During this legislature, Minnesota leaders wasted no time working on a strong clean power bill that will lead to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, reduce harmful air pollution, create more high-paying jobs, and set the stage for economic viability. wide, climate protection.
Pro-climate leaders have been pushing for years to reclaim Minnesota’s early leadership on climate action, when it passed the strongest renewable energy standard in the country in 2007. Now with pro-climate trifectas in the Senate, House of Representatives and the state governor’s office. In addition to strong voter support for climate protection, they have a great opportunity – and a mandate — to get it done.
That’s why lawmakers and Gov. Waltz should seize this moment to put Minnesota on the path to 100% clean electricity and use those policies to institute strict climate pollution limits capable of meeting the state’s climate goals .
How the bill will boost clean energy
The 100% Clean Electricity Act, currently under consideration in the Minnesota legislature, outlines a path to full decarbonization of the power grid by 2040. More specifically, it would require electric utilities to deliver 80% carbon-free electricity to their customers by 2030, 90% by 2030, 2035, and 100% by 2040.
When it comes to tackling climate change, accelerating the transition to 100% clean electricity is critical for two reasons:
- Clean energy reduces emissions in the short term. Studies by EDF and others have consistently shown that deep emissions reductions come from the energy sector the fastest way to reduce overall emissions this decade, and critical to meeting our national commitment of a 50-52% reduction in aggregate emissions. reach beyond Earlier reductions in the power sector mean less cumulative climate impact is added to the atmosphere over time – a critical metric that determines the magnitude of long-term climate impacts.
- Clean electricity forms the backbone of a clean economy. It not only helps to reduce the climate impact of electricity, but also Unlocks discounts from other sectors such as transport and buildingswho increasingly rely on clean electricity.
Both of these things mean that focusing on reducing emissions from electricity – as the 100% bill does – is an essential part of moving towards a safer and healthier future. To continue this momentum, legislators should also pass policies targeting climate pollution across the economy for Minnesota to regain its climate leadership and ensure a more secure future for the state.
Unlocking the savings on utility bills, jobs and health benefits that Minnesotans want
With new clean energy tax credits pouring into the state from the Inflation Mitigation Act in 2023, there’s never been a better time to invest in low-cost clean power resources like solar, wind, and battery storage. Already, utilities are realizing the big shift in the cost of clean electricity that results from the law — Michigan’s DTE Energy, for example, has said they expect new federal incentives could be appreciated Savings of $500 million for ratepayers over 20 years. A 100% clean power law would give utilities that power Minnesotans more reason to take full advantage of these tax credits and maximize savings for their customers.
The expansion required to meet the statutory objectives would also grow the state’s clean energy economy, which has 58,000 jobs in energy efficiency and clean energy. This is a tremendous benefit that Minnesota voters understand and are keen to take advantage of: A poll commissioned by EDF Action found a large majority of Minnesota voters believe so Clean energy creates high-quality jobs and strengthens the country’s economy. The bill also requires utilities to make efforts to retain and retrain workers at coal or natural gas plants that are about to be phased out.
Reducing the amount of coal and natural gas powering the grid will do this also reduce harmful air pollutants such as soot and smog, which are wreaking havoc on our health and placing a disproportionate burden on communities of color and low-income communities. The bill calls for air pollution reductions nationwide, particularly in communities that have historically been exposed to harmful air pollution and other environmental injustices.
Setting the stage for strict pollution limits that can meet government goals
A Clean Electricity Act would represent an important step forward in Minnesota’s climate goals and could set the stage for the passage of additional laws and regulations capable of ensuring reductions in climate pollution in other sectors of the economy. Minnesota, through an executive order signed by Gov Waltz in 2019, recommitted to reducing its climate pollution by at least 30% below 2005 levels by 2025. As part of its membership in the US climate alliance, the state has committed to reducing pollution by 50-52% by 2030 and to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. However, previous analysis by EDF has shown that The state is off course to meet its 2025 goal – even until 2030.
To ensure Minnesota corrects course and meets its climate goals when promised, Legislators should use the momentum created by the 100% law to consider additional laws that can limit pollution consistent with their goals. Several states, including Washington, Oregon, California and the 12 states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, currently have some form of pollution limits in place. Additional climate legislation to reduce emissions in other sectors, such as setting an annually decreasing limit on climate pollution and requiring government agencies to create firm, enforceable rules to meet those limits, would maximize confidence that emissions are in line with what we know to reduce Climate science tells us it is necessary. This approach is an ideal complement to other climate policies such as clean electricity targets and additional sector- or technology-specific policies that lawmakers and the governor should consider, as it accelerates progress towards a clean economy and provides a backbone that ensures that Minnesota ‘s climate goals will be met .
Minnesota lawmakers are coming out of the gate this term with a strong clean power bill that is an essential step in putting the state on track to ensure healthier communities, strengthen its economy, and make energy savings for homes to back up.
2023 could herald a new era for bold climate action in Minnesota.