The Policy Gap: Minnesota Energy Policy vs. Minnesota Climate Policy

Date: 5 Nov 2007 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States, Press Release | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This November 2007 report by John Farrell, John Bailey and David Morris examines the impact that Minnesota’s energy policies will have on Minnesota’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. Even if fully achieved, the state’s energy policies would simply slow the rate at which GHG emissions continue to grow.

Minnesota has adopted an aggressive state-level greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal but Minnesota’s energy policy objectives, even if achieved, would simply slow the rate at which we are moving the the wrong direction. To significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions Minnesota must reduce energy consumption.

If Minnesota electricity growth continues at its current rate, consumption would increase by almost 50 percent by 2025. Simply to prevent greenhouse gases from rising in the electricity sector would require a 48 percent renewable energy standard by 2025, double the existing standard.

However, if electricity demand growth were cut to zero, a 20% renewable goal by 2015 would stabilize greenhouse gas emission from this sector. If state gasoline consumption increases at its current rate, even doubling the ethanol blend from 10% to 20% would only modestly reduce the growth. However, if vehicle miles per car were held constant and the state embraced plug-in hybrid electric vehicles – which effectively triple vehicle efficiency – greenhouse gas emissions in this sector could drop by 67% by 2025.

In the building sector, improving building efficiency will modestly reduce the rate of growth in energy demand. More effectively, the building code could be expanded to require any new building, or major renovation to an existing building, to offset any net additional greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the project. This would spur dramatic energy improvements both in new buildings and, with in-state offsets, existing buildings.

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John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.