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Governor signs renewable energy requirement

February 22, 2007

Governor signs renewable energy requirement

Governor first outlined 25 x '25 goal in 2006 State of the State, emphasized it again this year

Saint Paul - Minnesota moves to the head of the pack of states with renewable energy standards today with Governor Tim Pawlenty's signature on bipartisan legislation that sets a renewable energy requirement of 25 percent by 2025.

Governor Pawlenty first proposed a "25 by '25" goal in his 2006 State of the State address.   The Governor renewed the call to advance Minnesota's leadership on renewable energy as part of his "Next Generation Energy Initiative" unveiled in December 2006 and again in his 2007 State of the State address.

The legislation signed today builds on significant laws proposed by the Governor and signed into law in the past few years, including a doubling of the state's ethanol standard to E20 by 2013; promotion of locally owned renewable energy projects through the use of a new financing tool known as the Community-Based Energy Development tariff; and the Mercury Reduction Act of 2006. 

"In many ways, Minnesota has been the birthplace of the renewable energy movement," Governor Pawlenty said.   "Today, we are leading the nation on the path to a better, cleaner, more independent energy future.  I want to thank all of the legislators and stakeholders who worked together to achieve this milestone in a positive, productive way."  

The bill signed by the Governor requires energy companies to provide 25 percent of power from renewable sources by 2025.  Xcel Energy, which supplies approximately half of the electricity in the state, is required to provide 30 percent from renewable sources by 2020. 

An additional 5,000 megawatts of energy from renewable sources would be added to Minnesota's electricity resources, roughly eight times more than currently comes from renewables.  Future renewable energy would include electricity produced by wind turbines, biomass, hydrogen and solar power.

Senator Ellen Anderson (DFL-St. Paul) and Representative Aaron Peterson (DFL-Appleton) were chief authors of the legislation. 

The Governor took the opportunity to encourage the legislature to pass the other initiatives contained in his "Next Generation Energy Initiative," including his plan to increase the number of E85 gas pumps in the state from 300 to 1800, encourage local ownership of energy production to benefit rural Minnesota, promote the development of cellulosic ethanol and advanced biomass technologies, increase conservation and reduce carbon emissions.

"This is a significant step, but there is still much more work that needs to be accomplished this session," Governor Pawlenty said. "Rather than stopping here, I hope this bill will provide encouragement for us to tackle the remaining important energy issues in front of us.  We can do this in a way that allows for the right response to changing markets, consumer demand and regulatory conditions and maintains reliability and affordable energy rates and costs." 

Additional proposals in the Governor's "Next Generation Energy Initiative" are:

More Renewables
  • E85 Everywhere To continue Minnesota's leadership in E85, Governor Pawlenty is proposing the E85 Everywhere program which would quintuple the number of E85 pumps in the state by 2010, an increase from 300 now to 1800 in four years. In addition, the Governor's proposal will help retail station owners with grants to partially offset the cost of E85 pump installations.

  • Promote the development of cellulosic ethanol and advanced biomass technologies in Minnesota
    Financial resources should be available to assist and encourage the growth of Next Generation biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol, and advanced bio-gas (gasification of biomass) technologies to offset natural gas use, with a focus on farmer ownership.  

More Energy Conservation
  • Reduce Minnesota's fossil fuel energy use Governor Pawlenty set an aggressive energy saving goal for Minnesotans to reduce use of fossil-fuel energy by 15% by 2015.  The Governor said that the goal is achievable through increases in energy efficiency and renewable resources.

  • Transition the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) from a spending  requirement program to "energy saved" program The amount of electricity and natural gas we save each year can be significantly increased through additional energy efficiency and conservation measures. Governor Pawlenty is proposing to change Minnesota's utility energy conservation program from a spending program to an energy savings program and by requiring utilities to reduce their retail sales by 1.5% annually. 

  • Set as a goal of 1,000 Energy Star commercial buildings in the state by 2010 Currently, Minnesota has 87 schools, office buildings, and churches that have received the Energy Star award.  Governor Pawlenty is proposing that 1,000 building become Energy Star certified throughout the state.

Less Carbon Emissions
  • Establish stakeholder process Governor Pawlenty is inviting the nationally recognized Center for Climate Strategies to Minnesota to conduct a wide-ranging and inclusive stakeholder process and to develop a plan to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota over the coming years.

  • Utility offset "Minnesota's electric utilities should prepare for the future by offsetting carbon emissions from new fossil-fuel generation sources," Governor Pawlenty said. "As we look to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we should not make the situation worse while we try to make it better."

  • Climate Exchange Governor Pawlenty is proposing that the State of Minnesota join the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX)  or some other national registry that will helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions from state operations. The CCX is a greenhouse gas (GHG) emission registry, reduction and trading system.  Members make a voluntary but legally binding commitment to reduce GHG emissions.