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Good news: Almost half of Minnesota's power is now carbon-free

A new fact sheet gives Minnesota high marks for its transition to clean energy

Camp Ripley's solar panels
Camp Ripley's 116,000 thin-film solar panels will create 10 megawatts of energy, enough to power 1,900 homes annually. Photographed in April 2017.
Paul Middlestaedt for MPR News 2017

A new fact sheet from the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a group that represents energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy companies, says Minnesota is rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electric power. It says 25 percent of the state’s electric power came from renewables last year, and 49 percent of power generation was carbon-free when you include nuclear power.

And that energy transition has happened without damaging the economy, said Gregg Mast, executive director of Clean Energy Economy MN.

“We're looking at how much can we grow our economy and produce more products and services while, at the same time, we're using the same or less energy,” Mast said. “And Minnesota has done an excellent job in doing that. Since 2010, we have grown our state's gross domestic product by 24 percent; power consumption over that same time period has only grown 2 percent.”

“That's really remarkable,” he said.

Mast spoke with MPR chief meteorologist and Climate Cast host Paul Huttner. Hit play on the audio player above to hear the conversation.