Energy Efficiency / Renewables: Renewables

Renewable Energy Standard

In 2007 Minnesota established a renewable energy standard for electric utilities.  See Minn. Stat. Section 216B.1691.  The requirement applies to power suppliers:  an investor-owned utility, a generation and transmission cooperative electric association, a municipal power agency, or a power district.  The mandate does not apply to municipal electric utilities or rural electric cooperatives, but it does apply to the energy they purchase and sell to their customers. 

Energy must be generated from one of the following renewable energy sources: 

  • solar;
  • wind;
  • hydroelectric with a capacity of less than 100 megawatts;
  • hydrogen, provided that after January 1, 2010, the hydrogen must be generated from the resources listed in this paragraph; or
  • biomass.

A Minnesota electric utility’s total retail sales must include the following percentage of energy generated by eligible energy technologies by the end of the year indicated:

  • 2012 – 12 percent
  • 2016 – 17 percent
  • 2020 – 20 percent
  • 2025 – 25 percent

Xcel Energy is subject to a different series of requirements.

  • 2010 – 15 percent
  • 2012 – 18 percent
  • 2016 – 25 percent
  • 2020 – 30 percent

A utility may petition the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to modify or delay the implementation of a standard.  Grounds for medication or delay include:

  • Cost impacts;
  • System reliability;
  • Technical issues;
  • Delays in acquiring sites or routes;
  • Delays, cancellation or nondelivery of equipment;
  • Transmission constraints;
  • Other statutory obligations.

In the 2012 reporting period all of the municipally-owned power suppliers in Minnesota met the required standard of 12 percent. 

Solar energy standard

By the end of 2020 1.5 percent of an investor-owned utility’s total retail electric sales to retail customers in Minnesota must be generated by solar energy.  At least ten percent of the 1.5 percent goal must be met by solar energy generated by or procured from solar photovoltaic devices with a nameplate capacity of 20 kilowatts or less.

The solar energy standard does not apply to municipal or cooperative utilities. 

Solar energy goal 

It is an energy goal of the state of Minnesota that, by 2030, ten percent of the retail electric sales in Minnesota be generated by solar energy.

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