The Union of Concerned Scientists has an informative presentation and quiz on the source of electricity in the East and Southeast of the U.S. Take the quiz – see how you do. Without giving away the answer, you’ll see a figure that fits with a previous post about why energy efficiency is not enough. Change is essential.
So where does Minnesota energy come from? Here’s a graphic from the MN Pollution Control Agency breaking down Minnesota energy sources. “Over half of the electricity generated in Minnesota comes from coal-fired electric power plants. Minnesota receives most of its coal supply by rail from Montana and Wyoming. Two nuclear plants near the Twin Cities typically account for nearly one-fourth of the state’s electricity production.”
So how much of our electricity can we replace with renewable energy here in Minnesota? Well, the Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) law requires that 25% of retail electricity sold in the state come from renewable sources by 2025 and we’re not close to that yet.
- Wind: Minnesota ranks ninth in the country for wind energy potential (here’s a nifty map showing where Minnesota has wind energy potential). North Dakota is first and South Dakota is fourth), much of which is located along the Buffalo Ridge in southern and southwest Minnesota.
- Solar: We’re not in as good a shape as Arizona, but we aren’t all that bad, either. Check out this map on Solar Works for Minnesota showing solar power potential in MN. We have greater solar potential than Germany, which is leading the way in solar.
- Biomass: We don’t hear about this very much, and its not something most average people can access, but check out what the Union of Concerned Scientists has to say about biomass. We DO have biomass resources in Minnesota.
A few resources to bookmark when you want to learn more about energy, energy policy, and renewable energy resources:
- Fresh Energy: A Minnesota nonprofit “leading the transition to a clean, efficient and fair energy system.”
- Midwest Energy News: All your energy NEWS in one place!
- U of M Extension Services: Renewable Energy