Solar Energy Standard Signed by Governor Dayton

Statewide Solar Energy Standard Will Bring Jobs, Significant Investment to State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2013

CONTACT:
Cathy Kennedy
612.309.3951
cathryn@cathrynkennedy.com

[SAINT PAUL, MN] Governor Dayton signed the Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development bill, which included measures to establish a solar energy standard of 1.5 percent by 2020 for investor-owned utilities, with a statewide goal of reaching 10 percent by 2030. The Minnesota Clean Energy & Jobs campaign released the following statement:

“We thank Governor Dayton and the legislature for establishing Minnesota’s first solar energy standard. A solar energy standard – along with measures promoting community solar gardens and making solar energy cheaper and more accessible for consumers – will launch Minnesota further down the road to a clean, renewable energy future. This law ensures that Minnesota will have more than 35 times as much installed solar by 2020 as currently exists, creating good paying, permanent jobs throughout the state.

 “However, our work is not done. Increasing the state’s Renewable Electricity Standard is essential to supporting good jobs in this state while ensuring that Minnesota remains competitive in the wind industry. Failing to raise the bar now means that we are losing investment and job opportunities to other states.

“We know that Minnesotans support increased use of wind and solar. Promoting clean, renewable energy, reducing costs and red tape for these industries, and promote energy efficiency will create and maintain family-supporting jobs and ensure cleaner air to breathe, cleaner water to drink, and a healthy great outdoors for the next generation.

“This legislation represents a first step toward achieving that goal.”

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Clean Energy & Jobs Legislation Passes the Minnesota House

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7, 2013

CONTACT:
Cathy Kennedy
612.309.3951
cathryn@cathrynkennedy.com

Clean Energy & Jobs Legislation Passes the Minnesota House

Legislation Establishes 40 Percent by 2030 Renewable Electricity Standard,
Solar Energy Standard

[SAINT PAUL, MN] The Minnesota House of Representatives last night passed clean energy and jobs legislation, establishing a solar standard of 4 percent by 2025, as well as an increase in the state’s Renewable Electricity Standard to 40 percent by 2030 for investor-owned utilities. The bill passed the House by 70-63. The Minnesota Clean Energy & Jobs campaign released the following statement:

“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.

“Speaker Thissen and Representative Hortman deserve heartfelt thanks for ensuring that clean, renewable energy will be produced in Minnesota. Although there’s more to be done, this legislation will catalyze investment, creates new jobs, and shows that our state is open for renewable energy business.”

The legislation includes the following provisions:

  • Increases the state’s existing 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 its 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 their annual retail sales in subsidies for homeowners and businesses to install small solar systems.
  • Requires the Department of Commerce to calculate a “value of solar,” which would determine how much utilities would pay small producers. The amount would be adjusted annually.
  • The bill also would offer incentives to owners of solar equipment made in Minnesota.

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The Minnesota Clean Energy & Jobs campaign mobilizes more than 60 energy, labor, youth, faith, environment, and conservation groups, as well as clean energy businesses to answer Governor Mark Dayton’s call to establish Minnesota’s clean energy future – by advancing clean, renewable sources of energy while creating and supporting good jobs for Minnesotans. For more information: Visit http://www.cleanenergyjobs.mn/

New Energy Poll Results

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

 

Contact: Emily Rosenwasser, Emily.Rosenwasser@sierraclub.org, 312-251-1680 x119

Click here to view poll results: http://sc.org/MNPowerPoll

 New Poll Finds Minnesota Power Customers Overwhelmingly Support Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency, Shift Away From Fossil Fuels in Minnesota

As Minnesota Power Sets Its Long-Term Energy Plan, More than 8-in-10 Customers Say “We Need to Fundamentally Change the Way We Get Our Energy”

SAINT PAUL – A new poll released today by Peak Campaigns shows that voters in the Minnesota Power service area overwhelmingly favor using clean, renewable energy sources to power the state. The poll comes out as Minnesota’s long-term energy plan – otherwise known as its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) – is under review by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. As the utility plans the next 15 years of its energy mix, more than 8-in-10 voters agreed with the statement that “we need to fundamentally change the way we get our energy in Minnesota by modernizing the electric grid to maximize energy efficiency and wind and solar energy use.” The telephone poll reached 401 voters in the Minnesota Power service area between April 6 and 9, 2013. 

 

“The results of this poll show that Minnesota Power customers support innovation, conservation and health when it comes to energy,” said Jessica Tritsch, Organizing Representative with the Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign. “As Minnesota Power stays reliant on coal and other fossil fuels, the volatility and increasing costs of these fuel sources will ultimately fall to the utility’s customers, who are overwhelmingly in favor of clean energy development. As the Public Utilities Commission considers Minnesota Power’s long-term energy plan, the utility must be held accountable for the money they will pour into expensive retrofits and continued dependence on coal.”

 

In February, Minnesota Power announced that it will stop burning coal in one unit at its Taconite Harbor plant, and convert units at its Syl Laskin coal plant to burn natural gas in the next few years. Rather than phasing out coal at unit 4 at its Boswell plant, the utility announced plans to invest more than $350 million to retrofit a unit at the plant to comply with modern pollution standards.

 

 According to the poll, three-in-four voters agree that “Minnesota utilities should reduce our need for coal and other fossil fuels by increasing energy efficiency and using more clean, renewable energy.” Almost eight in ten voters (79 percent) support phasing out Minnesota’s oldest coal-burning power plants and replacing them with greater use of clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

 

“This poll gave a very clear indication that Minnesota Power customers are aware of the health costs of coal and concerned about how Minnesota’s current energy mix is going to affect future generations,” said Mark Mehringer, President of Peak Campaigns. “More than two-thirds of voters polled reported that they are concerned about the health risks posed by soot, smog, mercury and other pollution from Minnesota Power’s coal-fired power plants. A strong majority of voters – 61 percent – are concerned about climate change.”

 

Aside from popular support for phasing out coal-fired power plants, the poll also found that voters in the Minnesota Power service area were in favor of setting clean energy goals and undertaking large-scale efficiency efforts to conserve energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. An overwhelming majority (76 percent) support ensuring that electric utilities in Minnesota get at least 10 percent of their electricity from solar power by the year 2030.

 

“Despite cold temperatures, Minnesota has lots of solar energy potential,” said John Doberstein, Duluth Resident and Minnesota Power Customer.  “The solar industry is creating good, local jobs in Minnesota. And, Minnesota Power customers support investments in solar potential.”

 

Heavy industrial users like paper mills, factories and mines account for 70 percent of Minnesota Power’s demand. An overwhelming majority of voters polled in the Minnesota Power service area – 74 percent – support Minnesota’s largest energy users setting a goal of using 20 percent less energy by 2020 by eliminating energy waste. Eight in ten voters (83 percent) polled also support incentives for Minnesota’s largest energy users to become more energy efficient.

 

“Years of research and program experience shows that energy efficiency is the least-cost utility resource,” said Nate Aden, Industrial Energy Efficiency Expert and Research Fellow with the World Resources Institute. “Energy efficiency lowers utility capacity requirements and mitigates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing delivered energy use. The overwhelming support for energy efficiency demonstrated by this poll is an instance of Minnesota residential customers’ preferences aligning with the interests of society and the environment.”

To view full poll results, please click here: http://sc.org/MNPowerPoll

 

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