Throughout the 2017 legislative session, Fresh Energy is continuing to monitor key energy legislation in both the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate as it moves forward.
Fresh Energy’s experts are working hard to ensure that Minnesota policies:
- Protect the freedom of Minnesota families, businesses, schools, and other organizations to pursue their own renewable energy investments.
- Encourage the transition from imported fuels to local electric energy sources like wind and solar across Minnesota’s economy.
- Ensure that there are opportunities for private capital to spur economic growth and speed the transition to clean electricity.
If you are interested in weighing in on specific legislation, please send us an email with “Get involved at the Capitol” in the subject line and continue to check this page as we add our analysis of key bills throughout the 2017 session.
Bills to support (contact your lawmaker to urge support)
- HF1772/SF1531: Builds upon Minnesota’s existing Renewable Energy Standard which was originally enacted in 2007 with overwhelming bipartisan support. Electric utilities would now procure 50 percent of their energy from renewable energy technologies by 2030.
- HF1727/SF1510: Public schools would now track their energy usage in the state’s existing B3 Benchmarking tool, creating greater transparency and awareness of energy use over time.
- HF1923/SF1863, HF1497/SF1174: Each bill creates incentives for rooftop solar or energy storage, heat pumps, and other small scale energy systems. The small tax rebates would help releases millions in private capital into energy businesses in communities across Minnesota while helping families, farmers, and businesses pursue local energy options.
Bills to oppose (contact your lawmaker with any concerns)
- HF113/SF85: Misses the opportunity to deploy an even greater amount of wind, solar, and demand response resources in favor of a $1 billion gas plant without going through the standard consumer protection process at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Ultimately, all the families, businesses, and schools who pay energy bills will be on the hook for the cost of this plant.
- HF234/SF141: Removes consumer protections for families, businesses, and farmers served by municipal and cooperative utilities customers who invest in their own energy facilities. Right now, cooperative customers are challenging fees as high as $83 per month at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. This bill would remove their ability to have those fees reviewed by independent experts at the Commission.
- HF235/SF214: Abolishes the Renewable Development Fund that currently pays for energy innovation projects in favor of a political process at the Legislature that cuts out any independent oversight by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
- HF1001/SF745: Cripples Minnesota’s nation leading building energy code by requiring technical review and rulemaking to be done at the State Capitol. This would lead to substandard, inefficient homes being built, with families on the hook to deal with costly repairs and expensive monthly bills.
- HF1922, HF1133/SF2029: Each bill asks electric car owners to pay a surcharge on their annual registration fee as high as $125, discouraging the use of cars that refuel on local energy provided by local utilities. Analysis of sales tax, registration fees, and gas tax revenue shows that electric cars already pay more than gas vehicles toward road maintenance and construction.
- HF2278/SF2054: Exempts small utilities (cooperatives under 5,000, municipals under 1,000) from the state’s Conservation Improvement Program. In total, 11 co-ops and 37 munis would be carved out, leaving more than 62,000 rural customers without the same opportunities to cut energy waste and save money on their utility bills. We’re committed to working with both co-ops and munis to make improvements to CIP now and moving forward, but this bill moves in the wrong direction.
Bills to watch
- HF1377/SF1088: Indefinitely suspends residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans in Minnesota that could finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for single-family homes. Establishes a stakeholder process to assess and develop changes to residential PACE programs for recommendation to the Minnesota Legislature. Recognizing consumer protection concerns supporting this bill, Fresh Energy believes a temporary suspension of residential PACE loans for the duration of the stakeholder process is a more balanced approach.
- HF1882/SF1649: Allows for an additional community solar compliance option under the Solar Energy Standard small system requirement and clarifies resource planning language for Minnesota Power and Otter Tail Power only. Recognizing the concerns of Minnesota Power and Otter Tail Power customers interested in rooftop solar, Fresh Energy will continue to push for rooftop solar options as utility compliance plans go to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.