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Scoping report recommends an 18-month energy future study

“The Scoping an Energy Future Study for Minnesota,” completed this month by the Rocky Mountain Institute for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, recommends an 18-month energy future study for Minnesota that would evaluate how the state can achieve a sustainable and cost-effective energy system that does not rely on burning fossil fuels.

“In a world where the energy landscape is constantly changing and energy investments span multiple decades, the value of an energy future study (EFS) is high,” the report states. “Without an EFS, the state will be choosing a default energy strategy based on year-to-year choices that do not necessarily build upon one another or add up to a coherent vision, and exposes the state and its citizens to missed opportunities and large risks. With an EFS, the state establishes the analytic foundation for creating a deliberate energy strategy that aligns stakeholders in pursuit of a common goal.”

The report says an EFS will accelerate a shared understanding around the following key questions:

  • How much of Minnesota’s future energy needs could be met with clean energy, including efficiency and renewables? In what time frame?
  • Could this be achieved affordably, without unfairly penalizing certain customer classes? How would it affect existing energy service providers?
  • What are potential risks or benefits to energy reliability and resilience?
  • What could be gained in terms of environmental and human health impacts?
  • How might various pathways across multiple sectors like buildings, transportation, agriculture, industry, and electricity create competitive advantage and drive in-state economic development for Minnesota?

According to the report, “Minnesota has already taken action, including a 25% by 2025 renewable energy requirement, a 1.5% per year energy efficiency requirement, climate action planning to meet an 80% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2050, and numerous mass and alternative transit programs. The EFS can build on this body of work and serve to tie these threads together into a holistic, cohesive strategy.”

The report will be presented Feb. 12 to the Legislative Energy Commission. Read the full report (pdf).