Minnesota governor touts progress on clean energy

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said July 17 at the Minnesota Clean Energy Economy Summit that the state is making progress at getting off of coal and into a clean energy future.

“Real progress has been made in the last decade,” said Dayton. “Today renewables account for 20 percent of our state’s electricity generation, compared with 5.8 percent in 2000. And in just the last four years, wind energy production in Minnesota has increased by 38 percent. So we have made important progress, but we still have a long way to go; and I hope this summit will help our state continue moving in the right direction.”

Dayton provided opening remarks at the summit. Achievement so far, he said, include:

  • Less Coal – Over the last decade, Minnesota’s use of coal has been reduced by 33%. Minnesota Power, by the way, has plans in the works to further reduce its coal-fired capacity.
  • More Clean Energy – Today, renewable sources of energy account for 20% of the state’s annual electricity generation, up from just 5.8% in 2000.
  • More Wind Energy – Since 2010, Minnesota has increased its use of wind power by 38%, adding 843 MW. Minnesota ranks second in the nation for the percentage of electricity produced from wind (14.3%), providing enough electricity to power 885,000 residential homes and reducing annual carbon emissions by 5.1 million metric tons (the equivalent of removing 975,000 cars from the road).
  • More Solar Energy – In 2013, Dayton and the Legislature enacted a new solar energy standard, requiring utilities to produce 1.5% of their electricity from solar power by 2020. New installations in 2012 alone nearly tripled the state’s solar capacity to a total 14,000 kilowatts. 
  • More Biofuels – This year Minnesota implemented the nation’s first 10% biodiesel mandate requiring diesel fuel to contain 10% biodiesel in each gallon sold.
  • Better Conservation Efforts – Minnesota’s Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) requires utilities to reduce energy usage 1.5% per year through efficiency efforts. These efforts have saved enough energy to prevent the construction of at least 10 new coal plants in the state.
  • Better Home Energy Efficiency Efforts – Minnesota’s efforts to weatherize residential homes have paid off. Over the last five years, the state has helped weatherize more than 25,000 homes, saving over 750 billion BTUs of energy. 
  • Low Prices for Consumers – As Minnesota continues building its clean energy economy, its residential electricity rates have remained below the national average. In April 2014, residential rates averaged $11.97 per kilowatt hour, 3% below the national average of $12.31.
  • Clean Energy Jobs – Tens of thousands of Minnesotans are employed in the clean energy sector. Wind energy alone supports up to 3,000 jobs in Minnesota and the production of cleaner-burning fuels like ethanol support an estimated 12,600 Minnesota jobs.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.