A Tale of Two States: Minnesota and Wisconsin Clean Energy Policies and Progress

The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) released a report, A Tale of Two States: Minnesota’s Clean Energy Policies Outpace Wisconsin’s, that compares the clean energy policies and performance of the two states.  Minnesota’ s electrical generation is 25% renewables compared with Wisconsin at 9 percent and is comprised of five times the wind capacity and over 16 times the solar capacity.

Most striking is the difference in community solar gardens spurred by Minnesota’s 2013 policy. Minnesota has 585 MW installed and another 400 MW of solar gardens in the queue, while Wisconsin has 6.2 MW installed with 10.7 MW planned.

A notable Minnesota policy determines a price for solar that accounts for the environmental and economic benefits of solar. Called Value of Solar Tariff, it has been used to compensate community solar garden subscribers since 2017 based on the value of solar to the utility, its ratepayers and to society, rather than using traditional net metering retail or wholesale rates. Minnesotans have received 11 – 13 cents per kWh (compared with ~4 cents in Wisconsin), but the value of solar rate may more than double to about 25 cents per kWh for solar projects coming online in 2020.The rates are revised annually. APnews

The ELPC report points out that Minnesota’s clean energy job creation has been in manufacturing and development in-state as compared to Wisconsin’s that has been largely out-of-state. For more information about Minnesota’s clean energy job growth, see Economy below. The report concludes that Minnesota’s strong clean energy policies, which Wisconsin leadership could use as a model, have resulted in significantly greater clean energy capacity and solid economic development.