At Minnesota’s electric cooperatives, our priority is to provide sustainable, reliable, and affordable electricity. With that goal in mind, I want to provide an update on significant legislation that Governor Walz signed into law on Tuesday.
The legislation calls for Minnesota’s electric sector to be 100% Carbon Free by 2040. While Minnesota’s rural electric cooperatives had significant reservations with the original bill, we are pleased to report that the final package is better than what was first proposed, despite our continued concerns about affordability and reliability.
Our grassroots efforts were successful in getting legislators from both sides of the aisle to work with us to add amendments that addressed some of our major concerns. Thank you to everyone who reached out to your legislators and made your voice heard. It made a difference!
Minnesota’s electric cooperatives have long been working and planning toward a sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy future. As part of that effort, we remain determined to do everything possible to ensure that the heat will be on in the dead of winter and the AC available in the dog days of summer. Furthermore, we want the electricity we provide to always be affordable for your family while being good stewards of our planet.
The Minnesota Rural Electric Association successfully secured changes to the legislation that will provide more flexibility in implementing its mandates. As one example, we sought and obtained language providing greater flexibility in the use of renewable energy credits (RECs) as an option to comply with the carbon reduction mandates. We also received a reduction in the bill’s steep timeline, allowing co-ops to reach 60% carbon-free generation by 2030, rather than 80%. All utilities will still need to be 100% carbon-free by 2040. However, the legislation contains “off-ramps” that allow utilities to ask the Public Utilities Commission to modify the legislation’s requirements if needed to protect reliability or affordability.
There were other adjustments Minnesota’s rural electric providers advocated for to improve reliability and affordability that did not make it into the final bill, but we remain hopeful that additional concerns can be addressed in the future.
In the end, we want you to know that your electric cooperatives are working to provide an environmentally friendly energy future while keeping the reliability and affordability you expect. We ask that you stay engaged as more legislation moves through the process and can sign up for alerts at https://voicesforcooperativepower.com/minnesota/.