Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission approved a pilot program that will offer Minnesotans a flexible way to tap into wind and solar power, Xcel Energy has announced.
Dubbed Renewable*Connect, Xcel’s new program will allow customers to subscribe to wind and/or solar made in Minnesota. They will choose how much energy they wish to subscribe to and for how long.
The Minneapolis-based utility notes that there are no upfront costs, and the prices will be known at the start to give customers more certainty. The program will be officially launched later this year.
“Xcel Energy is committed to delivering the new energy solutions that our customers want, and I am proud that we can now offer this renewable program,” says Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota. “Renewable*Connect will provide an easy and affordable option for Minnesotans to tap into renewable energy to achieve their sustainability goals and reduce their carbon footprint.”
Xcel says businesses and other large customers have expressed considerable interest in the program, which provides a way to verify they are using renewables to power their operations via renewable energy credits (RECs). In addition, Xcel says it will retire these RECs on the customers’ behalf. (The RECs will be verified by green-e.org.)
“The University of Minnesota has a short-term goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 50 percent by 2020,” notes Jerome Malmquist, director of energy management at the University of Minnesota. “Xcel Energy’s pilot Renewable*Connect program gives the university another tool to help meet that ambitious goal.”
In addition, as part of the Renewable*Connect government program, a portion of the newly renovated state capitol building will be powered by energy generated from Minnesota’s North Star Solar project and Odell wind farm.