Minnesota Utilities to Go Carbon-Free by 2040

If signed by the governor, a new state law would require all utilities in the state to switch to renewable energy within two decades.

1 minute read

February 7, 2023, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

In a party-line vote, the Minnesota state Senate approved a law that requires the state’s power utilities to switch to 100 percent clean power by 2040. In a piece originally published by Grist and republished in Route Fifty, Zoya Teirstein describes the legislation, which revives a failed 2021 proposal rejected by the then-Republican state senate.

According to Teirstein, “The legislation establishes two new mandates for electric utilities in the state: a renewable electricity standard and a carbon-free energy standard.” A prior goal of reaching 25 percent renewable energy by 2025 was met eight years early. Acceptable sources of energy include solar, wind, hydropower, nuclear, hydrogen, and biomass (burning wood or trash). “The bill contains provisions that will help streamline the permitting process for new energy projects in the state, set minimum wage requirements for workers hired by the state’s utilities to build large-scale projects, and prevent power from waste incineration plants located in low-income, majority non-white communities from counting toward the 2040 target.”

Despite warnings from Republican lawmakers that the new rule would make the state’s energy grid less reliable and more expensive, Teirstein points out that “Multiple analyses of existing state-level clean energy standards show the mandates have actually improved grid reliability and reduced costs for consumers.”

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