Lt. Governor Tina Smith and the Minnesota Department of Administration has announced a new partnership with Xcel Energy called the Renewable*Connect Government Pilot Program. The new initiative will ensure that 33% of the base energy used at the State Capitol Complex comes from renewable sources. If approved by the Public Utilities Commission, the program will provide a reliable and stable supply of solar and wind energy on a long-term basis, and serve as a template for other government customers to purchase utility scale renewable energy packages.
“Transitioning Minnesota to renewable energy is good for our health, environment, and economy. Our clean energy industry already supports 54,000 jobs and is expected to add 2,300 this year alone,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Governor Dayton and I are committed to ensuring state government does its part to lead by example. I thank Xcel Energy for collaborating with us to bring renewable energy to the State Capitol Complex, and supporting the development of a more resilient, sustainable energy future for Minnesota.”
The Renewable*Connect Government Pilot Program builds on the past leadership of state government to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Since 2008, energy consumption at the State Capitol Complex has been decreased by 25%.
“This innovative renewable energy partnership with Xcel Energy demonstrates the State of Minnesota’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions in the operation of state facilities, while also helping to advance renewable technologies in our State in a way that reflects sound business practices,” said Administration Commissioner Matthew Massman. “By partnering with Xcel Energy, we leveraged the innovation of the private sector to provide clean energy at the best price.”
“Xcel Energy is proud to continue our commitment to renewable energy by providing the newly renovated capitol with renewable energy and play a role in making it even more of a gem for our entire state,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota. “We’re pleased to partner with the State of Minnesota in achieving their clean energy goals and look forward to providing increased wind and solar options for all our customers in the future.”
Portions of the Odell Wind Farm in southern Minnesota and the North Star Solar Project in Chisago County are dedicated to the Renewable*Connect program.
Renewable*Connect Government is an addition to Renewable*Connect, a program proposed by Xcel Energy in 2015 to give customers new renewable energy options. Pending approval by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, customers will be able to sign up to receive some or all of their energy from renewable energy projects. Xcel Energy will retire Renewable Energy Credits on behalf of program participants.
Subject to Public Utilities Commission approval, the Renewable*Connect Government Program could expand beyond state government to other public entities, such as cities and counties. The program was structured to appeal to any government entity, and by using the State of Minnesota’s contract as a template, these governments could sign similar agreements with Xcel Energy in the future – ensuring that more of their energy comes from renewable sources, and further increasing the impact of the program.
The Renewable*Connect Government Program is part of a larger effort to make state government more sustainable. In 2011, Governor Mark Dayton directed state agencies to reduce their carbon footprint in Executive Order 11-13. In addition, the Department of Administration has created the Office of Enterprise Sustainability to reduce state government’s carbon footprint and launched the Green Fleet Initiative to improve the fuel efficiency of state-owned vehicles.
Filed Under: Policy