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Study: More generation, transmission needed to meet Minnesota's future energy needs

October 21, 2009

Study: More generation, transmission needed to meet Minnesota's future energy needs

For Immediate Release: October 21, 2009

Study: More generation, transmission needed to meet Minnesota's future energy needs

St. Paul - The Minnesota Department of Commerce's Office of Energy Security today released a study assessing the state's electricity resource needs through 2025.  The statutorily required Minnesota Resource Assessment Study found the state will need up to 4,100 MW of additional baseload power and 4,000 MW of renewable energy to meet expected demand in the next fifteen years.

The study is meant to be a forecasting tool for policy makers to help them answer questions and determine priorities regarding future generation additions.  The findings are based on models of the electric generation and transmission systems of the upper Midwest. 

"We hope this study will provide needed data for policymakers as they discuss how best to ensure Minnesota has safe, reliable and cost-effective energy to meet the needs of homes and businesses throughout the state," said Bill Glahn, director of the Office of Energy Security and Acting Reliability Administrator.  "This study does not provide specific recommendations and excludes any pending issue before the Legislature or the Public Utilities Commission.  It is a long-term forecast of what Minnesota is likely going to need for generation resources in the coming years."

Among the findings of the report:

  • Energy demand is likely to continue growing in the future.

  • Additional transmission is a critical need, especially to maintain reliability.

  • Coal will continue to be a main fuel source for generation used in Minnesota under any foreseeable future.

  • While new technologies will have an important impact, they are not likely to be the 'silver bullet' that solves all of our energy issues.

The study was required by the state's Next Generation Energy Act of 2007.  Among the elements required to be studied were:

  • Assessment of Minnesota's electricity resource needs through 2025 with a focus on baseload resources.

  • Additional generation and transmission resources needed to meet the state's renewable energy standard.

  • Projected Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) energy savings.

The study is available at the Office of Energy Security website.