Skip to content
Xcel Energy's Nobles Wind Farm

Minnesota’s Smarter Grid

Pathways Toward a Clean, Reliable and Affordable Transportation and Energy System

Minnesota could retire every coal plant in the state, never build another natural gas plant and still meet people’s energy demands through clean, renewable energy sources, according to a new report commissioned by the McKnight Foundation. The report details how Minnesota can significantly reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by replacing the energy that is currently used in buildings and the transportation sector with clean energy sources to achieve the state’s target for greenhouse gas emissions reductions: 80% by 2050. Minnesota is currently failing to meet its bipartisan carbon reduction goals.

The report, “Minnesota’s Smarter Grid: Pathways Toward a Clean, Reliable and Affordable Transportation and Energy System” shows that:

  • Electricity Costs Would Go Down. Electricity rates would decrease by approximately 30% and average households would save approximately $1,200 per year in energy costs.
  • Clean Energy Jobs Would Triple. Jobs in the clean energy sector would more than triple, creating an estimated 14,000 jobs in the wind industry and 36,000 jobs in the solar industry by 2050. In fact, jobs, incomes, and state level GDP would all increase under the clean energy scenario.
  • Cleaner Air and Healthier Communities. In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, the report shows a significant reduction in other pollutants harmful to human health. This means cleaner air and healthier communities.
  • Powering the transportation and heating sectors with clean energy provides significant pollution reduction. While the state’s electric generation has been getting cleaner, Minnesota has not been making progress in its transportation and heating sectors. The report shows scenarios to reliably power heating and transportation with clean electricity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from these sectors.

“This report shows that Minnesota can achieve our 2050 greenhouse gas reduction goals across the buildings, energy, and transportation sectors while providing reliable energy at affordable prices,” said Kate Wolford, President of the McKnight Foundation. “Continuing our state’s progress on clean energy will not only allow us to tackle climate change, but will significantly reduce air pollution, increase human health, and boost our economy by tripling the number of energy sector jobs by 2050.”