Minnesota Enacts the Country's Strongest Renewable Requirement

February 28, 2007

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed a bill into law on February 22nd that sets a requirement for the state's utilities to draw on renewable energy for 25 percent of the power needs by 2025. The law sets an even tougher standard for Xcel Energy, which provides half of the state's power, requiring the utility to employ renewable energy for 30 percent of its power supply by 2020. According to Governor Pawlenty, the new bill will add an additional 5,000 megawatts of renewable power, which is roughly eight times the state's current renewable power capacity. See the governor's press release.

The bill, Senate File 4, allows for renewable power generation from biomass, small hydropower, and solar and wind power, or from hydrogen generated from renewable energy sources. For most of the state's utilities, it starts with a 7 percent renewable requirement in 2010, then requires 12 percent renewable power in 2012 and ratchets higher every four years through 2025, when it reaches 25 percent. For any utility that owns a nuclear plant—that would be Xcel Energy—the renewable requirement starts at 15 percent in 2010 and increases to 30 percent by 2020. The bill also requires utilities to study and develop plans for transmission system enhancements needed to meet the new requirements. See the full text of the bill.