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Minnesota   Minnesota Profile

State Profile and Energy Estimates

Profile AnalysisPrint State Energy Profile
(overview, data, & analysis)

Last Updated: March 17, 2016

Overview

Located at the northern edge of the central plains, Minnesota is one of the largest Midwestern states.1 It has significant renewable resources, including energy from winds that blow unobstructed across the state's open prairies.2 Minnesota's rolling plains are covered by fertile topsoil, giving the state some of the nation's richest farmland, which, along with 17 million acres of forest lands, provide the state with ample biomass potential.3,4,5 The state's abundant cornfields produce Minnesota's most valuable crop and provide feedstock for the state's many ethanol plants.6,7 With almost 70,000 miles of natural streams and rivers, Minnesota's fast-flowing waterways are a hydropower resource.8,9

Minnesota plays an important role in moving fossil fuels to markets across the Midwest and beyond.

Minnesota has no fossil fuel production, but the state plays an important role in moving fossil fuels to markets across the Midwest and beyond. More than one-fourth of the length of the Mississippi River flows through Minnesota.10,11 The Mississippi River carries half of the state's agricultural exports, as well as other commodities, including petroleum and coal. But Lake Superior, on Minnesota's northeastern border, is the waterway that plays the most significant role in energy transport. The Port of Duluth on the shores of Lake Superior is at the western end of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which connects the port to worldwide shipping.12 Coal from Wyoming and Montana is transferred from rail to ship at the port to move east.13 Several pipelines bring Western crude oil into the state, and other pipelines move Canadian supplies of crude oil from the north to Minnesota's refineries and on to other U.S. markets.14

Minnesota's climate is known for Arctic chills in the winter. While the northern part of the state has reported freezing temperatures in every month of the year, southern Minnesota can experience prolonged heat spells in the summer when warm air pushes up from the Gulf of Mexico. Even so, Minnesota's per capita energy consumption is lower than one-third of the states.15,16 The industrial sector, which includes the energy-intensive petroleum refining and food processing industries, leads the state in energy consumption, followed by the electric power sector. The transportation sector is the third-largest energy consuming sector, followed closely by the residential sector. The commercial sector is the least energy-intensive end use sector in the state.17,18,19,20

Petroleum

Minnesota does not have any crude oil production, but it does have two oil refineries.21,22 Much of the crude oil processed at these refineries comes from Canada. The Pine Bend Refinery, located in the Twin Cities suburbs, is one of the top processors of Canadian crude oil in the United States.23 The Pine Bend Refinery is the largest oil refinery in Minnesota, and it is also the largest of all oil refineries located in non-oil-producing states.24 The Pine Bend Refinery produces motor gasoline, diesel fuel, propane, butane, and jet fuel for markets throughout Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. The refinery also supplies asphalt, heating fuels, and sulfur for fertilizers.25 Minnesota's other refinery is the St. Paul Park Refinery, located along the Mississippi River. St. Paul Park became Minnesota's first oil refinery when it was relocated from Texas in 1939. The refinery has been expanded over the years and now produces a variety of products refined from sour and sweet crude oils from the United States and Canada, including motor gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and asphalt.26,27

Minnesota has the largest oil refinery located in a non-oil-producing state.

Several pipeline systems bring crude oil from Canada and the western United States into Minnesota.28,29,30 The Clearbrook terminal in northwestern Minnesota is now a key distribution point, supplying crude oil to refineries in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and beyond. Pipelines that can carry one-seventh of the petroleum used in the United States converge in Clearbrook, Minnesota.31 Additional pipelines cross the state, distributing petroleum products from refineries in Minnesota and other states.32

Motor gasoline accounts for almost half of the petroleum consumed in Minnesota.33 A major ethanol-producing state, Minnesota is one of only two Midwestern states that require the statewide use of oxygenated motor gasoline blended with 10% ethanol.34,35 Overall, Minnesota's per capita petroleum consumption is slightly less than the national average.36,37 Less than 3% of the state's households heat with fuel oil or kerosene.38

Natural gas

Minnesota does not have any natural gas production or reserves.39 Although the state is crossed by several natural gas pipelines, it does not have any natural gas market centers.40 Natural gas supplies enter Minnesota primarily from Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Canada. The state ships almost three-fourths of the natural gas it receives to Iowa and to Wisconsin on its way to markets in the Midwest and beyond.41,42 The industrial sector is Minnesota's largest natural gas user, accounting for more than one-third of the state's consumption. The residential sector, where two-thirds of the households heat with natural gas, typically uses around three-tenths of the natural gas delivered to consumers.43,44

Coal

Almost 20 million tons of low-sulfur coal from Montana and Wyoming are shipped from the Port of Duluth each year.

Coal and iron ore, in roughly equal proportions, account for about four-fifths of the tonnage shipped from the Port of Duluth. Almost 20 million tons of low-sulfur coal from Montana and Wyoming are transported from the port each year to supply utilities and manufacturing plants on the Lower Great Lakes.45 Wyoming and Montana supply almost all of the coal consumed in Minnesota, most of which is used for electric power generation.46,47

Electricity

Coal-fired power plants provide the largest share of Minnesota's net electricity generation.48 The state's largest power plant is the coal-fired Sherburne County plant, which has a generating capacity more than twice that of each of the next two largest power plants in the state, the Clay Boswell coal-fired plant and the Prairie Island nuclear facility.49 Although coal fuels more than two-fifths of Minnesota's net electricity generation, nuclear power is a significant contributor. The state's two nuclear power plants are located on the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota and provide slightly more than one-fifth of the state's net electricity generation.50,51 Electricity in Minnesota is also generated from wind, natural gas, biomass, conventional hydropower, and solar energy.52

Most of the electricity in Minnesota is generated by electric utilities; however, an increasing amount is provided by independent power producers. From 2003 to 2015, the contribution from independent power producers to the state's net generation increased more than fourfold.53,54 Independent power producers now provide more than one-sixth of Minnesota's net electricity generation, most of which is from renewable resources, primarily wind.55 Retail electricity sales are almost equal across the residential, industrial, and commercial end-use sectors.56 Fewer than one-sixth of Minnesota's households use electricity for home heating.57

Renewable energy

Minnesota is a major producer of wind-generated electricity. The state has numerous wind farms, particularly in its southwest.58 Minnesota is among the top 10 states in the nation in both installed wind capacity and net electricity generation from wind, and more than one-sixth of the state's net generation came from wind power in 2015.59,60 Minnesota also generates electricity from other renewable sources, including municipal solid waste, landfill gas, wood waste, and hydroelectric dams. Several of the state's hydroelectric power plants are found along the Mississippi River. Many of the biomass power plants are located near Minneapolis in southern Minnesota.61 Renewable resources, including hydroelectric power, fueled one-fifth of the state's net electricity generation in 2015.62

Minnesota is among the top 10 states in both installed wind capacity and net electricity generation from wind.

Minnesota is a top producer of ethanol, with 21 ethanol production plants, most of which are located in the southern part of the state.63,64,65 In 2007, the state put in place a 4-year program that offered incentives to encourage the adoption of E85, a mixture of 85% ethanol with 15% motor gasoline. From 2007 to 2011, funding assistance was provided to fuel retailers for the installation of equipment to dispense E85 to the public.66 Minnesota now has more E85 refueling stations than any other state and about one-tenth of the nation's total.67 In addition to Minnesota's requirement that motor gasoline sold in the state be at least a 10% blended ethanol mixture, the state's biodiesel mandate requires that diesel fuel sold in the state contain at least 10% biodiesel during the months of April through September and at least 5% biodiesel during the rest of the year. On May 1, 2018, the blend required from April through September increases to a minimum of 20% biodiesel.68 Minnesota has three biodiesel plants with a combined capacity of about 63 million gallons per year.69

Minnesota has a renewable energy standard that applies to all electricity providers in the state. It requires that at least 25% of the providers' retail electricity sales be obtained from eligible renewable sources by 2025. The requirements vary by utility size and ownership. Specific minimum amounts of public utility electricity sales must come from wind and solar resources. As of 2013, investor-owned utilities are required to have 1.5% of retail electricity sales sourced from solar energy by 2020. A statewide goal of 10% of retail electricity sales from solar by 2030 has been established.70

Endnotes

1 U.S. Census Bureau, Guide to State and Local Census Geography, Select a State, 2010.
2 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, WINDExchange, Minnesota Wind Resource Map and Potential Wind Capacity, accessed February 20, 2016.
3 NETSTATE, Minnesota, The Geography of Minnesota, The Land, accessed February 20, 2016.
4 Becker, Dennis R., et al., 2010 Outlook for Forest Biomass Availability in Minnesota: Physical, Environmental, Economic and Social Availability, University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources (October 2010), p. 1.
5 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, DNR's Role in Biomass from Forest Resources, accessed February 20, 2016.
6 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Farm Income and Wealth Statistics, Cash receipts by state, commodity ranking and share of U.S. total, 2014, Minnesota.
7 "U.S. Plants, All Platforms, Existing," Ethanol Producer Magazine (January 23, 2016).
8 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Lakes, rivers, and wetlands facts (2013).
9 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Profile Overview, Map layer, hydroelectric power plants, accessed February 21, 2016.
10 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Profile Data, Reserves and Supply, accessed February 21, 2016.
11 Minnesota Office of Tourism, Explore Minnesota, About Minnesota, Geography, Minnesota's Waters, accessed February 21, 2016.
12 Minnesota Department of Transportation, Commercial Waterways, accessed February 21, 2016.
13 Bergeron, Dale, "What's in the Ships?" Minnesota Sea Grant (May 2007).
14 Shaffer, David, "A river of oil runs through small Minnesota town," Star Tribune (August 29, 2012).
15 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Data Center, Climate of Minnesota, accessed February 22, 2016.
16 U.S. Energy Information Administration, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 through 2013, DOE/EIA-0214(2013) (July 2015), Table C13, Energy Consumption per Capita by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2013.
17 U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Industries consumed more than 30% of U.S. energy in 2011," Today in Energy (September 25, 2012).
18 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Data, GDP & Personal Income, Begin using data, Annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by State, GDP in Current Dollars, Classification NAICS, All Industries, Area Minnesota, Time Period 2013.
19 U.S. Energy Information Administration, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 through 2013, DOE/EIA-0214(2013) (July 2015), Table C10, Energy Consumption by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2013.
20 U.S. Energy Information Administration, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 through 2013, DOE/EIA-0214(2013) (July 2015), Minnesota Tables CT4, CT5, CT6, CT7, CT8.
21 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Profile Data, Reserves and Supply, accessed February 21, 2016.
22 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Number and Capacity of Petroleum Refineries, Total Number of Operable Refineries, accessed February 21, 2016.
23 Flint Hills Resources, Minnesota, accessed February 22, 2016.
24 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Refinery Capacity Report (June 2015), Table 3, Capacity of Operable Petroleum Refineries by State as of January 1, 2015, p. 14.
25 Flint Hills Resources, Minnesota, accessed February 22, 2016.
26 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star, Energy Labeled Buildings and Plants, Energy Star Plant Profile, Minnesota Refining Division (now St. Paul Park Refinery), accessed February 22, 2016.
27 Northern Tier Energy Company, Corporate Profile, Refining Business, accessed February 22, 2016.
28 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Profile Data, Distribution and Marketing, accessed February 22, 2016.
29 Enbridge Inc., Enbridge Energy Partners North Dakota Pipeline Company LLC (2014).
30 Enbridge Inc., Enbridge Energy Partners United States Mainline Pipeline System (West) (2014).
31 Shaffer, David, "A river of oil runs through small Minnesota town," Star Tribune (August 29, 2012).
32 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Profile Data, Distribution and Marketing, accessed February 22, 2016.
33 U.S. Energy Information Administration, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 through 2013, DOE/EIA-0214(2013) (July 2015), Table C3, Primary Energy Consumption Estimates, 2013.
34 Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Ethanol, accessed February 22, 2016.
35 American Petroleum Institute, U.S. Gasoline Requirements (June 2015).
36 U.S. Energy Information Administration, State Energy Data System, Table F15, Total Petroleum Consumption Estimates, 2013.
37 U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates, State Totals: Vintage 2015, Table 1, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 (NST-EST2015-01).
38 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Minnesota, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate.
39 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Profile Data, Reserves and Supply, accessed February 22, 2016.
40 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Profile Data, Distribution and Marketing, accessed February 22, 2016.
41 U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Natural Gas Imports by Point of Entry, 2014, accessed February 22, 2016.
42 U.S. Energy Information Administration, International and Interstate Movements of Natural Gas by State, 2014, accessed February 22, 2016.
43 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Minnesota, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate.
44 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Minnesota, Annual, accessed February 23, 2016.
45 Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Port of Duluth-Superior, Tonnage/Port Stats, accessed February 23, 2016.
46 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Coal Report 2013 (April 2015), Table 26, U.S. Coal Consumption by End Use Sector, by Census Division and State, 2013 and 2012.
47 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Coal Distribution Report 2013 (April 2015), Minnesota, Table DS-21, Domestic Coal Distribution, by Destination State, 2013.
48 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly (January 2016), Tables 1.3.B, 1.4.B.
49 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Electricity Profile 2013, Table 2, Ten Largest Plants by Generation Capacity, 2013.
50 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Nuclear Profile 2010.
51 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Tables 1.3.B, 1.9.B.
52 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Tables 1.7.B, 1.10.B, 1.14.B, 1.15.B, 1.17.B.
53 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Table 1.3.B.
54 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, DOE/EIA-0226 (2004/03) (March 2004), Table 1.6.B.
55 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Tables 1.3.B, 1.11.B, 1.14.B.
56 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Table 5.4.B.
57 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Minnesota, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate.
58 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Profile Overview, Map layer Wind Power Plant, accessed February 23, 2016.
59 American Wind Energy Association, Minnesota Wind Energy, accessed February 23, 2016.
60 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Tables 1.3.B, 1.14.
61 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Profile Overview, Map layer Biomass and Hydroelectric Power Plant, accessed February 23, 2016.
62 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly (February 2016), Tables 1.3.B, 1.10.B, 1.11.B.
63 Nebraska Energy Office, Ethanol Facilities' Capacity by State, Ethanol Facilities Nameplate Capacity and Operating Production Ranked by State (September 4, 2015).
64 "U.S. Ethanol Plants, All Platforms, Existing," Ethanol Producer Magazine (January 23, 2016).
65 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Minnesota Profile Overview, Map layer Ethanol Plant, accessed February 23, 2016.
66 Hennessy, Kevin, Petroleum Replacement Promotion, 2013 Legislative Report, Minnesota Department of Agriculture (January 1, 2013), p. 6.
67 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center, Alternative Fueling Station Locator, Minnesota, Ethanol 85, accessed February 23, 2016.
68 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center, Laws and Incentives, Biodiesel Blend Mandate, accessed February 23, 2016.
69 "USA Plants, Existing," Biodiesel Magazine (December 8, 2015).
70 DSIRE, NC Clean Energy Technology Center, Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard (November 19, 2015).

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