Saturday, February 10, 2007

Minnesota Senate Passes Renewable Energy Standard - 25% by 2025

[From Wind Energy Weekly/AWEA:]

By a 61-4 margin, Minnesota’s state Senate passed a renewable energy requirement for 25% of the electricity produced by utilities to come from renewables by 2025. With the bill having cleared the Senate, the House’s Energy Finance and Policy Division Committee is scheduled to debate similar legislation next week.

The “Renewable Energy Standard” (RES), as it is called in the state, would result in 5,000-6,000 MW in renewable energy being developed. The legislation specifies incremental benchmarks for utilities, with Xcel Energy’s RES ultimately reaching as high as 30%: 15% by 2010, 18% by 2012, 25% by 2016, and 30% by 2020. All other utilities, meanwhile, would have a requirement of 7% by 2010, 12% by 2012, 17% by 2016, 20% by 2020, and 25% by 2025.

The legislation allows for the possibility of the targets to be delayed, but only if the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission determines that it would be in the public interest to do so; further, the bill includes language to ensure that various roadblocks would not indefinitely delay or prove fatal to implementation of the RES for any utility. For example, transmission constraints and delivery issues would be one legitimate reason for utilities not hitting RES targets; however, in that event, utilities would be required to move forward in the regulatory and construction process for the needed new transmission.

“The Renewable Energy Standard sends a clear signal that Minnesota is open for business,” Wind on the Wires Director Beth Soholt told Wind Energy Weekly. “5,000-6,000 MW of new renewable energy will be required to meet the strong standard. In turn we will see the creation of thousands of job, billions of dollars invested in the state, and enormous benefits to the environment.”

[Update - Feb 13: According to Energista.org, the Minnesota RES bill passed the appropriate House committee on Monday with only one 'nay' vote. The House committee chose to adopt the Senate language and the bill withstood four efforts to ammend it. That means that the House version, which will likely see a floor vote very soon, will closely match the Senate version, meaning the conference committee process should be pretty smooth. This RES bill is flying through the Minnesota State Legislature!]

Now THAT's what I'm talking about! 64-4! If only we could see that kind of nearly unanimous support for our RES efforts in Oregon...

I've been following the development of the Minnesota RES as it plays out in the Minnesota Senate and House over at the excellent blog, Energista.org. Check out the long series of updates on the Minnesota RES over at Energista for more and stay tuned over there for continued updates as the RES progresses through the Minnesota House.

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Eric said...
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