- Minnesota would add over $6.2 billion in capital investment by expanding its current 25% renewables by 2025 mandate to 40% by 2030, according to a Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) study. Minnesota currently gets 19% of its electricity from renewables.
- UCS found the increased mandate would produce $155 million in annual revenues from solar and wind facilities, an annual state revenue increase of $14 million, and wind installation land lease increases of $9 million annually. It would cost ratepayers only $0.12 per month by 2030.
- The higher mandate would add 3,100 megawatts (MW) of renewables, mostly wind, and turn Minnesota into a net electricity exporter. Wind capacity would grow from 3,039 MW to 5,947 MW and utility-scale solar would increase to at least 600 MW in 2030, based on the state’s 1.5% by 2020 solar mandate, according to UCS.
“For Minnesota ratepayers it’s essentially an even trade between continuing to pay for fossil fuel generation — whether generated in North Dakota or Minnesota — and instead invest in new steel-in-the-ground renewable energy infrastructure in Minnesota,” according to the UCS report’s author.
Xcel Energy’s long range plan foresees 2,400 MW of solar capacity by 2030 even though wind is significantly more cost-competitive in Minnesota.
A Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) study done with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator concluded 40% renewables would not cause reliability issues, based on the fact that both Iowa and South Dakota obtained 25% of their electricity from renewables in 2013. Colorado obtained 60% of its electricity from wind and Texas got to nearly 40% in recent years.
The American Wind Energy Association’s analysis of the DOC report said the PJM Interconnection found that “with adequate transmission and ancillary services” it could get to 30% renewables without issue.