Did you know that Minnesota depends on coal for 44 percent of its in-state electricity generation? To supply that power, the state’s power producers paid nearly $420 million to import 12 million tons of coal from Wyoming and Montana! And Xcel Energy, the state’s largest power provider, sent $250 million out of Minnesota to purchase coal in 2012—nearly 60 percent of the state’s total. (www.ucsusa.org/bcbc2014update)
It looks like those numbers are resonating with our elected officials. It’s good to see them looking at ways to stop exporting cash for coal and use renewable energy to not only replace coal, but also help build solar jobs and manufacturing in Minnesota. The whole point of the Made in Minnesota lottery is to encourage Minnesota residents in an Xcel territory to buy panels that are made in Minnesota to help boost the local economy.
The Office of the Governor sent this bulletin at 10/27/2015 announcing that Lt. Governor Tina Smith is seeking solar power for Minnesota’s State buildings:
Lt. Governor Tina Smith at the Eco Experience Building at the State Fair.
As part of Minnesota’s continued push to reduce the carbon footprint of state buildings, Lt. Governor Tina Smith and the Minnesota Department of Administration announced a request for proposal (RFP) today to enter into a solar garden contract for up to 11.4 megawatts of electricity. The RFP also provides the option for locating solar gardens on state owned property.
A Department of Administration survey of state agencies showed a strong interest for taking advantage of new programs featuring solar power. As an enterprise leader in contracting, Admin partnered with other state agencies to develop an RFP benefiting multiple agencies. Admin is joined in the RFP by the Department of Corrections, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Military Affairs, and the Perpich Center for Arts Education.
“Smarter energy policy has helped reduce energy consumption on the Capitol Complex by 20 percent since 2013,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “This better government effort will help drive a renewable energy economy, while saving taxpayers money.”
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the state’s commitment to sustainable operations and renewable energy,” said Commissioner Matt Massman. “Solar is an exciting and important energy alternative, and this RFP will allow the state to be a leader in advancing solar in Minnesota.”
Governor Dayton committed state agencies to reducing their carbon footprint in Executive Order 11 13 by making their buildings and activities more sustainable and using clean energy resources. Since that time, the Capitol Complex has reduced its energy consumption by more than 20 percent. The state would like to add a greater share of renewable fuels to complement its energy reduction efforts.
“Minnesota will help lead the way on using solar energy to improve our government buildings. Every step we take toward a clean energy future is progress to help our energy system and the environment,” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, whose department includes the Division of Energy Resources which has worked on clean energy development, including community solar gardens.
Be part of that change today by enrolling in the Made in Minnesota program through Aquilla.