Beginning May 16, through a pilot program between Minnesota and Xcel Energy, 33 percent of the base energy used at the State Capitol Complex in St. Paul will come from renewable sources.
The agreement between the State and Xcel Energy, originally announced last September 9 by Lt. Governor Tina Smith (D), will provide a reliable supply of solar and wind energy on a long-term basis, and serve as a template for other government customers to purchase utility scale renewable energy packages.
The 200-MW Odell Wind Farm in southern Minnesota and the 100-MW North Star Solar Project in Chisago County in the eastern part of the state produce the green energy mix Xcel Energy will provide to the State Capitol Complex locally.
Local governments may be able to use the agreement with the State of Minnesota as a template, ensuring more of their energy comes from renewable sources, if the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approves future program expansions.
Renewable*Connect Government and its sister program, Renewable*Connect, are new programs from Xcel Energy that provide customers with renewable energy options; enrollment for all customers opened on April 24. Xcel Energy will retire Renewable Energy Credits on behalf of program participants; giving customers the certainty that their energy comes from renewable sources to help meet their sustainability goals.
The Renewable*Connect Government Pilot Program builds on the past leadership of state government to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Since 2008, energy consumption at the State Capitol Complex has been decreased by 25 percent.
Renewable*Connect Government is part of a larger effort to make state government more sustainable and cost effective. In 2011, Governor Mark Dayton (D) directed state agencies to reduce their carbon footprint in Executive Order 11-13.
“Renewable energy is good for our health, environment, and economy. Minnesota’s clean energy industry supports 15,000 jobs across the state,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith (D). “Our Administration is committed to ensuring that state government does its part to lead by example. I thank Xcel Energy for collaborating with us to bring renewable energy to the State Capitol complex, and supporting the development of a more resilient, sustainable energy future for Minnesota.”