More than 1500 comments submitted to push an investment in renewable energy
DULUTH, MN– Today marked the close of comments on Minnesota Power’s proposed 15-year plan to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) outlining the Northlands’ energy future. Over 1500 Minnesotans submitted comments saying Minnesota Power was missing opportunities to protect our air, water, and invest in long term energy solution and asking them to require more wind, solar, and energy efficiency from Minnesota Power over the next 15 years.
Lucinda West, a freshman at University of Minnesota Duluth and task force leader of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group Duluth chapter, spent time this winter talking to her fellow students about the 15 year plan, “Everyone was shocked when they heard that Minnesota Power wasn’t planning on adding any more wind power in the next 15 years. It is obvious to us that we need more clean energy and less fossil fuels to protect our future. The 15 year plan even says that the wind investments they have made were a good investment for their customers, Minnesota Power seems out of touch to not add more of this affordable energy for their customers.”
Minnesota Power announced plans to stop burning coal at one of their dirtiest plants,Taconite Harbor that sits on the shore of Lake Superior. Yet, even with that announcement, Minnesota Power still burns coal for 65% of the electricity they produce. It’s progress, but more should be done. In comparison, the Minnesota Department of Commerce released new data this week showing that statewide coal was 44% of the energy mix in 2015.
“All around the country we see great examples of utilities answering the call to shifting their energy production to renewable energy but not with Minnesota Power,” said James Hietala, a MN Power customer. “We need to see commitments that make a positive impact on our air and water quality to ensure that future generations can enjoy the northern Minnesota that we enjoy.”
For years, clean energy supporters in the Northland have been pressuring Minnesota Power to announce transition plans for their dirtiest coal plants. Minnesota Power is posing a threat to our water and air by continuing to burn coal. Clean energy solutions (like wind, solar, and energy efficiency) exist and are saving customers money. Minnesota Power should ramp up wind and solar energy.
The PUC will now look over all of the comments submitted but citizens, industry, and advocacy groups and determine if MN Power can continue with their current plan or if they should make some changes.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.