Minnesota Building Decarbonization Analysis

Fresh Energy
Project completed.

For Clean Heat Minnesota, Synapse performed a study to help identify the most feasible, equitable, and cost-effective pathways for reducing emissions from Minnesota’s natural gas distribution sector at a pace and magnitude consistent with Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

Synapse Energy Economics focused on residential and commercial energy end uses and the impacts that their decarbonization would have on the gas and electric systems, on costs to customers, and on health and environmental issues. The resulting report  describes our analysis of two “book-end” scenarios that we developed to illustrate potential pathways to decarbonization: one to maximize building electrification and one to maximize the feasible use of alternative fuels.

Overall, the results point to the importance of intentional utility planning, for both electric and gas utilities, to ensure customer costs do not increase uncontrollably and to minimize the risk to the utilities, their shareholders, and ratepayers. Planning for changes in utility investment and financial models is preferable to the inequitable outcomes that could result from an unplanned and unmanaged transition.