Minnesota Electricity Could Be 100% Renewable, 100% Local
A new report released today by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research shows that Minnesota can meet 100% of its electricity needs with in-state wind and solar power, and (with ample energy efficiency investments) at a comparable cost to its existing electricity supply.
The renewable energy mix would include approximately 13,000 megawatts of wind power and 4,600 megawatts of distributed solar PV. The expenditures for the new renewable energy, storage (via underground compressed air) and energy efficiency would pump more than $90 billion into the state's economy and create 50,000 jobs.
With the combination of new renewable energy and significant energy efficiency, electricity rates rise slightly but Minnesota ratepayers are held relatively harmless. The following chart from the report illustrates, with some relatively conservative estimates, the cost of wind and solar:
While the Minnesota-specific findings are ground-breaking, the paradigm shift suggested for the electricity system is equally profound:
The following chart from the report illustrates how wind, solar, other renewables, and storage adjust to meet customer demand during a typical week in July, with both supply and demand being flexible.
This fundamental shift is an issue we've covered before, the challenge of reconciling a centralized electricity system with decentralized renewable energy resources.
Overall, Renewable Minnesota is a stellar report, incredibly thorough in its analysis and profound in its conclusions. It's a must read for energy policy makers everywhere.
Image: Stephen Finn via Shutterstock
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