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Regulation, Solar, Wind  -  March 3, 2017

Minnesota bill would double clean energy standard

Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith recently announced the introduction of a bipartisan bill that calls on the state to double its renewable energy standard to 50% by 2030 from the current 25%. 

In a news release, Lt. Gov. Smith's office said the state is already on track to exceed the current goals, which were set by the bipartisan Next Generation Energy Act that the governor's office credits with moving Minnesota to more than 21% renewable energy. Lt. Gov. Smith said Feb. 27 that the new standard "would be good for Minnesota's environment, health and economy." 

The bipartisan bill to advance this new standard is being authored in the Minnesota Senate by Sen. Nick Frentz and Sen. Karin Housley, and in the Minnesota House by Rep. Erin Maye Quade and Rep. Joe Schomacker. This effort builds on the success of the Next Generation Energy Act, which was enacted 10 years ago by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and an overwhelming bipartisan majority — 97% — of legislators.

"Minnesota has been a nationwide leader in promoting renewable energy, reaping the rewards in good paying jobs, cost savings for our people, and environmental benefits," Sen. Frentz said in a statement. "This bill sends a strong message that we intend to stay that way."

Also among the state's supportive clean energy policies is a 2013 program established by the Legislature that allows customers of the state's investor-owned utilities, like Xcel Energy, to receive a share of electricity output from a community solar system. That policy has opened the door for commercial and industrial energy buyers such as U.S. Bancorp, Land O'Lakes Inc., Macy's and Ecolab Inc. to engage in corporate subscription agreements for electricity from community solar projects. 

Keywords: Minnesota

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