In recognition of Earth Day, Metro Transit is using wind-generated electricity to power the Hiawatha Light Rail line on Monday.

The agency bought 71,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity produced on rural Minnesota wind farms, enough to power a day's worth of trips on the 12-mile line that shuttles passengers between downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America in Bloomington.

Metro Transit tapped into Xcel Energy's Windsource, which is one of the nation’s leading voluntary green power programs. The program allows customers to buy electricity in 100 kilowatt-hour blocks.

The effort is part of Metro Transit's six-year Go Greener initiative to conserve energy and reduce emmissions. The agency is replacing up to 15 percent of its bus fleet with hybrid-electric models along with energy-saving capital investment at its six bus facilities, said spokesman John Siqveland.

Last year, the agency said its efforts to reduce fuel usage and use renewable energy saved more than $4 million. Gov. Mark Dayton awarded Metro Transit a Continuous Improvement Award for its energy- and cost-savings efforts.

Xcel Energy says more than 1,200 businesses and  57,000 residential customers take part in its Windsource program.


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Keeping tabs on Friday's morning commute

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9 a.m. update: Nice now, but probably not afternoon delight