Minnesota needs a community fund for electrifying outdoor equipment

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Minnesotans are switching to electric outdoor equipment to cut emissions, save money, and improve air quality, but many across the state are being left behind. As we electrify everyday items, we need to ensure the entry point for participating in Minnesota’s clean energy future is easy and affordable for communities most impacted by air pollution.

How can we do this? By establishing a statewide grant program that provides inclusive grants to residents that experience the worst impacts of air pollution and designs a program that works for all Minnesotans with the input of impacted communities.

Outdoor equipment most pollutes communities that already have the most air pollution

Communities of color and renters paying <$700/mo are most exposed

Electric equipment is more affordable and reliable, and has workforce and health impacts

  • Electric equipment helps Minnesotans save money. It’s cheaper to power outdoor equipment with electricity than gas, and electric motors require far less maintenance over time.
  • Electric equipment often has a higher up-front cost but pays for itself in as little as three years and is more reliable than traditional equipment.
  • Electric equipment improves air quality and saves on health costs.
  • Workforce: Electric equipment supports small and new business development and innovation.

Gas-powered outdoor equipment has serious climate and air pollution risks.

Why do we need a grant program for electrifying outdoor equipment?

Traditional lawn care equipment emits harmful gases like carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxides that are bad for our climate and the health of our communities. Kids, older adults, and people with lung or heart disease are at increased risk.

These threats fall hardest on Black and Indigenous Minnesotans, and other communities of color. As more Minnesotans electrify their outdoor equipment, we must ensure no one is left behind.

Better equipment, healthier communities

Many people have already switched to electric outdoor equipment to create healthier communities—and it’s time to ensure no community is left behind. Take a leaf out of the playbook of a south Minneapolis lawn care company that switched its equipment to be all-electric five years ago, including its:

  • lawn mowers
  • leaf blowers
  • edgers
  • weed whackers

By switching from gas to battery-powered equipment powered by clean energy, this company is sharing with residents the benefits of reducing air pollution, climate emissions, noise, and costs without sacrificing convenience or reliability!

This success story underscores the positive impact that electric outdoor equipment provides to foster healthy communities. Now, we must act to ensure every community, regardless of race, income, or living situation, can create healthier neighborhoods for an equitable, cleaner future.

There’s already support for electric equipment grant programs

Last year, Colorado passed a law setting a 30% discount on electric lawn mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers, and snow blowers that residents and businesses can access at point-of-sale at participating retailers.

Together, Community Stabilization Project and Fresh Energy are building support for a similar statewide program in Minnesota—reach out to Metric Giles, executive director, Community Stabilization Project at metriccsp@gmail.com or Anna Johnson, senior manager, state and local affairs, Fresh Energy at johnson@fresh-energy.org if you’re interested in learning more and supporting this work and legislation.