The current population of the “North Star State”, Minnesota is estimated to be 5.68 million people. In November 2018, state utilities used coal (44.2%), nuclear power (22.9%), renewable energy (24.0%) and natural gas (8.8%) to generate electricity. Currently, wind is the primary source of renewable energy in Minnesota.
Minnesota’s reliance on coal contributes to state’s above average electricity costs. In November 2018, the average cost of electricity in Minnesota was U.S. 13.1 ¢ per kWh, which is the 18th most expensive price in the United States. The average price of electricity in the United States is 12 ¢ per kWh. Concerns over climate change and the ever-increasing cost of coal are prompting state leaders to accelerate the move to renewable energy.
Juhl Energy is nearing completion of a hybrid wind-solar project in western Minnesota. The hybrid project will consist of a 2 MW wind turbine and a 500-kW solar installation that will share an inverter and grid connection, reducing equipment costs. Juhl Energy is headquartered in Pipestone, Minnesota and develops, owns and operates renewable energy projects.
Juhl Energy’s hybrid wind-solar project will be completed and commence operations by March 31, 2019. The hybrid project will sell its power to the Lake Region Electric Cooperative, which has approximately 27,000 members. The simplicity and cost effectiveness of hybrid wind-solar projects is particularly appealing to electric cooperatives, municipally owned power providers and industrial companies.
New technology and innovation are continuing to drive down the cost of renewable energy. Studies have shown that hybrid wind-solar projects can reduce operating costs up to 14% compared to dedicated wind farms and solar parks by sharing power lines, equipment and personnel. Hybrid wind+solar, wind, solar and hydropower projects now generate electricity cheaper than any form of fossil fuel, even natural gas. Renewable energy is reliable, sustainable, cost effective and good for our environment. Do we really need to debate global warming and climate change any further?
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