Wind and solar energy resources, combined with improvements to the state's electric grid and energy-efficiency policies, could meet 100% of Minnesota's electricity generation needs, finds a new report released by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.
According to the report, Minnesota has more than enough wind and solar resources to meet its electricity demand. In addition, the researchers found that a renewable-energy-based electricity sector is technically feasible using proven technologies.
Notably, they found that if efficiency improvements are made, a renewable-energy-based electricity system would cost about the same as it does currently.
‘We have identified a number of steps that can help position Minnesota to utilize its available renewable energy resources," says Dr. Arjun Makhijani, one of the report's authors. "These actions will achieve a significant reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions. Transitioning to a renewable-energy-based electricity sector will require the creation of a more informed technical and cost framework.
The report makes several recommendations, including the following:
- Initiate a statewide energy-efficiency study, including technical and economic aspects, and examine the effect of efficiency investments on electricity demand;
- Require utilities to include increased renewable energy and storage in their integrated resource plans; and
- Develop and implement a timeline for achieving a 100% renewable energy standard, including achievable benchmarks and milestones.