The Minnesota Department of Commerce has published the Energy Policy and Conservation Quadrennial Report 2020, along with the digital Minnesota Energy Data Dashboard, to provide an up-to-date and comprehensive assessment of the State of Minnesota’s progress toward clean energy goals.
“When Minnesota lawmakers and communities are considering new energy-related initiatives, Commerce’s Division of Energy Resources is providing data and staff expertise to inform decision-making,” said Commerce Commissioner Grace Arnold. “The critical role that energy plays in the Minnesota economy, environment, and social vitality is demonstrated on a daily basis. Commerce supports data-driven energy policymaking to keep Minnesota on the path for a reliable, affordable, and clean energy economy.”
The 2020 Quad Report, as it is informally called, documents major emerging trends and issues in Minnesota’s energy supply, consumption, conservation, and costs. The report is required to be produced under state law every four years. It is a compendium of input from other state agencies, organizations, and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The Minnesota Energy Data Dashboard is updated more frequently as new data and analyses are collected and published by the Commerce Division of Energy Resources.
Key trends from the report are summarized in the 2020 Quad Report Fact Sheets on the Minnesota Energy Data Dashboard.
Out of all energy consumed in Minnesota, more than 57% went unused as waste heat – primarily through heat vented off power plants and vehicle engines.
The energy burden (cost for electricity and heat) averages 8% for low-income households, with some Minnesotans facing an energy burden of 30% or more. The average Minnesota household has an energy burden of 2%. The Department supports energy equity through federal funding for the Energy Assistance Program and Weatherization Assistance Program and works to improve access to renewable energy and efficiency technologies for income-eligible households.
Under the Conservation Improvement Program, utility companies in 2019 invested $3.07 million to improve energy efficiency for income-eligible homes, with electrical energy savings of 3.77 gigawatt hours (1 gigawatt hour is enough to power 110 million LED lights, according to the U.S. Energy Department). To improve equity in energy resources so all Minnesota households spend less than 5% on energy bills each year, this investment is critical.
Buildings consume over 40% of energy in Minnesota. Five percent of energy is consumed by commercial and large multifamily buildings. Overall emissions and energy use from buildings are increasing.
For total energy use, Minnesota is at risk of missing the state goal of 25% of total energy use from renewable energy by 2025.
For greenhouse gas emissions reductions, Minnesota missed the 2015 milestone and is not on track to meet 2025 goals for reduction.
Emissions by industrial, residential, and commercial activity have all increased by 15% or more.
Renewable energy is becoming the primary source for electricity generated in Minnesota, increasing from 2005 to 2020 from 6% to 29%, while coal dropped from 62% to 25%.
Electric and natural gas utilities are meeting and exceeding their energy efficiency goals.
In 2017 and 2018, energy conservation programs saved Minnesota businesses and residents over $279 million in energy costs. An independent study found the Conservation Improvement Program generates $3.75 in benefits for every $1 invested.
Utilities plan to meet or exceed the state’s solar electricity goal for 10% of all electricity sales in Minnesota to be generated by solar energy by 2030.
State law requires electric generation and transmission utilities to identify options for renewable energy resources in their long-term plans to serve customer needs. Utilities are planning to transition to an energy mix that is 70% carbon free by 2034.