Clean energy legislation moves one step closer to lawPublished 9:32am Thursday, May 9, 2013
Part of local clean energy advocates’ wish came true Tuesday night. The Minnesota House of Representatives passed its clean energy and jobs legislation, which will establish a 4 percent solar energy standard by 2020 and a 40 percent renewable electricity standard for investor-owned utilities by 2030. The bill passed by a narrow margin, 70-63.
Clean energy supporters from Fresh Energy, Riverland Community College and the Izaak Walton League pushed for legislation this Monday at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center in Austin. They pushed for the exact details already in the House’s bill.
The Minnesota Clean Energy & Jobs campaign released the following statement on Wednesday: “This legislation will provide good jobs and protect Minnesota’s air, land and water for generations to come. We have a responsibility to compete in the marketplace for clean energy and compete for the jobs that come with it. This is a tremendous step toward a clean energy economy in this state.”
The legislation includes the following provisions:
—Increases the state’s renewable electricity standard to 40 percent by 2030, up from 25 percent by 2025, for investor-owned utilities.
—Requires investor-owned utilities to provide at least 0.5 percent of power through solar electricity by the end of 2016; 2 percent by late 2020; and 4 percent by late 2025.
—Requires investor-owned utilities to invest 1 1⁄3 percent of annual retail sales in subsidies for homeowners and businesses to go solar.
—Requires the Department of Commerce to calculate a “value of solar,” to determine how much utilities would pay small producers. The amount would be adjusted yearly.
—The bill also would offer incentives to owners of solar equipment.
Clean energy and jobs legislation is circulating in the Senate and was also heard on the Senate floor on Wednesday.