Three DFL state senators have co-authored a bill that aims to “make Minnesota the first state in the nation to use only renewable energy.”
Senate File (SF) 425, set to be introduced Thursday and referred to the Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee, was co-authored by Sens. John Marty (D-Roseville), Nick Frentz (D-Mankato), and Chris Eaton (D-Brooklyn Center).
“The Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources, in consultation with other state agencies and the Legislative Energy Commission, must develop a framework for the state of Minnesota to transition to a renewable energy economy that ends Minnesota’s contribution to greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels within the next few decades,” SF 425 states.
In creating a renewable-energy framework, the Division of Energy Resources would be asked to consider a number of various factors, including the “economic and environmental costs of continued reliance on fossil fuels,” and the “creation of jobs and industry in the state that result from moving ahead of other states in transitioning to a sustainable energy economy.”
Additionally, it must account for “the appropriate energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in Minnesota to reduce the economic losses to the Minnesota economy from importation of fossil fuels.”
“The framework must be modified as needed to take advantage of new technological developments to facilitate ending fossil fuel use in power generation, heating and cooling, industry, and transportation,” the bill adds.
If passed, the bill would require the Division of Energy Resources to report to the Minnesota Legislature by January 2021 and every year thereafter on its “progress toward achieving the framework goals.”
A November 2018 study commissioned by the Minnesota Department of Commerce predicted that the state could get 70 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050, 30 percent shy of SF 425’s goal.
That study was commissioned in response to a 2013 state law that gave Minnesota a goal of receiving ten percent of electricity from solar by 2030. At the end of 2017, solar power accounted for just 1.2 percent.
The state is, however, a national leader in wind power, which accounts for about 18 percent of its electricity. Minnesota’s emphasis on wind turbines was an object of scorn in the Center of the American Experiment’s “Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure” report.
“Wind power will never replace conventional sources of electricity (coal, natural gas and nuclear) because it is intermittent and unreliable,” that report concluded. “Wind turbines only generate electricity when the wind blows, so Minnesota needs enough reliable electricity sources to meet peak demand, no matter how many wind farms are constructed.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “John Marty (Right)” by John Marty.
Photo “Nick A. Frentz (Left)” by Nick A. Frentz.
Background Photo “Minnesota Congress Chambers” by Chris Gaukel. CC BY-SA 2.0.