In 2016 coal-fired power plants provided about two-fifths of Minnesota's total electricity production. There are two nuclear plants in Minnesota, which contribute about one-fifth of the state's electricity. Natural gas has grown rapidly over the past decade (2006-2016), going from about 5% to 15% of total electricity production. Wind power has also expanded quickly over the past decade from about 4% to 18% of total electricity production. Minnesota ranks sixth in the nation for wind energy as a share of total electricity production.
Minnesota has a Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires all utilities in the state to use a minimum percentage of renewable sources like solar, wind, hydroelectric, and biomass for their electricity supply. Specifically, all utilities must use at least 25% renewable energy by the year 2025. The requirements are higher for the state's largest electric utility, Xcel Energy.
Minnesota Electricity Prices
Minnesota has a regulated electricity market, whereby local utility companies set and control electricity prices, generation, and delivery in their service areas.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for Minnesota residents in December 2016 was 11.97¢ per kWh, which is .24¢ below the average U.S. electricity price of 12.21¢ per kWh.
Residential electricity prices are on the rise in Minnesota, having increased more than 16% over the past 5 years. This trend has led to higher electricity bills for Minnesota residents, motivating many to switch to renewable energy (i.e. go solar) to save money.
Minnesota Energy Mix
Net Electricity Generation By Source:
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016
From 2011-2016, natural gas went from about 6% to 15% of total electricity production in Minnesota. Over the same period, electricity production from coal fell over 16%.
Minnesota Energy Sector Employment
According to the 2016 Clean Jobs Midwest report, Minnesota has 5,343 jobs in the renewable energy industry. Most of these jobs are related to solar and wind power, although geothermal and biomass also create hundreds of jobs. The Minnesota solar industry skyrocketed in 2016, bringing the state's installed capacity from 35 MW in 2015 to 250 MW in 2016. The most common solar jobs in Minnesota are installers, manufacturers, salespeople, and project managers. Utility-scale solar projects also create hundreds of temporary construction jobs. For example, the North Star Solar Project was built in 2016 in Chisago County. This solar farm created 200-300 temporary construction jobs and about 12 permanent full-time operational jobs.
Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.
Minnesota Utility Companies
Some of the largest electric utility companies in Minnesota are Xcel Energy, Great River Energy, and Minnesota Power. Being in a regulated energy market, these utilities own the entire flow of electricity in their territories and also dictate electricity prices. As such, they are responsible for generating electricity, maintaining infrastructure, delivering electricity, and providing billing to all their residential and business customers across the state.
- Serves approximately 3.3 million electric customers across 8 states
- Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN
- Founded in 1998
Great River Energy
- Provides electricity to 28 member cooperatives, including Connexus Energy and Dakota Electric Association
- Headquartered in Maple Grove, MN
- Formed in 1999
- Serves approximately 145,000 electric customers in Minnesota
- Headquartered in Duluth, MN
- Subsidiary of Allete Inc.
Arcadia's Minnesota Renewable Energy Services
With Arcadia’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to Minnesota residents:
As a Minnesota utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.
We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in Minnesota. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.
Zero-down Energy Efficient Products
Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables Minnesota utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.