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.

Comments (30)
  1. Cold Truth says:

    Yes it will happen. And I’ll be riding a unicorn to my job at the rainbow factory.

  2. acdcguy says:

    I’m sorry, I normally leave the name calling for left because that’s what they are good at but in this case, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research are just a bunch of tools !!!

  3. Tom says:

    The first question that Conservatives will ask will be will this someone rich, and if the answer is no, they will be againest it!

    1. Rube says:

      You mean someone other than a college professor or “intlectual” or scientist or politician living off the generous government grants to research a theory based on fabrication and lies?

      1. Rory says:

        God forbid a scientist get rich, as apposed to the know-nothing middle men in the oil industry that get rich by artificially raising gas to $4, and STILL get people like you to come to their defense…

        1. me says:

          Yeah, because as Solyndra showed us, solar power is sustainable as a business and profitable…only when propped up with tax payer money.

  4. KEVIN says:


    1. Tom says:

      @ Kevin

      Who did you vote for in 2004 when gas prices were high?

      1. Pfhiiiid says:

        Gas prices didn’t get much above $2.20/gallon in 2004…those were not exactly “high” prices, you know…….

    2. desert eagle .50 says:

      We have Jackactionqu**ro for all the hot air we need, albeit with a distinct lack of specificity. He’s not entirely useless however; he can always serve as a bad example and he does so admirably well.

  5. Spanky says:

    Keep drinking that koolaid!

  6. Robert says:

    I imagine most states in the union have the resources to use solar and wind, but they leave out whether or not it is cost effective. There is no energy shortage anywhere, there is a brain shortage.

    1. Rory says:

      A sustainable energy economy is MUCH more cost effective than one based on fossil fuels.

      The oil industry has brainwashed us into discounting the costs of the supply chain, including the end-cycle. Like it or not, dumping these chemicals into the atmosphere has real costs. Even if you’re a flat-Earther who still denies climate science, there are undeniable increases in healthcare costs, construction costs, etc. from the way fossil fuels make our atmosphere more corrosive.

      And when was the last time a solar-cell factory wiped out an entire local economy, as oil has done in the gulf. No one wants to include those trillions of dollars into the real cost of fossil fuels.

  7. redneck purist says:

    And Granola and Hemp. Peace!

  8. Noel Petit says:

    truth is there is no way to economically store the energy during the windy/sunny times for a night with no wind. See this month’s Scientific American for an nice analysis of energy storage.

    1. Rory says:

      Google the california molten sodium solar plant. It’s still experimental, but it’s extremely scalable.

    2. Ordinary Guy says:

      Not a practical example here, but the status quo is not always right. Some places they pump water uphill on off-peak and sell it flowing back down during peak demand. That means that other solutions are possible, though not in use.

  9. mark says:

    The discussion of renewable energy is a bit premature. We have yet to implement the massive overhaul of our electrical grids necessary to handle the task of managing the many challenges of wind and solar. Not to mention managing the risk to national security given how vulnerable our outdated grid is to cyber warfare. We need a smart grid and we need it 15 years ago. Once we have a capable 21st century grid renewable energy will be feasible, profitable and the clear choice.

  10. j speedbag64 says:

    this will never happen…….xcel energy and the rest of the electric companies wont be able to rip everybody off……the gop will kill it

  11. sumpty says:

    Yep and the people controlling the generators control the price which would line up nice and even with the cost of oil I am sure.

  12. KEVIN says:


  13. KEVIN says:

    Who did you vote for in 2008 when gas prices wre $1.89 a gallon?

  14. Uncle Rico says:

    Where the F is the study? This is tuesday, did they mean tuesday of next week? Next year? POS news site.

  15. jake says:

    And remember folks, TURTLES fart. Thats what powers my car….turtle farts.

  16. Bill Clintons Cigar says:

    Govt studies show that it takes more energy to produce a windmill, than it will ever return. And also stated that solar is a waste of time and money due to electrical storage issues. Just bs. Just another way Obama can act like he cares about energy while he hikes gas prices through the roof to force Americans to give up fosil fuel.

    1. Ray says:

      Don’t know where you dreamed up a stupid thing like that..The costs are less than gas or coal.. 35% of all new power generation built in the US has come from wind, more than new gas and coal plants combined, if it was a loss, do you think all these investors are standing in line to lose money.. A large commercial windmill is 2 megawatts.. 3million dollars.. windmill makes around 5000 Megawatt hours a year. We pay $100per MWh.. Power company gross is half a Million $ a year..

  17. j speedbag64 says:

    voting in 2008 was like throwing your vote in the trash can……either party

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