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Solar+Storage Beats Natural Gas Peaker Plants in Minnesota

Solar projects with battery storage are more cost-effective than building new natural gas plants to meet peak electricity demand, the University of Minnesota Energy Transition Lab told the state’s Public Utilities Commission last month, Associated Press reports.

New natural gas plants generating about 1,800 megawatts are planned for the state by 2028 to help meet peak demand,” AP notes, citing lab director Ellen Anderson. But “Anderson said the cost of building more solar arrays with batteries is more cost-effective than building a conventional plant because the technology is now cheaper, and there are federal tax credits which can be applied to facilities.

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“We’re right on that precipice where now it’s actually today viable to put some [solar energy systems] in the ground,” said Chris Clack with Vibrant Clean Energy.

The PUC called on the state to launch energy storage pilot projects. The Energy Transition Lab also noted that Minnesota could make more effective use of its wind energy resources.