The Energy Department recommends investments in the electric grid to protect it from the severe storms that may occur more frequently because of global warming, as well as from physical and cyber-attacks.
As part of this year’s omnibus energy bill, state lawmakers passed into law the goal of transitioning the state to a renewable energy economy that doesn’t use of a drop of gasoline or a lump of coal to power itself. A House-Senate panel is now trying to figure out a framework to achieve the goal.
The House passed its jobs and energy budget bill on Wednesday night 73-59. The bill has increased funding for a passel of economic development projects and also requires investor-owned utilities to produce 1.5 percent of their power from solar sources by 2020.
The Senate passed its omnibus energy bill on Friday 37-26. The bill is a pared-down version of this session’s push by environmental groups to establish a solar mandate.
The centerpiece of the bill is a new standard for investor-owned utilities like Xcel Energy to generate 4 percent of their electricity from solar sources by 2025.
The House passed its energy policy bill 70-63 despite concerns that the bill initially lacked the votes to pass. The bill requires investor-owned utilities to produce 4 percent of their power by 2025 from solar sources. The bill drew criticism from Republicans for its exemptions for timber and taconite mining in northeastern Minnesota, moves that they claimed were made to win votes.
The Rev. Mark Peters, executive director of the Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota, brings his denomination's faith-based mission to bear in the Capitol.
DFL-controlled energy committees in the House and Senate have labored this month on omnibus legislation designed to address concerns about climate change and to boost Minnesota’s renewable energy industry.
The outlook for energy policy is quite different as DFLers get set to take control of both the House and Senate in the 2013 legislative session. Business groups that had pursued an aggressive agenda in the last two years of GOP control will likely adopt a more defensive posture.
Anderson was voted down in the chamber in which she served for nearly 20 years on a 37-29 party-line vote on Monday. Democrats defended their former Senate colleague and her record at the PUC, which regulates energy and telecommunications matters in the state.
Former DFL Sen. Ellen Anderson's appointment to lead the Public Utilities Commissioner under Gov. Mark Dayton passed through the Senate Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee without recommendation, and will now face a full vote on the Senate floor.
The House has approved a bill that would remove the current ban on buying electricity generated from coal-fired power plants. The bill passed 76-54 with the support of six DFLers.
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