2015 Legislative agenda
Increasing Renewable Energy & Reducing Carbon Pollution
Minnesota currently sends $18 billion to other states and countries every year to meet our energy needs. Making the most of home grown energy will help keep energy dollars in Minnesota, provide critical revenue for rural communities and farmers, and spur the creation of new businesses and jobs. That’s why a law requiring Minnesota’s utilities to generate at least 25 percent of their power using renewable sources by 2025 (30 percent by 2020 for Xcel Energy) was passed with broad bipartisan support in 2007.
This year, Fresh Energy is working to increase Minnesota’s renewable energy standard, in order to broaden and build on the success of the 2007 law – creating jobs, boosting local economic development, and protecting Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, and streams. Fresh Energy also supports increased investment in distributed energy production in rural areas.
Minnesota’s transportation system has quickly become one of the most pressing issues facing our state. In order to build a transportation system that creates access and allows choice for all Minnesotans, Fresh Energy supports an all-the-above approach that provides long-term funding for all modes of transportation: walking, biking, driving, and public transportation.
Rather than thinking about transportation as just roads and bridges or just buses and bikes, we need to think about how each of these modes of transportation interacts. When you take your car to work, you might walk on a side walk. When you go for a bike ride, you might cross a bridge used to haul products from a manufacturer to a retail business. An all-the-above transportation policy would ensure that our system provides the access to, and choice of, various modes of transportation while decreasing our dependence on carbon based fuels.
Energy Efficiency and the Built Environment
Creating energy currently requires a complex grid with many moving parts. Energy efficiency programs optimize the performance of that grid while saving consumers and utilities money and creating thousands of jobs. Fresh Energy is working to extend Minnesota’s leadership in this area by improving our energy savings goals and offering flexibility for utilities to respond to market and technical advances by encouraging the use of things like Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and energy storage.
Fresh Energy is dedicated to policies that help Minnesota school buildings become healthy, comfortable, and reliable teaching spaces by increasing the awareness of the energy performance of school buildings and actively pursuing cost-effective solutions and assistance to achieving energy efficiency goals.
Clean Energy Grid
As the electrical grid continues to shift away from large centralized power plants to more distributed generation of electricity, it becomes more and more important to shift our policies and regulations to address those changes as well. Fresh Energy is actively engaged in discussions surrounding new utility business models taking place this session.