Feasibility Study: State and Tribal Partnership to Support Solar Energy

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  05/05/2023


MnDOT needs new ways to meet its renewable energy goals. The Red Lake Nation, which is home to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, is exploring the development of a solar project. MnDOT has a unique opportunity to partner with the tribe on this project, which could strengthen the government-to-government relationship between Minnesota and the tribe, advance shared renewable energy goals and support tribal sovereignty. A virtual power purchase agreement is a unique energy contracting tool in which the tribe, as the developer, and MnDOT, as the buyer, would share economic value and risks. MnDOT would receive the renewable energy credits for the power it purchases while still relying on the regional power grid for electricity. Researchers analyzed MnDOT’s power needs, the predicted performance of the solar project and greenhouse gas emissions avoided. With this data, they estimated the potential economic value to MnDOT and recommended steps to proceed with the preplanning stage of this innovative and mutually beneficial energy partnership.

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