On the energy menu: More sun, wind, water

Minnesota State Roundup

Published May 1, 2007  | May 2007 issue

This past legislative session in Minnesota produced the nation's most ambitious renewable energy bill when it set a deadline of 2025 for utilities to produce one-quarter of their energy from renewable sources.

The new law—dubbed 25/25—dramatically increases the current 5 percent state mandate for renewables. More than half of the state's power comes from coal-burning plants. Though a few other coastal states have higher numerical goals, they also have a higher starting point because of more widespread hydroelectric plants.

The new mandate has a stair-step timeline—for example, reaching 12 percent of power from renewable sources by 2012. The mandate for Xcel Energy, which provides about half of the state's power, is higher, requiring 18 percent renewables by 2012 and 30 percent by 2020.

The law has numerous quirks, including the provision of a credit trading system that would allow producers not meeting the standard to pay producers that are above the limit. It also has caveats for delaying or suspending timelines for matters of public interest, like high consumer costs.

Ronald A. Wirtz