February 23, 2007
Source: Clean Edge News
The Minnesota Senate passed the Renewable Energy Standard (S.F. 4) recently by an overwhelming margin. The standard will require Minnesota utilities to generate at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Additionally, Xcel Energy will be required to generate at least 30 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
“This bill will make Minnesota the national leader in renewable energy development and set our state on the road to energy independence,” said Sen. Rick Olseen (DFL-Harris). “This legislation is a win-win solution for Minnesota. By implementing this standard, we will be able to improve our environment while also attracting new jobs and investment in Minnesota.”
This legislation provides protection for ratepayers by allowing the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to modify the standard for a utility if it determines that implementation would significantly increase the rates for customers or decrease the reliability of energy delivery. The PUC will also be required to create a Renewable Energy Credits Trading System by the beginning of 2008, which will allow companies that are producing extra renewable energy to sell credits to those who are not producing enough.
The Renewable Energy Standard resulted from negotiations between members of the Senate, the governor’s office, utility companies, the Chamber of Commerce, environmental organizations and others.
“I am pleased that everyone was able to work together and reach a solution that we could all agree to,” said Sen. Olseen, who is a member of the Energy, Utilities, Technology, and Communications Committee, that heard this bill. “Through hours of meetings with the stakeholders, we were able to create a standard that will improve our environment while ensuring that utility companies will have the ability to implement it.”
The House Energy Committee is also currently considering the Renewable Energy Standard.
Minnesota’s current law, the Renewable Energy Objective, was passed in 2001 and took effect in 2005. It asks all energy utilities to make a good-faith effort to have at least 10 percent of their energy mix come from renewable sources by 2015.