Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Going green: The state Capitol will use more renewable energy

Author:

The Minnesota State Capitol is going greener.

Under a new partnership with Xcel Energy, one-third of the newly renovated state Capitol's energy will eventually come from renewable sources like solar and wind, according to a news release.

The partnership – called the Renewable Connect Government Pilot Program – still has to be approved by the Public Utilities Commission. However, the Odell Wind Farm in southern Minnesota and the North Star Solar Project in the eastern part of the state have already committed to the project.

“Transitioning Minnesota to renewable energy is good for our health, environment, and economy. Gov. Dayton and I are committed to ensuring state government does its part to lead by example," Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said in the release. "Our clean energy industry already supports 54,000 jobs and is expected to add 2,300 this year alone."

https://twitter.com/ADMN_Minnesota/status/778596109124001792

Pending the Public Utilities Commission approval, the initiative could be expanded to other city and county buildings.

The government program is an addition to Xcel's Renewable Connect, which allows customers to receive some or all of their energy from renewable sources. The program was proposed in 2015, but is still waiting for approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the release says.

According to the Star Tribune, after reviewing the plans and taking public comment, the Public Utilities Commission will probably not consider the proposal until January or February of next year.

The paper also reported the annual energy bill for the Capitol building and its surrounding office buildings is usually about $5 million. The Xcel agreement would save the state around $100,000.

Minnesota isn't the first state to take a step like this. According to PV Magazine, California announced last year its Capitol buildings will eventually run 100 percent on renewable energy.

The bigger picture

This initiative is part of bigger goals Minnesota and Xcel have in terms of renewable energy. Currently, several countries and 29 states plus the District of Columbia have what's referred to as a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

The RPS is basically a goal to use a certain percentage of renewable energy sources by a certain year. For example, Minnesota's goal is to use renewable sources for 25 percent of its energy by 2025.

Minnesota's 25 percent goal is higher than many. A handful of states have a RPS of 15 percent by either 2015 or 2020, while some states have much higher goals: California wants to use 50 percent of renewable energy by 2030, while Hawaii wants to eventually be 100 percent renewable by 2070, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website.

Xcel Energy also has its personal goals for each state that in provides energy to. According to its corporate responsibility report, the RPS for Minnesota is to use 30 percent of renewables by 2020, with at least 24 percent of sales from wind and no more than 1 percent of sales from solar.

The company's goal for Colorado is also at 30 percent, while the goals for Michigan, the Dakotas and Wisconsin are just 10 percent. Xcel's RPS for New Mexico is 20 percent while in Texas it is just 3 percent.

Next Up

unsplash cold winter breath dark

Hello, winter: List of the coldest wind chills in MN Monday morning

The state went from a relatively mild start of the season, to downright frigid wind chills.

deer

1 CWD-positive deer in Brainerd Lakes area, so surveillance will continue

The CWD monitoring measures were supposed to end after this year.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

MN program will train, hire 1,000 nursing assistants for long-term care

The facilities are facing a severe staffing shortage.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

Minnesota State Fair reestablishes a police department

The fair had been contracting with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

teacher, covid, masks, school

Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

The school board has been impressed by vaccination rates among middle school students.

snow, plow

Friday winter storm could hit Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard is already monitoring the forecast.

Sauk Rapids Middle School street view, Minnesota - November 2018_

Teen student arrested for threats toward MN middle school

The Sauk Rapids middle school and high school were closed Monday.

_DSC0318

Rally for trans child outed during Hastings school board race draws big crowd

Hastings has been in the spotlight since the child's family was featured in a CNN story.

chad davis arradondo flickr

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo to retire next month

He's overseen the MPD since mid-2017, following the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, December 6

The latest from the state health department.

2560px-Foo_Fighters_-_Southside_Festival_2019_4184_-_1

'Minneapolis, we're coming!!!': Foo Fighters announce rescheduled concert

The previously announced Huntington Bank Stadium was cancelled.

Related