Electricity Markets

Heartland Energy Says it is Well Positioned to Help Minn. Cities Comply With New Carbon-Free Law

Heartland Energy, which provides wholesale electric power to six cities in Minnesota, recently said that it is well positioned to meet new climate standards in Minnesota on behalf of the municipal utilities it serves in the state.

Officials with Heartland Energy say its diverse power supply portfolio, which includes the output from a 51-megawatt wind farm, will help Minnesota customers meet the carbon requirements.

Electric utilities in Minnesota are facing new climate standards under a law recently signed by Governor Tim Walz. By the year 2040, utilities must meet a goal of having 100% of their electricity come from carbon-free sources.

Opponents of the mandate said it will be costly for smaller, rural utilities that may be unable to meet the requirements.

In addition to the carbon-free deadline, the new law requires utilities to show 55% of their energy sales come from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, by the year 2035.

Utilities that rely on other sources for the majority of their power supply do have options to meet this goal. They can instead pay for renewable energy credits, or RECs, which are proof that electricity was generated by a renewable energy source and delivered to the electric grid.

Each time one megawatt-hour of electricity is generated from a qualifying resource, such as wind or solar, one REC is created. If you own the resource, you own the REC generated. Once a REC is created, it may be sold or claimed and retired. Retiring a REC allows a utility to officially validate the amount of renewable energy supplied to customers.

Heartland Energy’s qualifying resource is the Wessington Springs Wind Energy Center located in Jerauld County, South Dakota. Heartland Energy purchases the full output of the 34-turbine wind farm through a long-term purchase power agreement with NextEra Energy. 

Heartland Energy already retires the appropriate number of RECs supplied by the WSW Energy Center to meet Minnesota’s current renewable standard of 25% by the year 2025.

Heartland Energy Chief Operations Officer Nate Jones said the WSW Energy Center produces enough RECs to meet Minnesota’s new mandate as well.

“We are well-prepared to adequately supply our customers in Minnesota with renewable energy to meet the new standard of 100% by 2040 and beyond,” said Jones.

Based in Madison, SD, Heartland Energy also provides a suite of customer service programs including economic development, energy efficiency, cybersecurity and more.