KMSP - Nearly 7% of the total produced electricity in the United States now comes from renewable energy, up from just 1% a decade ago, and the numbers just keep climbing. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), power generation through wind, solar, and geothermal continues to grow, and is now up to 280,656 GWh nationwide. That number is 7 times than what it was just 10 years ago when the U.S. produced 41,664 GWh of renewable energy, with the biggest gains coming in just the last couple of years.
Minnesota is helping to lead the way, coming in 4th highest for wind capacity in the nation, behind Iowa, Kansas, and Illinois. Wind generated energy will continue to grow in Minnesota with Xcel Energy planning to build at least 3 more large wind farms in the state before the end of the decade. After the CEO of Xcel Energy announced the major wind investment, he declared “We’re investing big in wind because of the tremendous economic value it brings to our customers. With wind energy at historic low prices, we can secure savings that will benefit customers now and for decades to come.”
Minnesota isn’t just stopping at wind energy though; solar energy is becoming more prevalent as well. Officials in St. Paul adopted an agreement last month to power a quarter of the city’s municipal buildings with electricity from current and planned community solar gardens.
All of this is a bigger effort to convert the state into a beacon of clean energy with the Lt. Governor announcing a bipartisan effort to move the state toward 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. That would be one of the highest goals of any state in such a short time. But it’s totally doable thanks to the Public Utilities Commission approving Xcel Energy’s plan to move away from coal toward cleaner energy sources… becoming 63 percent carbon-free by the same year.
Basically, renewable energy has become cheaper than most carbon based energy production which will continue to grow the renewables sector for many years to come, regardless of what happens in Washington.