Energy group kicks off legislative campaign in Austin

Published 10:43 am Friday, March 13, 2015

Number of wind turbines currently in Mower County

Number of wind turbines currently in Mower County

The Minnesota Clean Energy & Jobs Campaign kicked off a new initiative at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center in Austin Thursday to ask legislators to increase the state’s renewable energy standard to 40 percent by 2030 and to improve Minnesota’s yearly energy savings goal for utilities from 1.5 to 2 percent.

The group, made up of labor, faith, business and environmental interests, including several wind energy companies that operate in Mower County, will tour around the state calling for lawmakers to increase utility company standards when it comes to renewable energy.

Under Minnesota statute, utilities are required to provide 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2025.

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In addition, utility companies have a 1.5 percent yearly energy savings goal.

The group hopes legislators will increase those standards in part to provide more jobs for Minnesotans. Campaign officials said Monday Mower County, which has received more than $9.8 million over the past 10 years in wind energy tax credits, would greatly benefit from more local renewable energy jobs and an increased focus on local energy sources.

“Mower County is one of the landmarks in the wind energy industry,” Matt Privratsky, senior communications specialist of Fresh Energy, said Tuesday during the kickoff.