Minnesota bill proposes doubling of state renewable power goal

By Anna Simet | February 27, 2017

A proposed Minnesota bill would double the amount of renewable electricity that public utilities are required to generate or procure.

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith introduced HF 1772, which would raise the current renewable portfolio standard (RPS), enacted in 2007, from 25 percent by 2025 to 50 percent by 2030. The state is on track to surpass current goals, currently at 21 percent renewable energy, according to Smith’s office. However, emissions in the state have only been reduced by 7 percent.

The bipartisan bill is being authored in the Minnesota Senate by Sens. Nick Frentz and Karin Housley, and in the Minnesota House by Reps. Erin Maye Quade and Joe Schomacker. It also builds on Minnesota’s Next Generation Act, which requires utilities to provide technical assistance for all residential and commercial projects that incorporate green building practices in their construction.

A fact sheet released with the bill introduction indicated that, between 2000 and 2014, clean energy jobs in Minnesota grew 78 percent. In comparison, the state’s total employment growth was only 11 percent. The modified RES would create an average of 1,500 new jobs in Minnesota, it said, and help reduce annually energy imports, as the state currently spends about $13 billion importing fossil fuels including coal, oil and natural gas, from other states and countries.

To date, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have adopted a mandatory RPS, while eight states have voluntary renewable goals.