Tyler Chalfant | January 14th, 2020
Minnesota state legislators announced that they will introduce a bipartisan plan requiring electric utilities to prioritize clean energy sources. Republican leaders, including some who opposed a similar bill last year, have gotten behind the “Clean Energy First” bill as part of an effort to transition 70% of the state’s electricity sources away from fossil fuels over the next two decades.
The bill would require electric companies to use clean energy sources when building or replacing power plants. Exceptions are allowed for when clean energy can be proven to be unaffordable, or when a renewable energy source alone or in cooperation with other clean energy sources can’t meet the expected need. The bill classifies nuclear, solar, wind, hydropower, carbon sequestration, and municipal solid waste as clean energy sources.
House Democrats and Governor Tim Walz have pushed for an even more ambitious plan, to move the state’s electric sector to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Senator David Osmek, the Republican chair of the Senate Energy and Utilities Committee, has called that plan a “non-starter,” but has gotten behind the “Clean Energy First” plan.
The Committee will hold hearings on the plan in Rochester on Jan. 15, and Minnetrista on Jan. 22.