This comes after a multi-year effort of by a coalition of multiple grassroots and grass tops organizations that formed in 2018 and launched in 2019.
Community Power and Partners will mobilize for additional energy policy legislation that more directly centers our broader interests of energy democracy, expanding local authority for climate action, and ensuring widespread access to the benefits of clean energy.
Shortly before midnight on Feb 2nd, the MN State Senate has narrowly approved a requirement for the state’s electric utilities to provide carbon free power by 2040, after the MN State House passed an identical version on January 25th. This 17-year timescale is the state's most ambitious clean energy standard ever.
It is worth noting that Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power, made carbon free pledges on their own accord, but for a decade later in 2050.
With some exceptions, utilities would have to provide power that is:
- 80 % carbon-free by 2030; 60 % for rural co-ops by 2030;
- 90 % carbon-free and 55 percent renewable by 2035;
- and 100 % carbon-free by 2040
There will be a process for utilities who don't think they can hit the above targets to ask the PUC for an exception, or to buy renewable energy credits to offset carbon intensive power that they continue to provide.
In 2007, the MN State Legislature passed the 25% by 2025 Renewable Energy Standard with a nearly unanimous, bipartisan vote.
Minnesota was able to meet that target eight years ahead of schedule. Utilities, grid operators, and energy producers had an easier time than expected integrating renewable energy into the grid and maintaining reliability in a way that has saved billions of dollars for Minnesotans.
- The new law is more than mere carbon reduction. It strengths utility reporting requirements on jobs, host communities, environmental justice impacts, and employee & vendor diversity.
- The MN Public Utilities Commission will have more direction to maximize the jobs benefits and organizing rights of Minnesota workers when needed to ensure prevailing wages are paid and to assist transitioning workers.
- You can read more about what the bill does here.