achieving a 100% renewable energy standard. Include achievable benchmarks and milestones.

“We have identified a number of steps that can help position Minnesota to utilize its available renewable energy resources. These actions will achieve a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” Makhijani added. “Transitioning to a renewable energy-based electricity sector will require creation of a more informed technical and cost framework.