Urge Your Electric Utility to Move to 100% Clean Energy by 2035
Minnesota Power is an investor-owned utility that provides electricity for 145,000 residential and commercial customers across Northern Minnesota, including the City of Duluth and Duluth residents. Although Minnesota Power’s renewable energy source profile has grown somewhat over the years, declining from 95% supplied by coal in 2005 to around 50% supplied from renewable sources today, the utility has not committed to any plans to transition to 100% clean energy. Xcel Energy, another large investor-owned utility in Minnesota, 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 community’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Right now, Minnesota Power operates two coal-fired generators, and the utility plans to be coal-free by 2035. Minnesota Power is also proposing to build a $700 million natural gas plant in Superior, Wisconsin, known as the Nemadji Trail Energy Center (NTEC). Natural gas—from extraction to burning for energy—releases methane into the atmosphere. Methane is 30 to 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide. When both carbon and methane emissions are considered, the latest science shows that the build-out of gas infrastructure will prevent us from reducing greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. NTEC would emit 2.2 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent each year, including “upstream” emissions from extracting and transporting fossil gas and “downstream” emissions from burning gas at the plant.
Most of Minnesota Power’s electricity is used by large industrial operations like mines, taconite facilities, and paper mills. But a continued reliance on non-renewable energy is dangerous for the community’s health and 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 powered by fossil fuels like the proposed natural gas plant in Superior. Take action by urging Minnesota Power leadership to drop plans for any new fossil fuel infrastructure and commit to 100% clean energy, like Xcel Energy, which has committed to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
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