Minnesota renewable electricity standards have some downs and more ups

Thursday, November 10, 2011 @ 08:11 AM
posted by rene5432

Many states around the country have imposed renewable portfolio standards, requiring utility companies to purchase a certain portion of their energy from renewable sources. Midwest Energy News reports that first indications suggest that one of these laws in Minnesota has had mixed results on electricity prices, but some might be surprised at the positive impact of the rule.

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency report that Minnesota has set a standard of 25 percent renewable electricity by 2025 for most of its utilities, and 30 percent by 2020 for Xcel Energy. More recently the state's legislature called for utility companies to report how much it cost to comply with this law, as opponents hoped to illustrate excessive costs.

These opponents were largely disappointed when the first report was recently released. Minnkota Power Cooperative reported a roughly 16 percent rise in wholesale electricity prices because of the law, but eight of the 14 utilities actually reported no change or positive changes in electricity rates.

Xcel Energy, the state's largest utility company and the one with the strictest requirements, actually reported electricity prices were 0.7 percent lower because of its investments in wind power.

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