Renewable Energy Standard Passes Minnesota House

The new Renewable Energy Standard that passed the Minnesota House on February 20, will require 25 percent of Minnesota’s electricity to come from renewable sources — such as wind and solar — by the year 2025. Currently, Minnesota imports more electricity from outside sources than any other state.

“Passage of this Renewable Energy Standard brings Minnesota back to the forefront of renewable energy policy. This standard creates an energy future that is good for the environment and provides the opportunity for tremendous economic development,” said Minnesota State Representative Kate Knuth, one of the bill’s co-authors. “It sends a strong signal to industry that our state is open for business for green manufacturing and construction, and will benefit workers across Minnesota.” The bill passed with broad bipartisan support on a vote of 123 to 10. Governor Pawlenty has already pledged to sign the bill. Since the Senate passed identical legislation earlier this month, the bill avoids a conference committee and now goes straight to the Governor to be signed into law. “As we move forward, we need to be concerned about the rate payers, and the transmission capacity in southwestern Minnesota,” said State Representative Brad Finstad (R-Comfrey). “This bill is a good first step, but we’re still a long way from the finish line.” Finstad noted that while the legislation gives Minnesota the highest renewable energy standard in the nation, it lacks the specifics on how the state is going to meet this goal. The Democratic leadership in the House and Senate has promised to put these pieces in place before the 2007 session ends. Finstad said that will be critical, as this bill does not address renewable energy research, conservation, or efficiency — all key components toward building a meaningful renewable energy mandate.

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