Environmental Initiatives

Minnesota’s investor-owned utilities don’t just talk about protecting our environment, they are doing it.

Minnesota’s investor-owned utilities are significant contributors to the state’s environmental and energy leadership position. They make millions of dollars in investments and innovations in clean energy technologies, added efficiencies and more.

Minnesota has among the most stringent environmental standards in the nation, and the Minnesota investor-owned utilities meet those expectations and often exceed them.

State Renewable Energy Standard (RES)
Xcel Renewable Energy Standard
Solar Standard
25% by 2025
30% by 2020
1.5% by 2020


Renewable Energy Leadership

The Minnesota investor-owned utilities are making significant strides in reducing fossil fuel and transitioning to wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.

Wind Energy

  • Nearly 18 percent of Minnesota’s electricity in 2016 was from wind energy generated in the state.
  • The state generates 3,509 megawatts (MW) of wind energy and ranks sixth in the nation for wind energy as a share of total in-state electricity generation.
  • More than 900 MW of new wind is in development in Minnesota over the next few years.

Source: MN Dept. of Commerce & American Wind Energy Association.

More About Wind Energy

Solar Energy

Minnesota was the 12th largest state solar market in 2016, and the only Midwestern state in the top 20 by either market size or installed capacity.   Community Solar subscriptions are now available throughout Minnesota.


Minnesota's investor-owned utilities are introducing new programs and innovations:

  • Xcel Energy established its Solar Rewards program to offer customers incentives to install solar panels for their homes and business.  They have a target of 650 MW of solar generation by 2020; and an additional 750 MW by 2030.
  • Since 2004, Minnesota Power’s SolarSense rebate program has spurred numerous commercial and residential solar projects. New options for residential, community and utility scale solar projects are being explored.  They have solicited proposals for 300 MW of solar.
  • In Otter Tail Power's 15-year resource plan, they will pursue 30 MW of solar by 2020.

More About Solar Energy


Aggressive renewable and carbon-free energy utility initiatives 

  • Minnesota Power met Minnesota's Renewable Energy Standard a decade early.  By 2015, 26 percent of their retail and wholesale electric sales were from renewable resources. They are moving forward with the Energy Forward initiative of 30% Renewable; 30% Natural Gas & 30 Coal generation.  They are also investing in the Great Northern Transmission Line to carry hydropower from Manitoba Hydro to their customers.
  • Xcel Energy gets about half of its electricity from carbon-free sources; 22 percent of it is from wind with plans to increase by 42 percent.  They have rolled out Renewable*Connect which allows customers to subscribe to low-cost wind and solar energy without the need to install and maintain equipment. Customers will have the flexibility to choose how much of their energy usage they wish to subscribe and how long a commitment they wish to make. There are no up-front costs, and prices are known at the start, giving customers more price certainty.
  • Otter Tail Power has PUC approval for another 200 MW of wind energy in the next ten years or so, and an additional 200 MW by 2023.