Governor Tim Walz today signed into law legislation establishing a Minnesota carbon-free electricity standard. With Senate File 4, Minnesota will take steps to lower greenhouse gas emissions, combat the climate crisis, and create new clean energy jobs. The new law ensures Minnesotans will continue to have reliable, affordable, and safe energy resources. Governor Walz signed the bill alongside legislators, labor, and environmental advocates at the St. Paul Regional Labor Center.
“Climate change impacts lives and livelihoods in every corner of our state,” said Governor Walz. “Minnesota will continue to lead the way on combatting climate change, and we’ll create clean energy jobs in the process. This bill is an essential investment in our future that will continue to pay off for generations to come.”
“Climate change threatens many of the things we love most about our state – which is why we’re going to lead Minnesota to 100% clean electricity by 2040,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “As we work to make Minnesota the best state to raise a family, investing in our climate future is an essential part of building a bright future for our kids. This bill is good news for Minnesota, and our country as the North Star State leads the way.”
“We are excited for Minnesota to continue to lead the clean energy transition with its new goal to provide 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040,” said Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy – Minnesota. “This legislation will provide opportunities to innovate, create jobs, incorporate new technologies into the grid, and work closely with the communities that are home to our employees and power plants on a successful transition.”
“Fresh Energy celebrates Minnesota’s new 100% clean electricity law and applauds everyone involved in helping make it a reality. An affordable and reliable carbon-free electric supply is the foundation for Minnesota’s work to cut carbon pollution in all sectors of our economy,” said Fresh Energy Executive Director Michael Noble. “This bill is just the beginning, and Fresh Energy is looking forward to continued collaboration with all the stakeholders and Minnesotans who contributed to making this bill law. This landmark achievement by Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Legislature will benefit Minnesotans for years to come across our economy, environment, communities, and beyond.”
According to the recently published Greenhouse Gas Report, electrical utilities in Minnesota have made significant strides toward carbon-free energy, with a decline in carbon emissions of 54% from 2005 to 2020. The new law gives utilities the planning time and flexibility they need to reach the 100% goal while maintaining reliable and affordable electricity for Minnesotans.
The bill establishes a standard for utilities to supply Minnesota customers with electricity generated or procured from carbon-free resources, beginning at an amount equal to 80% of retail sales for public utility customers in Minnesota in 2030 and increasing every five years to reach 100% for all electric utilities by 2040. The bill also requires that, by 2035, an amount equal to at least 55% of an electric utility’s total retail electric sales to customers in Minnesota must be generated or procured from eligible energy technologies.
The bill encourages utilities to locate new energy-generating facilities in communities where fossil-fuel-generating plants have been retired or are scheduled for retirement and prioritize projects that maximize local employment, including employment of workers from communities where generation has been retired.
The bill also expands the benefits that the PUC is to consider when implementing this energy standard to include:
- The creation of high-quality jobs in Minnesota pays wages that support families.
- Recognition of the rights of workers to organize and unionize.
- Ensuring that workers have the necessary tools, opportunities, and economic assistance to adapt successfully during the energy transition, particularly in environmental justice areas.
- Ensuring that all Minnesotans share the benefits of clean and renewable energy and the opportunity to participate fully in the clean economy.
- Ensuring that statewide air emissions are reduced, particularly in environmental justice areas.
- The provision of affordable electric service to Minnesotans, particularly to low-income consumers.