Clean energy advocates in Minnesota are concerned new legislation that could soon be signed by Gov. Mark Dayton will diminish regulatory oversight and reduce energy efficiency programs in rural Minnesota.
The Midwest Solar Expo has evolved into “a very utility focused show” with an increasing focus on grid-scale technology, according to event organizers.
Minnesota regulators recently heard proposals from Xcel Energy to introduce a sophisticated new electric grid software platform and to build an energy storage system instead of a substation.
While Northeast and West Coast states led a recent clean energy ranking of U.S. states, recent advances helped push Minnesota into the top ten.
Clean energy and environmental advocates are concerned that several provisions in a Minnesota Jobs and Energy Omnibus bill would remove regulatory oversight of programs, shift power from experts to legislators and potentially kills jobs in a growing sector.
Juhl Energy Inc. has announced a partnership with a Florida entrepreneur to develop community wind in Minnesota that will seek of the financial support of residents in the area where the projects will be located.
Following a two-year study on how to transform utility regulation in Minnesota, clean energy groups are now closely involved with pilot projects that begin to implement some of those changes envisioned.
As Minnesota lawmakers seek more oversight over how $47 million in Volkswagen settlement funds are spent, advocates warn bills in the legislature could cause the state to lose the money altogether. Attorney Leili Fatehi, owner and principal of the public benefit corporation Apparatus, says the consent decree requires that states follow a certain process in distributing money from the settlement and several proposed bills could negate the settlement. “It’s pretty reckless legislation,” said Fatehi, who would like to see some of the money spent on environmental justice initiatives to help clean up disadvantaged neighborhoods. The debate over who gets to hold the purse strings of the settlement money pits the governor’s office and executive branch against legislators who firmly believe they should – and will – have a say in which projects receive money. Fatehi said the tussle is being watched closely by the Great Plains Institute, Fresh Energy (which publishes Midwest Energy News) and other organizations in the energy field.
Today clean energy businesses and advocates will lobby the Minnesota legislature for the state’s first ever “Clean Energy Business Day.”
Wind power represents more than 80 percent of the new electricity generating capacity built in the Midwest and Great Plains states over the past five years as the industry continues to grow, according to a report released today.