Three men installing solar panels

100% Clean Energy

At the beginning of his term, Governor Tim Walz announced a package of energy policies to lead Minnesota to 100% clean energy in the state's electricity sector by 2040. The policies build on the past success of the Next Generation Energy Act while ensuring reliable, affordable electricity to Minnesota residents and businesses.

Not only is clean energy the right and responsible choice for future generations, clean energy maximizes job creation and grows our economy, which is especially important as we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Governor Walz

The plan includes four parts. Each piece has overlapping themes and protections for Minnesota families and businesses.

The Plan Includes:

  1. A Goal of 100% Clean Energy By 2040

    This requires all Minnesota electric utilities to use only carbon-free energy by 2040. The proposal includes provisions to ensure communities who formerly relied on fossil fuel generating plants reap the benefits of the clean energy transformation, while also prioritizing local jobs and family sustaining wages.

    Three of Minnesota’s largest utilities—Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, and Great River Energy—have already committed to 100% clean energy by mid-century or sooner. The governor’s goal is still important to ensure affordability, and community transition goals are included in electric utility planning. Minnesota companies including 3M and Target have also pledged to receive 100% of their energy from clean energy sources.

  2. Clean Energy First

    This regulatory policy requires utilities investing in new electricity generation to prioritize energy efficiency and clean energy every time it’s reliable and affordable. It is the common sense approach to transitioning our energy systems. It will also help workers and communities transition into the clean energy revolution that is already underway. Between now and 2040, over half of our current electricity generation, comprising 95% of Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions, will likely be outdated and not cost competitive.

    This policy may also be introduced as a stand-alone piece of legislation. Learn more about the specifics of the this policy.

  3. Energy efficiency

    This component builds on the past success of Minnesota’s existing energy efficiency program by supporting a greater range of technologies and fuel choices. It encourages utilities to create programs that help businesses and consumers switch to more efficient, cleaner energy. This proposal will allow more low-income Minnesotans to benefit from energy efficiency programs that lower heating and electrical bills.

    This policy is a stand-alone proposal known as the Energy Conservation & Optimization Act (ECO). ECO passed during the 2021 legislative session.

  4. Carbon Reduction Goals for Existing Buildings

    This proposal would set a state goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings in half by 2035.

Legislation was introduced for each of these pathways for the 2021 session. The ECO Act, centered on energy optimization, was the only legislation to pass. The other bills were passed in the House but rejected by the Senate. Conservation Minnesota will continue to work to move these important policies forward.

Why Do We Need clean energy?

Electricity generation is the second-largest source of climate change-causing pollution in Minnesota, producing the equivalent of roughly 40 million tons of carbon dioxide or 25% of statewide emissions as of 2018. While Minnesota has reduced climate change-causing emissions, we are falling behind reduction goals established under the bipartisan Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. Climate change is having a significant impact on Minnesota and will lead to higher temperatures, more extreme weather events, increased agricultural damage, accelerated habitat destruction, and more.