Legislation targeting the full decarbonization of Minnesota’s energy supply was passed by the state Senate earlier this week and heads to Governor Walz for final approval. Should the bill be enacted, Minnesota utilities will be obligated to transition to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040.
“The 100% by 2040 legislation puts Minnesota at the forefront of sustainable energy,” Democratic Sen. Nick Frentz, of North Mankato said in a statement on Thursday night. “This bill demonstrates that Minnesota takes climate change seriously and that we must act now to create an energy production system that is reliable, affordable, and responsible.”
The bill will enact two standards for renewable and carbon-free energy.
The bill will increase the required share of renewables to 55% by 2035. It will also set up a new carbon-free standard for utilities in Minnesota. According to it, their share of carbon-free electricity will have to incrementally increase to 80% by 2030, 90% by 2035 and finally 100% by 2040.
One important distinction that has to be pointed out is that carbon-free doesn’t coincide with renewable. The latter can be hydropower, biomass, hydrogen and nuclear, while renewables are classified as wind and solar.
GOP state senators criticized the bill, with Senator Andrew Matthews saying: “Democrats are pushing for strict mandates to force utilities and our energy producers to use carbon-free energy at a pace that current technology does not support. Hoping that cleaner technology becomes available along the way up to the goals is not a plan.”
Republican North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum have already shared their thoughts about the bill by saying that it will prevent North Dakota to export power from its natural gas and coal plants to Minnesota. Top ND officials have also threatened with a lawsuit on the matter, hoping that it will have the same result as previous litigation from 2007 when a federal court sided with North Dakota.