Electric cooperatives (“co-ops”) serve about one-third of Minnesota customers. While many coal-fired power plants located within the state have been retired or are slated to retire, Minnesota co-ops are tied to memberships with larger co-op entities that own coal plants elsewhere and that they intend to continue operating far into the future.
Many of these coal plants run for extended periods when cheaper resources are available and have long-term fuel contracts for coal supply. Meanwhile, existing power supply contracts restrict local Minnesota co-ops' ability to pursue alternative resources, such as renewable energy.
To allow full clean energy benefits to flow to Minnesota co-ops, policymakers and stakeholders must continue exploring solutions to help facilitate coal plant retirements and increased use of clean resources.
James Gignac. 2020. Minnesota Electric Cooperatives and Out-of-State Coal Plants: Minnesota's Electricity Sector is Transitioning but Electric Cooperatives Remain Tied to Coal-Fired Power Plants. Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists. https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/minnesota-electric-cooperatives