Minnesota

MINNESOTA

Minnesota is home to 5.6 million people with a land area of 89 thousand square miles, making Minnesota the 12th largest state in the US and the 22nd most populous. It is known for its 11,800 lakes, its freezing weather with average winter temperatures of eight degrees Fahrenheit and its stunning amount of snowfall, often getting around 70 inches per year.

Like many other midwestern states, Minnesota is warming quickly and buffeted by more supercharged weather — heat waves, droughts, deluges, wind storms, flooding and even wildfires. Those famous cold winters are warming up at thirteen times the rate of its summers, and its biggest city, Minneapolis, has been classified as one of the nation’s fastest-warming cities. The increasing warmth is taking a toll on the state’s natural environment, especially up north in its boreal forests. Many of Minnesota’s trees, including spruce, fir, paper birch, and quaking aspen, are likely to rapidly decline or even die out completely within the next decade if the warming persists.

The warming winters are also harming Minnesota’s famous lakes, which are freezing later and thawing earlier, making them easy targets for voracious new pests, deadly, parasites, and toxic algae. Another threat to the lakes are the more frequent storms, usually carrying fertilizer runoff from Minnesota’s farming sector,  which contribute to the death of species in lakes via a process called eutrophication, in which the fertilizer fertilizes algae in lakes, causing the populations to explode and promptly die off, using up the lake’s oxygen as they decompose. No oxygen means no life can be supported in the water. Needless to say, Minnesota’s fish populations are also suffering from significant habitat loss.

Floods and droughts, also a result of global warming, are impacting Minnesota’s significant agriculture industry causing, among other things, flash floods, which can be deadly.

With agriculture,  forests, and waters in peril, all of Minnesota’s ecosystems are in greater danger. All of this jeopardizes Minnesota’s tourism industry, which represents 11% of its private job market.

Recognition of the problems created by climate change has generated  some political response. In 2007, Minnesota’s governor signed the Next Generation Energy Act with support from both sides of the aisle. The act set goals for the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 80% between 2005 and 2050, while supporting clean energy, energy efficiency, and supplementing other renewable energy standards in Minnesota. Interim goals were also set: a 15% reduction by 2015, and a 30% reduction by 2025. The act also included initiatives to fund in-state conservation programs and community-based energy development. In 2007 when the act was first signed, it made Minnesota second only to California in the toughness of emissions reduction legislation. Unfortunately, as of July 2016, it had missed all of its goals and under the leadership of Lt. Governor Tina Smith, it published a Call to Action.

In February, 2020, legislators introduced bill HF3436, which takes on climate change from both top-down and bottom-up perspectives. If passed it would establish nine grant programs into which Minnesota residents, companies, and school districts could tap in order to diminish the carbon they release into the air by using renewable energy sources. It features a pair of rebate programs and a revolving loan fund. There would be specific grants for homeowners, public schools, and nursing homes, plus programs to help schools and cities purchase electric buses. The bill has yet to make it through the Minnesota legislature.

The bill that did pass and was signed into law at the end of June, 2021, by Gov. Tim Walz is the Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy bill.  He also signed the Energy Conservation and Optimization (ECO) Act  into law on May 25, 2021. The bill modernizes the state’s Conservation Improvement Program, a long-term energy- efficiency policy that experts say has saved Minnesotans billions of dollars while avoiding millions of tons in carbon emissions since it began in the 1980s.

Minnesota was the nation’s fourth-largest ethanol producer in 2018. About 30% of all U.S. crude oil imports flow through Minnesota. 25% of utility-scale electricity generation in Minnesota came from coal-fired electric power plants in 2020, down from 53% in 2011. In the same year, Minnesota’s two nuclear power plants fueled 26% of the state’s electrical generation, supplying the largest share of state generation for the first time. However, renewable energy, primarily wind, fueled even more, at 29%. In 2020, Minnesota ranked ninth in the nation in total generation from wind energy with the state’s wind farms accounted for 22% of the total in-state electricity net generation and 74% of renewable generation.

Minnesota’s renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) applies to all electricity providers in the state. It requires that the state’s utilities, with the exception of the state’s largest utility, generate or procure at least 25% of electricity retail sales from eligible renewable sources by 2025. The state’s largest utility had to obtain 30% of its retail electricity sales from renewable energy by the end of 2020. All public utilities in the state had a further obligation to acquire 1.5% of all retail electricity sales from solar energy by 2020. In addition to the requirements of the RPS, Minnesota has a statewide goal of 10% solar by 2030 for all public utilities. Minnesota utilities have already reached the 25% by 2025 requirement.

They are exploring some fascinating new directions:

  • for example,  a new renewable energy source, a “thermal battery” to power hundreds of apartment units from the Jordan Aquifer.  It can store heat in the summer for use in the winter and likewise with the cold. It will be the first of its kind in Minnesota.
  • a solar panel manufacture called Heliene is preparing to build the 2ndlargest solar panel manufacturing plant in the country in Minnesota’s Iron Range.
  • batteries are being installed in a Minneapolis green jobs training center in one of the country’s first “virtual power plant” power projects with each battery simulating a household buying and selling power with its neighbors.
  • a solar microgrid is being developed on the Red Lake Reservation by Robert Blake, founder of the Minneapolis-based solar installation company Solar Bear.
  • Xcel Energy, plans to accelerate decarbonization efforts cutting emissions by 85% by 2030, in its shift from fossil fuels to renewables.

Minnesota is one of twenty four states, plus Puerto Rico, committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Climate projections study presented to House climate and energy panel 4/25/22

CURRENT NEWS

New report reveals surprising power sources making up almost one-third of Minnesota’s energy supply: ‘The rest of the country is taking notice’

By Leslie Sattler 05/28/24
Imagine a world where the power that lights your home, charges your phone, and cooks your meals comes from clean, renewable sources like the wind and sun. In Minnesota, that future is quickly becoming a…
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US States Warned of Unhealthy Air From Wildfires: Weather Watch

By Brian K Sullivan 05/13/24
Air quality has turned unhealthy for parts of the Upper Midwest in the US, including the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as smoke drifts south from ongoing Canadian forest fires, according to AirNow.gov.
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House’s final climate, energy bill explores more carbon-free options

By Rob Hubbard 04/16/24
What’s new in renewables? A 2023 law requires Minnesota residents be using entirely carbon-free electricity sources by 2040. Meanwhile, electrification is afoot, with an increasing emphasis on electric heat and cooling sources and transportation.
Read more

Geothermal cuts emissions and costs at these Minnesota public schools

By Frank Jossi 03/28/24
Geothermal heating and cooling is emerging as a go-to technology for Minnesota school district St. Paul Public Schools as it seeks to renovate aging facilities in line with the district’s climate action plan. Minnesota’s second-largest…
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Warmed by waste: Counties could reap fuel from food scraps

By Rob Hubbard 03/27/24
Anaerobic digesters (or “digestors,” depending upon whom you ask) process organic materials like food waste and yard waste and turn them into energy, akin to how your stomach processes food and fuels your body.
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Grid-Enhancing ‘Magic Balls’ to Get a Major Test in Minnesota

By Dan Gearino 03/21/24
A sensor about the size of a bowling ball can measure the real-time temperature of a transmission line. With this information, the operator can safely increase the level of power flowing through the line.
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Minnesota Eyes Permitting Reform for Clean Energy Amid Gridlock in Congress

By Kristoffer Tigue 03/11/24
Minnesota lawmakers are holding a hearing today to debate a proposed bill that would enact a series of changes to the way the state permits wind and solar farms, as well as the transmission lines…
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Cleaner and quieter electric school buses start to hit the road

12/01/23
Out in the garage of the Northstar Bus Lines headquarters in Maple Grove, three buses sit parked in a row. They appear no different from the many other buses awaiting their afternoon rounds in the…
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Findings from a U.S. report on the impacts of climate change are grim. A scientist’s take on Minnesota’s climate future

By Cathy Wurzer and Alanna Elder 11/20/23
Damage to buildings, ruined crops, medical bills: Climate change is costing people money. It’s also fraying our ties to places that are important for culture, spirituality, or recreation.
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Climate-smart trees can help Minnesota’s forests thrive

11/13/23
Trees in Minnesota’s northwoods that so many of us depend upon, for everything from recreation and logging to animal habitat and carbon sequestration, are dying. Foremost among them, the iconic paper birch has seen huge…
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Minnesota Mine Pits Global Climate Pollution vs. Local Mine Pollution Worries

10/27/23
Fighting the global environmental impacts of climate change unfortunately requires local impacts from mining the minerals needed for electric vehicles, wind turbines and power grids. The Biden administration aims to increase U.S. production of these…
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Minnesota regulators OK rare fund to decommission new Enbridge pipeline

By Walker Orenstein 10/26/23
Enbridge's new oil pipeline across northern Minnesota has only been operating for two years, but state regulators approved a plan Thursday aimed at making the company pay for eventually decommissioning the project.
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PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

House’s final climate, energy bill explores more carbon-free options

By Rob Hubbard 04/16/24
What’s new in renewables? A 2023 law requires Minnesota residents be using entirely carbon-free electricity sources by 2040. Meanwhile, electrification is afoot, with an increasing emphasis on electric heat and cooling sources and transportation.

Minnesota-related energy projects receive $614M in federal funding

10/20/23
Minnesota utility projects — from wildfire prevention to getting more clean energy connected to grids — landed $614 million in federal funding this week.

Xcel Energy seeks to grow wind energy in southwest Minnesota

10/19/23
Xcel Energy is seeking a major expansion of wind energy in southwestern Minnesota.

Feds announce major investments in Minnesota’s electric grid

10/18/23
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $150 million in grants to Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power to bolster the resiliency of the state's electric grid and help it adapt to a future where much…

Minnesota Emerges as a Leader 
in Climate Action

10/18/23
By 2040, every Minnesotan will have access to carbon-free electricity from the state’s utility companies. That’s the goal of a bill signed into law earlier this year by Minnesota’s Democratic governor, Tim Walz. The “100…

What keeps Minnesota energy officials up at night? Public ‘revolt’ over reliability for one

10/10/23
Four state energy officials spoke at a conference hosted by the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group for solar and energy storage developers.

‘Power to the people’: Efforts to ensure equitable clean energy transition

10/03/23
For the past decade, Jamez Staples has worked to bring the benefits of solar energy to north Minneapolis, the tight-knit community where he grew up. He says for too long it’s been a community overlooked.

Morris is a small Minnesota town with big climate goals

08/29/23
Morris is a small town in western Minnesota with big clean energy goals.

Energy Facts: Impact of the Investing in America Agenda on Minnesota

08/28/23
On August 30, 2023, Secretary Granholm visits Minnesota to tour a solar manufacturing facility and commemorate a new partnership between Heliene and Nexamp, which was made possible by incentives from the President’s Inflation Reduction Act…

Minnesota lawmakers made building wind and solar easier, but debate over permitting and rural development will continue

08/25/23
A landmark energy bill passed by the Minnesota Legislature this winter didn’t just set goals for a carbon-free electric grid by 2040. A lesser-known passage also stuck a toe into what has become a larger…

Northland transmission line to boost reliability as renewables replace power plants

07/31/23
Large cross-country transmission lines carrying clean energy from remote rural areas to population centers will be a key strategy for reducing emissions.

Does solar energy account for 1.8% of Minnesota’s energy?

07/28/23
Solar energy accounted for 3.4% of the state’s electricity production in 2022, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. So far, solar energy accounts for 3.86% of the state’s electricity produced in 2023. Solar is…

This state just dethroned Illinois as the No. 1 clean energy powerhouse in the Midwest: ‘[We’ll] continue to lead the way’

07/11/23
Minnesota, known to many as “L’Étoile du Nord,” or the Star of the North, is earning its name by guiding the country in the transition to clean energy, Inside Climate News reported recently.

Minnesota Power cuts ribbon on 5.6 MW Laskin Solar Project

06/08/23
Minnesota Power’s Laskin Solar Project officially began operations this week, marking a 5.6 MW renewable energy addition to the Iron Range, and the second of three such projects in the company’s pipeline. From 25 acres…

Minnesota Passes Renewable Energy Policies Impacting Various Industries

05/30/23
This week, the Minnesota Legislature passed and delivered to the governor for signature HF2310, an energy policy omnibus bill that provides $216 million for energy initiatives in the state. The legislation includes approximately $140 million…

Minnesota needs more transmission lines for renewable energy. Building them will take a decade or longer.

05/25/23
Minnesota’s power grid is not ready for the flood of renewable energy projects that are expected to come online as the state transitions toward 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, according to industry experts and the…

‘New era’ begins for Minnesota solar and storage market as US$80 million incentives package passed

05/24/23
The US state of Minnesota has passed a package of incentives for solar, energy storage, microgrids and energy resiliency totalling US$80 million. The ‘Omnibus Environment, Natural Resources, Climate, and Energy Finance and Policy bill (HF…

3 ways Minnesota is crushing it on climate action

05/24/23
Minnesota is having a blockbuster year for climate policy. In recent days, the Midwestern state adopted a series of ambitious laws designed to slash greenhouse gas emissions, adding to the momentum kicked off by the…

Minnesota Joins 20 Other States in Pursuit of 100 Percent Clean Energy

04/21/23
On February 7, the governor of Minnesota signed into law a new piece of legislation requiring the state’s electrical utilities to transition to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040. The law is pivotal to advancing…

Minnesota’s community solar garden program set for a revamp under proposed legislation

03/23/23
New legislation would mostly scrap the subscription-based Minnesota's Community Solar Garden program — a critical part of the state's solar energy buildout.

Amendments to Minnesota Energy Law in the 2023 Legislative Session Bring a New Carbon-Free Standard and Other Changes

03/20/23
On Feb. 7, 2023, Governor Walz signed into law H.F. No. 7, which brings numerous changes to Minnesota’s energy laws under Minnesota Statutes chapters 216B, 216E, and 216F related to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s…

Minnesota agency retools to ‘meet the moment’ on climate, clean energy

03/20/23
A state agency with a leading role in Minnesota’s clean energy transition is reorganizing to help the state implement its new 100% clean energy law and capitalize on a coming flood of federal spending.

Minnesota nuclear power reactor seeks 20-year license extension

03/10/23
Northern States Power Co asked to extend the operating license of its Monticello nuclear reactor in Minnesota by another two decades, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said on Friday.

Evergy’s Missouri Power Plant Produces 10MW of New Solar Energy

03/10/23
Evergy has announced that its Hawthorn power plant is now home to 10 megawatts (MW) of new solar energy. From the array, 5 MW will serve customers who chose to participate in Evergy’s Solar Subscription…

$115M Minnesota fund could help match federal grants for energy projects

03/07/23
Pending state legislation would create a $115 million taxpayer-backed fund aimed at matching federal grants for new energy infrastructure in Minnesota.

‘Rusty’ batteries could hold key to Minnesota’s carbon-free power future

02/10/23
In central Minnesota, a first-of-its kind pilot project will test whether new battery storage technology that uses a common process — iron rusting — could play a key role in the nation's transition to cleaner…

Minnesota Has Passed a Landmark Clean Energy Law. Which State Is Next? – Inside Climate News

02/09/23
With remarkable speed, Minnesota lawmakers have passed a bill requiring 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040. The legislation, signed by Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday, means Minnesota joins a group of 10 states (California, Hawaii,…

Gov. Walz signs 100% clean power bill

02/08/23
POLICY: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signs legislation requiring the state’s utilities to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, as state officials express confidence the new law will withstand a legal challenge from neighboring North Dakota.…

Minnesota renewable energy bill that could boost landfill gas, anaerobic digestion heads to governor’s desk

02/07/23
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is expected to soon sign a bill requiring utilities in the state to provide electricity from 100% carbon-free sources by 2040. The bill also calls for utilities to generate at least…

Minnesota moves toward 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040

02/03/23
Minnesota utilities would be obligated to transition to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040 to step up the fight against climate change under a bill speeding through the Legislature.

Minnesota’s carbon-free electricity bill: 8 questions, answered

02/02/23
A bill that sets ambitious standards for clean energy in Minnesota over the next 17 years cleared its final legislative hurdle late Thursday night, and is headed to Gov. Tim Walz for his signature.

Gas utility’s Minnesota hydrogen pilot ‘good news’ so far, but questions remain

01/27/23
CenterPoint Energy is one of the first utilities in the country to start experimenting with blending hydrogen into its natural gas pipeline system, a climate solution critics say is too expensive and impossible to scale.…

Ready for a 20,000-watt pho shop on University Avenue? A new federal program aims to connect immigrant businesses to solar power.

01/24/23
Lake Street, University Avenue, and West Broadway represent some of the most diverse business districts in Minnesota. A federal project is developing a model to help these shops build rooftop solar and plug into the…

Important DNR investments included in the Walz-Flanagan Budget to Move Minnesota Forward

01/26/22
Today’s announcement of the final piece of the Walz-Flanagan Budget to Move Minnesota Forward gives the full picture of 2022 investments in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ work. The Walz-Flanagan budget proposal for the…

GOVERNOR WALZ, LIEUTENANT GOERNOR FLANAGAN ANNOUNCE PLAN TO PROTECT MINNESOTANS’ HEALTH AND SAFETY

01/26/22
Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced proposals to protect Minnesotans’ health and safety in the Walz-Flanagan Budget to Move Minnesota Forward – the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s supplemental budget recommendation for…

Land & Liberty Coalition Launches in Maryland

01/21/22
“We hope to advance energy policies that make way for clean energy while respecting the unique qualities of each development locale,” said Jackson Keith, Land & Liberty Coalition director. “It’s important that Marylanders who live…

Solar Power Bridges The Political Divide In New & Different Ways

01/21/22
It’s an unfortunate fact of life in the 21st century that support for renewable energy falls along political lines in the US Congress, but that’s nothing new. Energy policy has always been political. Besides, signs…

Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams 2022 Seed Grants double number of 2021 projects

01/21/22
That’s more than twice last year’s number, the release said. Minnesota legislators renewed $140,000 for the grants allocations and the department used $120,000 in U.S. Department of Energy funds. Morgan Family Foundation added $70,000. This…

‘We have a lot to lose’: 16 Minnesota cities declare climate emergency, urge legislative action

01/19/22
Sixteen Minnesota cities, from the North Shore to metro area to southeastern bluff country, are declaring a climate emergency, sending a message to lawmakers ahead of this legislative session that the time for action is…

Minnesota House DFL proposes spending $1B of surplus on climate plan

01/19/22
Minnesota House Democrats are proposing the state use $1 billion of its projected, record-breaking $7.7 billion budget surplus for a wide range of legislation aimed at curbing the effects of human-caused climate change.

City approves Sustainable Building Policy; Rice County making more climate friendly efforts; Temple says NPB has exciting things on the horizon

01/05/22
Last night the Northfield City Council passed a new sustainable building policy that will require new construction receiving subsidy from the city to meet higher environmentally friendly standards than those required by the State of…

Green energy is coming to Prospect Park

09/28/21
On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council approved a $2 million loan for the Towerside Innovation District to build a renewable energy source that could save 500 thousand tons of carbon.

Minneapolis battery pilot will test vision for sharing solar power with neighbors

09/24/21
An energy storage pilot project in Minneapolis will help test a vision for how homeowners might someday share solar power directly with neighbors.

Tribal Solar Projects Provide More Than Climate Solutions

09/16/21
In August 2021, two wildfires surrounded the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in central Montana. By Aug. 11, more than 175,000 acres were ablaze, and all residents of Lame Deer, the largest town on the reservation,…

Minnesota’s Iron Range may soon be home to one of the largest solar panel manufacturing facilities in the country

09/13/21
Minnesota lawmakers made headlines earlier this year when they approved a bundle of financial incentives to draw a timber product mill to the city of Cohasset in northern Minnesota.

Xcel plans to roll out 10,000 MW of renewable energy in Minnesota, Colorado by 2030

07/30/21
Xcel Energy, in its second quarter earnings report on Thursday, said it plans to significantly accelerate decarbonization efforts in its home state of Minnesota and will cut emissions by 85% by 2030.

More EV charging stations on the horizon for Minnesota

By Evan Ramstad and Mike Hughlett 06/12/21
During the 30 to 40 minutes it takes to charge up, Duran talks to people or watches videos on his smartphone. With the charge costing around $15, Duran says the time is worth it.

Minnesota’s new ECO Act will help ease the burdens of energy costs on low-income families, including many people of color

By Andrew Hazzard 05/28/21
A rare bipartisan bill aims to help Minnesota lower emissions while offering significant savings for low-income families, including many people of color.

Hennepin County’s new climate action plan preserves an unpopular old technology: burning garbage near north Minneapolis.

By Andrew Hazzard 05/23/21
The Hennepin County Board set ambitious goals last month for emission reduction and environmental resilience by approving its first climate action plan.

Preparing for Climate Change in Minnesota

08/30/20
This page provides an overview of the steps Minnesota is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Minnesota state and regional initiatives

03/21/19
Find information about The Next Generation Energy Act, the Greenhouse gas emissions reduction report, and the Climate Solutions and Economic Opportunities Initiative (CSEO).

Minnesota Climate Solutions and Economic Opportunities

03/20/19
Minnesota is committed by statute to do its part for the climate by meeting its Next Generation Energy Act goals . This 2007 law requires the state cut its annual emissions of greenhouse gases by…

Welcome to Minneapolis 2040 – The City’s Comprehensive Plan

01/09/20
The City will use this plan to guide decision-making that affects the long-term future of our city as it relates to the built, natural, and economic environment.

KEY RESOURCES

Minnesota Solar Panels: Pricing and Incentives

02/11/22
Like many states, Minnesota has invested heavily in home solar panels over the years, and those investments have paid off. The state has seen its solar energy production continue to increase in recent years, and…

Minnesota State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/06/21
Minnesota is one of the largest Midwestern states and extends further north than any of the other Lower 48 states. Although Minnesota has no fossil fuel reserves or production, the state plays an important role…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Minnesota

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Minnesota experienced one flood and two severe storms. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

State-by-State: Climate Change in Minnesota

07/31/20
Minnesota’s climate is already changing. In the past century, the state has warmed by 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainstorms are becoming more intense, and annual rainfall is increasing. In the future, Minnesota can expect more floods,…

Renewable Energy In Minnesota

04/10/20
With nearly a century and half of experience, Minnesota's investor-owned utilities deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy 24/7/365.

Minnesota Renewable Energy Society

04/08/20
The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES) is a member-run, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Minneapolis in 1978 and incorporated in Minnesota in 1979 to promote the use of, and to engage in advocacy for, renewable…

Sustainable Home Tour

04/03/20
Reaching the community through advocacy, education and awareness

Minnesota Renewable Energy Society

02/27/20
The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the use of, and engaging in the advocacy for, renewable energies in Minnesota through education and the demonstration of practical applications.

Renewable Energy In Minnesota

02/27/20
Information on Minnesota's progress on renewable energy from in-state investor owned electric and natural gas utilities.

MORE NEWS

Local experts say climate change is leading to longer, more intense allergy seasons in Minnesota

By Jason Hackett   10/19/23  
Do your allergies seem worse than ever? Are they lasting longer than they have in the past? There’s a reason for that.
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How Minnesota’s Biggest Businesses Fight Global Warming

By Liz Fedor   10/13/23  
Minnesotans have endured three consecutive summer droughts, and in 2023 they watched global temperatures soar as July and August became the hottest on record.
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U.S. Supreme Court will decide soon whether to hear appeal by big oil over Minnesota’s climate change lawsuit

By Ana Radelat   10/09/23  
In what could be a landmark case, Minnesota sued the American Petroleum Institute, ExxonMobil and three Koch-owned companies to force them to pay for the effects of climate change on Minnesotans.
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Central states seeing second summer with record-setting highs in 90s

By Matthew Cappucci   10/02/23  
It’s feeling like August, the sequel, over parts of the Plains and Upper Midwest, where an enduring reprieve from summertime heat has yet to arrive. Temperatures some 25 degrees or more above average have been…
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What Minnesota is doing to improve its resilience to climate change

By Katrina Kessler   09/22/23  
Each of our state’s top 10 warmest and wettest years on record have occurred since 1998. We are seeing more frequent and damaging storms, and losing our coldest winter temperatures. And this year as fires…
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News release: The role of Minnesota’s public lands in addressing climate change

09/21/23  
Climate Week and National Public Lands Day coincide each year, offering Minnesotans a reminder that public lands serve a critical role when it comes to mitigating and adapting to climate change. The importance of Minnesota’s…
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In Minnesota, thirsty crops put ground water levels at risk

By Cathy Wurzer and Alanna Elder   09/07/23  
During the record-breaking drought of 2021, wells around the state went dry as farms drew six billion gallons more than their pumping permits allowed. One of the main culprits? The potato industry, which has an…
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Big Farms and Flawless Fries Are Gulping Water in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

By Dionne Searcey and Mira Rojanasakul   09/03/23  
THE DROUGHT THAT GRIPPED MINNESOTA in the summer of 2021 was one of the worst on record. Day after day a blazing sun shriveled leaves, dried up waterfalls and turned ponds to puddles.
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Minnesota regulators vote to proceed with environmental review of disputed carbon capture pipeline

08/31/23  
Minnesota regulators voted Thursday to proceed with an environmental review for part of a proposed but disputed pipeline network that would carry planet-warming carbon dioxide from Midwest ethanol plants to a permanent underground storage site.
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Applying lessons from Puerto Rico’s climate challenges to Minnesota

By Ava Kian   08/31/23  
A group of Minnesotans composed of environmental and social advocates and some elected officials recently traveled to Puerto Rico with the hopes of learning different ways to support communities going through the effects of climate…
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Viewing Minnesota’s future with a climate lens

By Larry Kraft   08/30/23  
Yet another Minnesota summer with record-breaking air pollution makes it clear: The earth doesn't negotiate with us on climate change. If we want a sustainable future for our kids and grandkids, we must deal with…
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Climate change is making Minnesota’s humidity more extreme

By Jonah Kaplan   08/23/23  
Extreme temperature swings are very normal and very Minnesotan, according to climate scientists. But things are changing, and not necessarily for the better.
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A new fast-growing tree species out of Minnesota may be part of a climate change solution

By Cathy Wurzer and Ellen Finn   08/15/23  
Researchers at the University of Minnesota in Duluth recently unveiled a new kind of tree after 20 years of research. It is a cottonwood-poplar hybrid that can grow up to eight feet per year, which…
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Survival of Wild Rice Threatened by Climate Change, Increased Rainfall in Northern Minnesota

By Andrew Hazzard, Sahan Journal   08/14/23  
Todd Moilanen paddles gently through wild rice beds on Ogechie Lake, trying not to disturb a loon sleeping on its back on a nest of reeds a few feet away.
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How is climate change impacting Minnesota’s lakes?

By Kirsten Mitchell   07/20/23  
Our summer is really sizzling. The planet just sweated through its hottest June ever recorded. And ocean temperatures broke records, too.
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Strengthening a Minnesota Community with Solar and Resilience

By Gabe Epstein   07/06/23  
Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood is a community of approximately 6,000 residents, most of whom have a household income of less than $35,000 annually. To support economic stability and energy resilience in this neighborhood, Duluth-based nonprofit…
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We’re Watching the Sky as We Know It Disappear

By Paul Bogard   06/20/23  
The first day in early June when my 5-year-old and I camped in Minnesota’s lake country was the usual heaven — perfect calm for canoeing, an osprey overhead as we braved a swim in the…
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Walz touts 40 climate initiatives Minnesota legislation passed in 2023 session

By Reg Chapman   05/31/23  
Gov. Tim Walz is touting what he calls victories for the environment this legislative session, as lawmakers passed more than 40 climate initiatives, many of which should have a direct impact on you at home.
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Minnesota Emerges as the Midwest’s Leader in the Clean Energy Transition

By Aydali Campa   05/31/23  
Six months ago, John Delurey, the senior regional director at Vote Solar, would have said that Illinois “sits on the shoulders of some of the most robust and equitable climate legislation in the country and…
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Climate change denial among hurdles for carbon capture pipeline project in SW Minnesota

By Tom Cherveny   05/25/23  
Summit Carbon Solutions hosted 15 meetings for landowners last year at locations across the 10 counties in Minnesota in which it intends to build a pipeline to transport carbon dioxide from ethanol plants.
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Minnesota has 17 years to reach 100% renewable energy. Experts say we’re already behind schedule.

By Kirsten Swanson   05/25/23  
Minnesota’s renewable energy transition is on a tight timeline that experts say could get even tighter as more wind, solar and transmission line projects seek regulatory approval. The demand for renewable energy and a bolstered…
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Two States Are Ramping Up Clean Energy Incentives. That Was the Inflation Reduction Act’s Point

By Kristoffer Tigue   05/19/23  
Two states are set to significantly ramp up the financial incentives to adopt renewable energy and electric vehicles under new laws that mimic federal clean energy tax credits provided under the Inflation Reduction Act. It’s…
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In Minnesota, electricians are plugging into a new niche installing EV chargers

By Frank Jossi   05/03/23  
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has trained and certified more than 400 electricians to install commercial EV chargers, while several contractors are finding steady work helping homeowners get their garages ready for at-home charging.…
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Minnesota’s climate lawsuit is a dangerous gambit

By Paul Gazelka   05/01/23  
When it comes to solving issues facing the people of Minnesota, our state legislature has a long history of working across the aisle to deliver. As a former state senator, representative and Minnesota’s Senate Majority…
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Clean Energy’s Impact on Minnesota’s Economy

By Winter Keefer   04/27/23  
Unfortunately, the climate doesn’t stop changing when the global economy takes a turn. But Minnesota has continued to outpace the national push for a carbon-neutral economy, according to a recent report.
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Mississippi River flooding prompts evacuations, sandbagging

By Scott Mcfetridge and Todd Richmond   04/27/23  
Some residents along the swelling Upper Mississippi River evacuated their homes this week while others scrambled Wednesday to stack sandbags in preparation for what forecasters say could be near-record flooding caused by the rapid melting…
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‘Earth is our mother’: Minnesota farm addresses climate change by reintroducing bison, Ojibwe horses

By Cathy Wurzer and Alanna Elder   04/26/23  
It’s a waterlogged spring after a snowy winter, but the growing season is almost upon us. This is a busy time of year for farmers like David Wise, who is juggling quite a few projects,…
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Nearly 40-degree temperature hike shows signs of climate shift in Minnesota

By Marielle Mohs   04/13/23  
We've all been caught off guard by this weather whiplash, from a blizzard last week to wearing shorts and sandals this week. Even three consecutive days of 80 degrees couldn't melt Mt. Eden Prairie, the…
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Climate and energy omnibus gets its day in the sun

By Rob Hubbard   03/28/23  
Since 2019, the House Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee has been approving bills built around reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping slow the effects of climate change. But most of its initiatives were…
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Oil Companies Fail to Convince the Eighth Circuit Climate Cases Should Be Removed to Federal Court

By Jonathan H. Adler   03/25/23  
On Thursday, a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit rejected arguments by fossil fuel companies that state-law-based tort claims concerning climate change should be heard in federal court. On…
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Climate cover-up? Federal appeals court rules Minnesota’s lawsuit can proceed

By News Staff   03/24/23  
Minnesota’s lawsuit alleges ExxonMobil, American Petroleum Institute, and Koch Industries systematically deceived and defrauded Minnesotans about the true causes and costs of climate change.
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‘Reversing’ coal mining: Minnesota startup uses plants to trap carbon emissions

By Frank Jossi   03/21/23  
A Minneapolis startup company wants to become a leader in the emerging carbon capture and storage market. Carba, co-founded by a University of Minnesota chemical engineering professor and a former student, has developed a portable…
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What the UN’s latest climate report could mean for Minnesota

By Cathy Wurzer and Gretchen Brown   03/21/23  
We're seeing the effects of climate change on our world: mindboggling amounts of rain and snow and the damage that follows, scorching heatwaves that wither crops and spark devastating wildfires.
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Out-of-Towners Head to ‘Climate-Proof Duluth’

By Debra Kamin   03/10/23  
Surfing in Minnesota is just like surfing in Southern California, John Jenkins says, as long as you ignore the icicles on your wet suit. Mr. Jenkins, 38, is a child of Orange County. But a…
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Minnesota regulators approve $256M solar farm for farmland in Dodge County

By Mike Hughlett   03/09/23  
County officials had objected because it would be located on more than 1,500 acres of prime farmland.
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UMN Office of Sustainability works to fight climate change

By Ainsley Brown   03/07/23  
The University of Minnesota’s Office of Sustainability has been working to achieve carbon neutrality on the Twin Cities campus by 2050 and combat the effects of climate change throughout the state since adopting a systemwide…
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MPCA says emission reduction goal in sight, industry leaders working to help

By Ben Henry   02/10/23  
A new state report says Minnesota’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have dropped by 23% between 2005 and 2020, putting the state on track to meet its climate goals for the first time.
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Documents show how a pipeline company paid Minnesota millions to police protests

By Alleen Brown and John McCracken   02/09/23  
The morning of June 7, 2021, Sheriff’s Deputy Chuck Nelson of Beltrami County, Minnesota, bought water and refreshments, packed his gear, and prepared for what would be, in his own words, “a long day.” For…
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Minnesota Enacts Bill to Establish 100% Carbon-Free Standard for Electricity

02/07/23  
On February 7, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed HF7 which commits the state to achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. Minnesota joins a growing list of U.S. states committed to 100% renewable energy and/or net-zero…
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Minn. governor trusts energy law will survive ND suit threat

By Steve Karnowski   02/07/23  
Democratic Gov Tim Walz signed a bill Tuesday that requires Minnesota utilities to get 100% of their electricity from carbon-free sources by 2040, saying he's confident it will stand up against a threatened lawsuit from…
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Minnesota’s New Carbon-Free Energy Plan is a Win for Birds and People

By National Audubon Society   02/07/23  
Today, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a clean energy bill into law after it passed in the House and Senate. The new law requires the state’s utilities to get 100 percent of their electricity from…
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Minnesota to require 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040

By Zoya Teirstein   02/03/23  
Democratic lawmakers in Minnesota passed an ambitious climate law late Thursday night requiring the state’s power utilities to use 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. The clean electricity legislation was approved on a party-line vote…
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Biden admin limits mining for renewable energy resources despite green push

By Alec Schemmel   01/31/23  
Despite its push for Americans to transition to renewable energy, the Biden administration has placed a 20-year moratorium on mining activity in a vast swath of Minnesota wilderness said to be sitting atop a mass…
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Minnesota Is Poised to Pass an Ambitious 100 Percent Clean Energy Bill. Now About Those Incinerators…

By Aydali Campa   01/30/23  
A bill that would require Minnesota’s utilities to generate 100 percent clean energy by 2040 passed in the House last week and is expected to be signed into law in the coming weeks. The legislation…
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Biden protects vast wilderness area in Minnesota from mining

By Timothy Puko   01/26/23  
The Biden administration is banning mining for 20 years in a giant watershed near Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the president’s latest effort to deliver on conservation pledges that would shape the future of…
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Minnesota governor rolls out plan to fight climate change

By Steve Karnowski   09/17/22  
Democratic Gov. Tim Walz on Friday rolled out a framework for fighting climate change that shows his proposed direction on the environment if he wins a second term, a sweeping plan that would slash carbon…
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Solar ‘resilience hubs’ coming to three Minneapolis neighborhoods

By Danny Spewak   07/18/22  
Three Minneapolis neighborhoods will implement "resilience hubs" in the near future, outfitting buildings with solar rooftops and battery storage to create microgrids that can generate power even in the event of a natural disaster.
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Minnesota cities want permission to move faster than state on energy codes

By Frank Jossi   03/24/22  
Minnesota’s approach to updating state building energy codes is too slow given the urgency of the climate crisis, according to a coalition of cities and clean energy advocates that is pressing for swifter change.
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Solar garden powering and empowering north Minneapolis

By Jennifer Brooks   02/25/22  
The first subscribers are signing up for a stake in this solar garden — and signing on to a vision of north Minneapolis as a hub for clean energy and green jobs. The North High…
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Xcel Energy submits plans to raise rates and expand natural gas service

By Sam Brasch   01/26/22  
Xcel Energy has asked Colorado regulators to raise its natural gas rates over the next three years, an increase the company said will allow it to deliver reliable home heat without locking in decades of…
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