Minnesota-based utility company Xcel Energy is partnering with the state of Minnesota in an effort to ensure 33% of the State Capitol Complex’s energy comes from renewables.
The initiative, part of Xcel’s new Renewable*Connect Government Pilot Program, was announced Wednesday by Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and the Minnesota Department of Administration. The program is an add-on to Renewable*Connect, a renewable energy certificate (REC) program proposed by Xcel Energy in 2015.
Pending approval by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Renewable*Connect program will enable Xcel customers to sign up to receive some or all of their energy from renewables projects. Xcel will retire the RECs on behalf of program participants.
Portions of the Odell Wind Farm in southern Minnesota and the North Star Solar Project in Chisago County have committed to take part in the program.
Likewise, if approved by the PUC, the government-focused portion of the program will provide a stable supply of solar and wind energy on a long-term basis for government customers, as well as serve as a template for other government entities to purchase RECs, says Xcel.
The energy company says the program builds on the past leadership of the Minnesota government to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Specifically, since 2008, energy consumption at the State Capitol Complex has decreased by 25%, according to Xcel.
“Transitioning Minnesota to renewable energy is good for our health, environment and economy. Our clean energy industry already supports 54,000 jobs and is expected to add 2,300 this year alone,” said Smith. “Gov. Dayton and I are committed to ensuring 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.”