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


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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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

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

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

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

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

Xcel Energy is seeking a major expansion of wind energy in southwestern Minnesota.

Feds announce major investments in Minnesota’s electric grid

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

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

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

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

Morris is a small town in western Minnesota with big clean energy goals.

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

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

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

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?

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’

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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 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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minnesota state and regional initiatives

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

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

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.


Minnesota Solar Panels: Pricing and Incentives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reaching the community through advocacy, education and awareness

Minnesota Renewable Energy Society

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

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


Minnesota pledges 100 percent carbon-free energy. Is it possible?

By Elizabeth Dunbar   03/07/19  
Minnesota appears to be on its way to getting all of its energy from carbon-free sources in the next 30 years. It's all part of the state's efforts to reduce, and then eliminate, greenhouse gas…
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U scientists: Minnesota is one of the nation’s fastest-warming states

By Jennifer Bjorhus   01/16/19  
Cities are warming faster than the rest of the landscape, they tell a panel of legislators.
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Minnesota Is on Track to Meet Its Renewable Energy Goals

By Ines Kagubare   11/19/18  
A study released Thursday by MN Solar Pathways found that solar could make up 10 percent of the state's electricity by 2025. In addition, the report predicts that as renewable energy costs decrease, Minnesota will…
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Minnesota, New Mexico propose clean car rules as Trump attacks California standards

By Catherine Morehouse   09/26/19  
States and cities across the country are fighting back against the Trump administration’s proposed rule for a singular vehicle emissions and fuel economy standard across the country.
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Minneapolis releases final draft of 2040 comprehensive plan

By Katie Pyzyk   10/03/18  
The lengthy plan — about 500 pages — covers the city's governance over the next 20 years on topics including technology and innovation, infrastructure, transportation, housing and racial equity.
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Minneapolis Unveils Final Draft Of 2040 Plan

The plan, which covers city infrastructure and housing as well as topics such as racial equity, has been the subject to some scrutiny from a number of residents.
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