The commissioner shall continuously identify, monitor, and evaluate in terms of potential direct benefit to, and possible implementation in Minnesota, research studies and demonstration projects of alternative energy and energy conservation systems and methodologies currently performed in Minnesota and other states and countries including:
(1) solar energy systems for heating and cooling;
(2) energy systems using wind, agricultural wastes, forestry products, peat, and other nonconventional energy resources;
(3) devices and technologies increasing the energy efficiency of energy-consuming appliances, equipment, and systems;
(4) hydroelectric power; and
(5) other projects the commissioner deems appropriate and of direct benefit to Minnesota and other states of the upper midwest.