A Minnesota farm is helping people power their homes and businesses with solar energy without having to put panels on their roof. Eichten’s Cheese Farm in Chisago County is about to become one of Minnesota’s biggest community solar gardens.
Minnesota is looking to grow its share of electricity fueled by the sun and is counting on community solar gardens to help make it happen. A new state law demands that utilities get 1.5 percent of their power from solar sources by 2020. Under that law, Xcel Energy Co. has until Monday to tell how the giant electricity provider would like to manage the rollout.
Buzzing cicadas signal yet another hot August day. But it’s the scorched lawn and grinding of an air conditioner that are Brett Severson’s clue. “My A/C is running all the time — I’d guess my bill is about $400 a month,” Severson said.
For generations of farmers, having a wind mill was a dependable way to pump water for their livestock. Now it’s rare to drive Minnesota’s rural roads and see the old steel structures still turning in the breeze. But there’s a good chance what you will see instead is a taller structure spinning with three blades.
Minnesota regulators have told Great River Energy to rethink its dependence on burning coal to generate electricity. The unusual decision by the Public Utilities Commission has no immediate impact on the power supplier.
It has been four days since a pair of powerful thunderstorms moved through the Twin Cities, and thousands of residents still don’t have power. At its peak, Friday’s storms knocked out power to 610,000 homes and businesses.
Work continues to restore power to thousands still in the dark after Friday’s powerful storms. Xcel Energy said this has been the worst power outage the state has ever seen. After a peak of 610,000 customers without power after Friday night’s storms, that number is now down to 28,574, as of 9 p.m. Xcel said that most of the power outages are now contained to Minneapolis and the western suburbs.
Tuesday had numerous Minnesotans cutting up tree branches that broke from the weight of the snow. Those damaged trees took out power lines that temporarily left 24,000 in the dark.
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Power company officials say Murray County area residents should have energy restored Sunday, but it’s still unclear when Nobles County will be restored.
Minneapolis is turning out the lights in city buildings for an initiative called “Earth Hour” to raise awareness of climate change.
Some Minnesota cities will turn off the lights Saturday for “Earth Hour.” The City of Minneapolis will turn off all non-essential electricity in major municipal buildings from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The state says Xcel Energy is charging Minnesota families too much for electricity.
It takes a lot of poles, plants and power lines to satisfy Minnesota’s demand for electricity. Xcel Energy has been meeting that challenge for decades.
With extreme low temperatures on Sunday and Monday, the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association is asking members to voluntarily conserve energy from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on both days.