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Renewable Energy Standards in Minnesota

Learn more about the history and standards of renewable energy in Minnesota.

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Clean Energy & Renewable Energy Standards in MN

Ever since 1983, when it passed the nation’s first net metering law, Minnesota has been a state with policies that championed renewable energy and clean energy technology. 2001 brought the adoption of voluntary renewable energy objectives called the Minnesota Renewable Energy Objective (REO). Just six years later, in 2007, the state legislature modified those voluntary objectives and created the Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard (RES), the statewide mandatory renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

The 2007 standard requires that eligible renewable energy sources make up at least 25% of the power generated and sold in the state by companies, cooperatives, and municipal utilities no later than 2025. Minnesota’s nuclear utility, Xcel Energy, has been held to a higher standard; it must generate 30% of its power from eligible clean energy sources by 2020.

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How the Next Generation Energy Act Supports Renewable Energy Standards

Minnesota passed another environmentally friendly law in 2007. Called the Next Generation Energy Act, it requires a state-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 80% by 2050. Reducing dependence on fossil fuels and expanding renewable energy sources like solar power, biomass, hydroelectric, and wind energy are crucial if the state is going to reach this ambitious goal.

Minnesota’s Solar Energy Standard

As one of the best states in the midwest for solar energy, Minnesota lawmakers have made solar power adoption a priority. Passed in 2013, Minnesota’s Solar Energy Standard (SES) requires that 10 percent of all Minnesota retail energy sales come from solar power by the year 2030. Not all companies are subject to the SES, however, only Minnesota Power, Xcel Energy, and Ottertail Power Company.

At the same time, the groundwork was laid for Community Solar Gardens. Minnesota’s community solar garden program officially launched in December, 2014. Since that time, the operational capacity and resident involvement has grown impressively. As of January 2021, Minnesota’s community solar program reached a capacity of 784 megawatts, and customers of Xcel Energy have discovered just how cost-effective solar can be, with savings of more than $2.2 million.

Current Efforts Around Renewable Energy in Minnesota

Minnesota lawmakers are once again working on legislation that would promote renewable energy and do more to protect against climate change. The goal of the current legislation would be to require utility companies to generate 100% of their electricity from carbon-free energy sources by 2040. Should it pass, it will be among the most ambitious energy policies in the country.

The future of renewable energy, especially solar, is only getting brighter in Minnesota. Clearway Community Solar is an integral part of that bright future. Clearway operates numerous community solar farms throughout Minnesota and plans are underway to open more. Find out how you can become a subscriber. Invest in clean solar energy and save money on your monthly utility bill with Minnesota community solar from Clearway.

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