Energy issues

Energy efficiency and less-polluting technologies for generating electricity further the mission of pollution prevention.

Annual chemical-release data collected from Minnesota industry show that significant pollution results from the production and use of energy, including release of nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen fluoride, barium, chromium, and mercury. The MPCA partners with industry, universities, non-profits, and other units of government to decrease pollution resulting from our production and use of energy through two primary approaches: energy efficiency and P2 energy generation technologies.

The agency coordinates with the Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Office, which is responsible for state energy information, planning and policy. Working together, we leverage resources to help achieve the energy reliability, economic viability, and environmental benefits needed for the state.

Buy green power

I buy Green Power"Green power" is electricity generated from renewable, high-efficiency, or low-pollution energy sources such as wind or solar. Your purchase of green power will replace electricity that would otherwise come primarily from burning coal—one of the dirtiest fuels for producing electricity. Less than 1% of the energy we consume in Minnesota currently comes from wind, but your purchase of green power can help change that.

Yes, it costs a little more, but that extra money goes to build new renewable capacity in Minnesota, such as wind turbines. Consumers can sign up with their utility to buy small amounts of green power for as little as an additional $1.50 a month. For the average home, a month of 100% green power would cost about $6 to $14 more than traditional energy sources.

Global WarmingGlobal climate change

The planet is experiencing a warming trend faster than any other that has occurred within the last 420,000 years. Most scientists working to understand this change have concluded that it is being caused, in part or largely, by human activities.

Use compact fluorescents

Using fluorescents instead of incandescent bulbs makes good sense. They use less electricity, and you save money on electric bills. However, because they contain mercury, fluorescents must be handled carefully to avoid breakage, and recycled—it's against the law to throw them away with the trash. When they are used and disposed of properly, these devices will help you reduce your energy use and pollution associated with generating electricity.

Green buildings

Green BuildingEnergy efficiency is an important component of green building, because Minnesota’s commercial and residential buildings consume 68% of the natural gas and 47% of the electricity used in the state. The payback on energy efficiency for a typical new "green" office building, designed to be about 30 percent more efficient than required by Minnesota's energy code, ranges from 0-3 years. For a 200,000 sq. ft. building, after the short payback period, an energy-efficient design realizes annual savings of $50,000-100,000. It also prevents roughly 1,000 tons of air pollution each year, if the energy otherwise would come from current fossil fuel plants.

Pollution PreventionPollution prevention

In doing business and producing products, Minnesota industry consumes about 30% of the natural gas and 53% of the electricity used in the state. Decreasing a facility’s need for energy, raw materials, toxic chemicals, and water helps make voluntary investment in pollution prevention technologies cost effective.

Alternative fuels in Minnesota: Ethanol, biodiesel, and biomass

Minnesota is part of the national movement to create combustion fuels from sources besides petroleum, natural gas or coal. The state of Minnesota has made it a priority to have a leading role in the development of the biofuels industry, including key legislation and ongoing workgroups. The MPCA is particularly involved in the regulation and permitting of biofuels facilities in the state.