Report: Renewable energy fuels 21 percent of Minnesota's electricity

A community solar garden in Rockford, Minn.
Lawmakers in 2007 backed an aggressive renewable energy standard, calling for Minnesota to produce 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2025. The data released today suggest the state should meet that goal. Here, WH Solar's community solar garden is seen in Rockford, Minn.
Matthew Hintz for MPR News file

The use of wind, solar, hydro and biomass power has jumped in Minnesota the past 10 years, and the state is poised to beat its goal for electricity generated by renewables, officials said Thursday.

Minnesota generated 21 percent of its electricity from renewable energy in 2015, up from 6 percent a decade ago, the Minnesota Commerce Department said in a new report.

Seventeen percent of the state's electricity was generated by wind energy compared to 3 percent in 2005, while coal-fired electricity dropped from 62 percent in 2005 to 44 percent in 2015, the department said citing 2015 year-end figures compiled by state and federal sources.

Minnesota lawmakers in 2007 backed an aggressive renewable energy standard, calling for Minnesota to produce 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2025. The data released today suggest the state should meet that goal.

Minnesota's electricity generation
Courtesy of Minnesota Department of Commerce

"Minnesota's commitment to renewable energy is showing clear results," Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said in a statement. "We have reduced our dependence on polluting coal that must be imported from outside the state while increasing our own clean energy made right here in Minnesota. It's a tremendous benefit for our energy sector, our economy and jobs, and our environment."

Citing recent congressional action to extend federal wind and solar tax incentives for five years, Rothman said it makes sense for Minnesota to raising its goal and have at least 40 percent of its electricity generated by renewables by 2030. Solar-drive electric power, he added, "is primed for dramatic growth."

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