Beginning May 16, the State Capitol Complex will be powered by clean, renewable energy. In a pilot program between the State and Xcel Energy, 33 percent of the base energy used at the State Capitol Complex will come from renewable sources.
“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. “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.”
The agreement between the State and Xcel Energy, originally announced last fall by Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, 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 State of Minnesota is committed to reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions with locally produced, clean, renewable energy in its facilities,” said Commissioner of Administration Matt Massman. “This is just one of the many ways that large employers like state government can be financially and environmentally responsible at the same time.”
The Odell Wind Farm in southern Minnesota and the North Star Solar Project in Chisago County 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 opens 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.
Renewable*Connect Government is part of a larger effort to make state government more sustainable and cost effective. In 2011, Governor Mark Dayton directed state agencies to reduce their carbon footprint in Executive Order 11-13. In addition, the Department of Administration has created the Office of Enterprise Sustainability to reduce state government’s carbon footprint and launched the Green Fleet Initiative to improve the fuel efficiency of state-owned vehicles.
This information provided by the Office of Governor Dayton.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.