Study: MN Could Be Powered By Just Wind & Sun

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Imagine a day when Minnesota is powered completely by solar and wind energy. At least one group thinks it could happen.

On Tuesday, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research released a new study called “Renewable Minnesota.”

The group says our state has more than enough wind and solar resources to provide all the electricity we need, if those resources are combined with ramped-up energy storage and grid improvements.

“This study is a first step,” said the study, which was written by Arjun Makhijani, Christina Mills, and M.V. Ramana. “The notion that solar and wind energy cannot be the mainstay of an electricity generation system because they are intermittent is incorrect.”

Within the study’s 112 pages, the group also claims to show how investment in clean energies would promote widespread job creation.

The study stressed four key findings:

  • “A renewable energy-based electricity sector is technically feasible,”
  • “There are ample renewable resources in Minnesota,”
  • “An efficient, renewable electricity system can be achieved at an overall cost comparable to the present total cost,” and
  • “Energy efficiency lowers the effective cost of electricity services and electricity bills.”

As of 2007, according to the study, nearly 60 percent of the state of Minnesota was being powered by coal, with another 24 percent coming from nuclear and 7 percent from natural gas. Hydrological power and power from other renewable sources accounted for 9 percent.

“In order to have a 100 percent renewable energy-based electricity system, there have to be sufficient renewable energy resources to draw from,” the study reads. “Minnesota possesses abundant wind and solar resources, produces ample biomass, and has access to hydropower purchases from Canada.”

Among the strategies the study outlined was a “compressed air energy storage,” which would function much like pumped hydro energy storage.


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