This February 2006 policy brief by John Bailey and David Morris offers a brief overview of the existing renewable electricity mandates in Minnesota, and discusses the impact a proposed extension and expansion of these mandates might have.
Last year, the Minnesota legislature debated a proposal to establish a new statewide renewable electricity mandate. That debate will undoubtedly continue this session.
Most Minnesotans are unaware that a number of renewable electricity state mandates already exist, enacted either by the legislature or the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
This memo offers a brief overview of the existing renewable electricity mandates in Minnesota, and discusses the impact a proposed extension and expansion of these mandates might have. We invite comments and clarifications.
In this analysis we assume all additional renewable electricity will be generated by wind, since very little biomass-generated electricity is planned between 2006-2015. We also assume a 2.5 percent annual increase in electricity consumption in Minnesota. Finally, we assume a 33 percent capacity factor for wind turbines.
Under existing mandates, Xcel Energy, which sells about 50 percent of the state’s electricity, must sell energy from about 1,730 MW of wind energy projects to its Minnesota customers by 2010. That represents an almost 1,000 MW increase over the 736 MW in operation or planned as of November 2005. Between 2010 and 2015 Xcel Energy must add another 766 MW of wind power.
If a mandate similar to the one proposed in the 2005 Minnesota legislative session were enacted, that is, for all utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020, Xcel would have to add an additional 686 MW in 2015 over its current mandate, and another 1050 MW between 2015 and 2020.