Urge Your Electric Utility to Move to 100% Clean Energy
Minnesota Power is an investor-owned utility that provides electricity for 145,000 residential and commercial customers across Northern Minnesota. Although Minnesota Power’s renewable energy source profile has grown somewhat over the years, declining from 95% supplied by coal in 2005 to around 30% supplied from renewable sources today, and a goal of 50% renewable sources by 2021, the utility has not shared any plans to transition to 100% clean energy. Xcel, another large investor-owned utility in the state, has committed to 100% renewable energy by 2050. With electricity production accounting for 37% of Duluth’s greenhouse gas emissions, urging Minnesota Power to commit to 100% renewable energy is the fastest way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
Minnesota Power operates two coal-fired generators, neither of which are being considered for retirement until 2035 or 2036. In addition, Minnesota Power is proposing to build a $700 million natural gas plant in Superior, Wisconsin, known as the Nemadji Trail Energy Center. This plant, once completed, will emit over one million tons of carbon per year.
The main reason for a continued reliance on non-renewable sources is because of its unique customer base of rural, heavy industrial facilities which make it more difficult for the utility to rely on more intermittent production of energy from renewable sources like wind and solar. Most of Minnesota Power’s electricity is sold to large industrial operations like mines, taconite facilities, and paper mills. But a continued reliance on non-renewable energy, is dangerous for the environment and only contributes to climate change. In fact, a reliance on fossil fuels for energy production has contributed significantly to climate change, and according to the U.S. EPA still accounts for more than 84% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
In order for Minnesota Power to respond to the climate crisis, we must urge the utility company to make a commitment to 100% clean, renewable energy starting by retiring their coal plants and stopping investments in new energy production facilities fueled by fossil fuels like the proposed natural gas plant in Superior. Take action by urging Minnesota Power leaders to follow the lead of other utilities in the area, like Xcel, which has committed to 100% renewable energy by 2050, and also commit to 100% renewable energy sources.
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