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Dayton signs Executive Orders that create comprehensive energy savings plan for state government

April 08, 2011
New goals will generate millions in cost savings, create thousands of jobs as part of energy efficiency and sustainability efforts
St. Paul, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today signed three executive orders which, together, create a comprehensive energy conservation and sustainability action plan for state government, with a goal of generating millions in budget savings and creating thousands of new jobs.  
Executive Order 11-12 directs state agencies to identify and make cost-effective energy improvements in state facilities, and sets a goal of a 20 percent reduction in state energy consumption.  Using existing resources and programs, such as guaranteed energy savings contracts, state-owned offices will be assessed for energy efficiency and cost-effective changes will be implemented; currently, the state owns more than 30 million square feet of space. These new efficiencies will result in millions in annual savings to the state and create as many as 3,000 jobs over the next five years.
Energy efficiency improvements can yield substantial savings to Minnesota taxpayers.  For example, since the Minnesota History Center started tracking and improving its energy consumption in 2005, the Center’s energy usage has dropped 26.8 percent, for a savings of $380,000.
This new executive order also provides necessary technical support to local governments and school districts to make energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements in their buildings.
This initiative has broad support from business and labor, and was one of the suggestions raised at the Governor’s recent meeting with the Building Jobs Coalition.  It is based on efforts in Pennsylvania, where they have led an Energy Savings and Job Creation initiative since 2000.  Over the last ten years, the State of Pennsylvania has generated $640 million in energy savings and created 11,050 jobs.
Executive Order 11-13 directs state agencies to implement new practices and policies that save money and reduce the environmental impact of state government operations.  This order combines five previous executive orders, focusing efforts and take Minnesota to the next level of environmental performance.
Under this order, Minnesota State agencies will create annual sustainability plans that identify specific, measurable goals, to include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, reducing waste disposal by 60 percent, and other similar measures of sustainability.  Through this effort, state agencies will reduce pollution, use less energy, reduce the use of petroleum fuels, all while saving money and helping create jobs here in Minnesota, for example, by purchasing Minnesota made ethanol/E85 for use in state-owned motor vehicles.
State agencies and local units of government have already taken action to implement sustainable practices and demonstrated the cost savings that can be achieved. For example, by adding a recycling program, the Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC) reduced its waste-hauling needs, saving nearly $100,000 annually.
The third executive order, 11-14, renames the state’s Office of Energy Security, housed within the Department of Commerce, as the Division of Energy Resources.  The new name reflects the broader scope of the energy division’s work, which includes planning and research around new energy facilities and transmission, the promotion of clean energy, and the administration of critical resources such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Weatherization Assistance Program.
Governor Dayton was joined at today’s signing by Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon, and by agency heads who will lead these important efforts: Commissioner Spencer Cronk of the Department of Administration (Admin), Commissioner Mike Rothman of the Department of Commerce, and Bill Grant, Deputy Commerce Commissioner and head of the newly renamed Division of Energy Resources.  The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA) and Department of Economic Development (DEED) also play lead roles in these conservation and sustainability efforts.
“These Executive Orders allow the state to build on an established track record of cost-savings through energy efficiencies” said Commissioner Cronk.  “In the Capitol Complex alone, we have lowered our energy consumption by more than 14% and have saved the state over $1.2 million in less than three years.  We can build on this success and expand our best practices to other publicly-owned buildings.”
“Energy conservation and efficiency saves the environment, grows jobs, and improves our health now and for our kids’ future,” said Commissioner Rothman. “With today’s executive order, the state will lead by example and show how we can achieve energy efficiencies that cut costs and protect the environment, all to help improve our health and economy.”
"This Guaranteed Energy Savings Executive Order is truly a progressive jobs program, made possible through partnerships with the private sector,” said Commissioner Mark Phillips of DEED. “We are pleased to put as many as 3,000 construction workers back to work over the next five years. The Construction Industry has been one of the hardest hit, and it was an issue we wanted to address quickly when the Governor took office."
“Many Minnesota companies are increasing environmentally-friendly practices for their businesses and it makes sense for government to do the same,” said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Paul Aasen. “Not only are these initiatives good for the environment, they also provide on-going cost savings for day-to-day operations.”