Energy & Climate related bills passed into law this session

Successful Energy Democracy and Zero Waste outcomes from the 2024 legislative session. Click the link below for a list! 

Community Power has participated as part of the CLEAR coalition lobbying for energy democracy legislation this year. See the press release from CLEAR.

The story was also covered in the Star Tribune: DFL resolves division on permitting and community solar credits in energy legislation Despite late-session negotiations, energy legislation passed without any major upheaval. By Walker Orenstein Star Tribune May 20, 2024


  • The Solar APP+ bill passes! : The bill incentivizes cities to adopt the Dept of Energy's automated solar permitting software, which will drastically cut down on all the time it takes to get rooftop solar on homes and buildings.
  • The Solar interconnection bill passes! : Passing this legislation was crucial to Minnesota being able to meet its 100% renewable electricity by 2040 goals. It was also supported by the state’s investor-owned utilities including Xcel Energy. This reform will create a cost-share program for distribution grid upgrades that will benefit all Minnesotans, including utility ratepayers. It will also create an ombudsperson who will oversee interconnection disputes. Under the status quo it takes way too long for rooftop and community solar to connect to the grid, and this new law will help.
  • Solar Rewards Funded at $5 Million a Year for 10 Years: This program incentivizes Xcel customers to go solar, including half of it assigned to low-income homeowners and nonprofits and businesses that serve low income.
  • 7 Thermal Energy Network bills pass! There was a collection of new state laws that include money for pilots, studies, and task forces that will support the scale up of geothermal energy in Minnesota. This is a crucial part of how we will phase our gas out of our homes and buildings. This includes $6 million for a geothermal heat system at Sabathani Community Center in south Minneapolis. 
  • Critical Minerals Recovery Task Force: This bill passed into law will create a task force to research and make recommendations on how to recover critical minerals from the waste stream to be recycled and used for clean energy development.
  • Clean Energy Permitting Reform: This new law will streamline the regulatory process so that renewables like wind, solar, transmission, and battery storage can come online faster. This will be important for meeting our 100% renewable electricity by 2040 goal. Community Power and partners have a few concerns with the final version of the bill and will be monitoring how things play out to ensure these new permitting privileges apply to clean energy rather than false solutions (fossil fuels/ speculative technologies). 
  • Grid Enhancing Technologies: There is a new initiative for grid-enhancing technologies that can lend us the ability to free up space on Minnesota's congested electric transmission system without having to build new $2 Million per mile high voltage transmission lines lines. It requires the MN PUC to maintain a list of certified grid-enhancing technology projects, in addition to high voltage transmission line projects. It also includes $133 thousand to participate in PUC proceedings reviewing transmission line owners’ plans to deploy grid-enhancing technologies.
  • Carbon dioxide pipelines study There is $1 million for a study of the environmental and health effects of carbon dioxide pipelines that makes recommendations for regulation, due to energy and environmental committee leaders and the PUC by Nov. 1, 2026.
  • The Packaging Waste and Cost Reduction Act was passed and will establish producer responsibility for packaging to reduce it upstream. Zero waste legislation to generate less waste, and reduce need for virgin materials, is important for shutting down incinerators that burn trash for energy.

What could be ahead? Priority legislation introduced that did not make it: 

1) The Ratepayer Protection Act would ensure investor owned utilities aren’t spending customer’s money on political influence activities that oftentimes promote the prolonged use of fossil fuels. 

2) A Thermal Resource Standard would be the next step in addressing climate emissions from buildings. It would require gas utilities, like CenterPoint, to reduce emissions, just like the 100% law does for electric utilities.  

3) The 100% Electronic Waste bill would establish recycling programs to responsibly manage electronic waste. It would reduce the need for mining new metals and minimize environmental and health risks associated with improper disposal.

For more details see: Sierra Club Leaders Celebrate Historic Accomplishments of the 2023-2024 Legislative Biennium . 


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