|  Jun 01, 2023

Episode 3: Minnesota Legislative Spotlight

Madelyn SmerilloMadelyn Smerillo, Regional Policy Manager
Madelyn SmerilloMadelyn Smerillo, Regional Policy Manager
Episode 3: Minnesota Legislative Spotlight

GridCourse by Clean Grid Alliance

On this episode of GridCourse, we have the pleasure of interviewing Representative Jamie Long as we discuss the groundbreaking Minnesota Clean Energy policies passed in 2023. Rep. Long is in his third term in the Minnesota House of Representatives and is the House Majority Leader of the MN DFL Caucus. In this episode, you will gain a better understanding of Minnesota's new clean energy policies and what they mean for the state's energy future. Majority Leader Long joins us to discuss the innovative and forward-thinking policies that were passed this session, which will help drive Minnesota's clean energy transition. Rep. Long will give listeners a behind-the-scenes peek at the legislative process and provide key insights on the development and passage of recent clean energy policies, and offer valuable insights into the motivations, challenges, and opportunities that come with advancing clean energy initiatives at a state level as we explore the key goals, strategies, and potential impacts these policies will make to the state's energy landscape.

Together, we will dive into the various components of several policies, touching on how they promote renewable energy, energy efficiency measures, and integrate emerging technologies such as battery storage.

As we reflect on this year's clean energy successes in Minnesota, we will apply these critical insights to inform our efforts across the Midwest.

Key Policy Highlights

HF 7: Minnesota's 100% Carbon Free Standard

This year, Minnesota passed a law that sets a new 100% carbon-free electricity standard by 2040 and increases Minnesota's Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to 55% by 2035. It also provides the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) with the tools needed to achieve the RES and Carbon Free Standards. While the bill marks an important milestone in Minnesota's clean energy transition, we chat with Rep. Long on the history of the legislation as well as its implementation. What are the next steps to make our goals a reality? Learn more here.

HF 1656: State Competitiveness Fund

Under the Minnesota Competitiveness Fund, $115 million from the General Fund has been allocated to match federal money coming to the state through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act. This funding is intended to provide a financial boost to important initiatives that can help drive economic growth and enhance the state's overall competitiveness in the clean energy sector.

HF 2310: Energy Storage Provisions within the Energy & Environment Omnibus Bill

The legislature passed an omnibus bill on energy and environment that encompassed key provisions aimed at promoting energy storage systems. The bill defined energy storage systems, set permitting jurisdiction, and designated siting practices until the PUC establishes dedicated rules for energy storage implementation. These policies provide a clear regulatory framework and facilitate the adoption of energy storage, unlocking its potential for a more sustainable and reliable energy future in Minnesota. Learn more here.

The bill also directs the Dept. of Commerce to study the optimal capacity of energy storage in 2030, 2035, and 2040 in order to meet the requirements under the carbon free standard and RES. 

HF 2887: Transmission in Highway Rights of Way within the Transportation Omnibus Bill

A significant provision regarding transmission lines in highway rights of way was included in the Minnesota Transportation omnibus bill and signed into law. This provision serves as a crucial safeguard, ensuring continued access to highway rights of way for siting transmission lines, thereby promoting efficiency in our clean energy transition. Despite opposition from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which advocated for a more gradual approach, this provision prevailed, highlighting the legislature's commitment to advancing clean energy infrastructure. By preserving the utilization of highway rights of way for transmission lines, Minnesota can effectively expand its renewable energy capacity and facilitate the reliable and sustainable transmission of clean energy across the state. Learn more here.

All this and more on Episode 3 of GridCourse!