Minnesota-Senate

Minnesota Senate May Vote for the New Green Legislation

Politics

The officials in charge of environmental issues have devised a platform called “Clean Energy First.” This plan for curbing fossil fuel exploitation has attracted a lot of public attention so far.  What is more important, it gained significant support with both the Democrats and the Republicans.

This environmental project that comes from Minnesota stands on more solid foundations than the proposition devised in the DFL (Democrat-Farmer-Labour) party offices. According to the latter, the use of carbon in the energy grid should be entirely abolished by 2050.

Advantages That ‘Clean Energy First’ Would Bring

On the other hand, one of the Republican representatives that sponsored “Clean Energy First” stated that this proposal was aimed at power companies. It would make it harder for these power plants to use new fossil fuel sources.

This senator added that he was convinced this bill would turn the state of Minnesota into a leader in the battle for clean and healthy energy production.

Here is what “Clean Energy First” is all about and why it has attracted so much attention in Minnesota’s main legislative institution. The crucial factor that makes this proposal different from the other ones tackling environmental issues is the change in the way the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) would make decisions in the future.

Utility companies have to file their long-term plans considering the energy sources they are going to use to this Commission for approval. The state legislation obliges the PCU to determine if these ideas meet the state targets and contribute to the decrease of greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, these power plant projects have to work in public interest to get a green light.

“Clean Energy First” is going to reinforce this demand for turning to “green technology.” According to this environmental proposal, power plants are going to be able to utilize fossil fuel sources only in case they can not find a “greener” energy resource that would match up to their needs.

In addition, this “Clean Energy First” bill provides an updated definition of renewable energy that comprises technology that increases power efficiency, for example. Furthermore, power plants are going to be able to rely on different eco-friendly resources to produce energy.

One of the Minessota’s Commerce department officials stated that this environmental act challenges the common-placed notion that natural gas is the only energy source that can replace fossil fuels in power plants. This bill offers a much more environmentally friendly alternative.

There are still numerous discussions on the subject of natural gas and its place in the energy production industry, according to this official, especially nowadays, with an array of much cheaper renewable energy sources on the scene.

‘Clean Energy First’

The new bill brought innovative energy resources into public focus. This piece of environmental legislation might determine the future of the energy policy of Minnesota. The state’s DOC claimed that 70% of generated energy would be renewable within 20 years.

Now that the world faces numerous environmental challenges, governments and legislations worldwide are searching for a feasible way to decrease carbon emissions.

What Are Xcells’ Plans?

One of the energy distributors, Xcell, has obliged to expel carbon from its energy production in the next thirty years. They are confident they will rely on renewable solar and wind energy, as well as nuclear and natural gas sources.

According to this company’s plans, they are going to stop using coal in the following ten years. The problem is that most of the other power plants haven’t devised any alternative plans for using more eco-friendly resources.

This flexible environmental bill was an original idea of one nonprofit organization that soon gained significant political support of those representatives who fervently fought for green energy sources.

This Bill Didn’t Stick to a Rigid Time Frame

Center for Energy and the Environment, the organization that stands behind the “Clean Energy First” project, pointed out that this was not a proposal with rigid timelines or conditions imposed on the energy suppliers. This bill would allow for power plants to use the full potential of clean energy resources while staying reliable energy providers for their customers.

“Clean Energy First” legislative proposal has significant support not only from the state representatives but also from the North American Union sections in Minnesota and North Dakota because it stated that renewable energy developers should employ locals.

There were some reservations expressed on behalf of the representatives of the MREA (Minnesota Rural Electric Association). However, they agreed that a much looser approach to the implementation of this act is a positive move.

Senator Senjem, who sponsored this bill, claimed that this proposal would make renewable energy source research and technology develop at a faster pace in the state of Minnesota. This bill got considerable support from Republican representatives, as well as the approval of relevant bodies in the state Senate.

There Is Some Opposition to This Bill

There was strong opposition to this proposal coming from major industries and some politicians. Thus, the Minnesota Iron Mining Association expressed its concerns regarding the increased costs in the last ten years. This association added that the new infrastructure requirements and a transfer to renewable energy sources would make the price of iron soar. That would turn Minnesota’s iron into uncompetitive goods on the global market.

Lauryn Schothorst, a lady in charge of the Energy Policy in the Chamber of Commerce also had some remarks on the “Clean Energy First” bill. This institution feared that the bill would make the power costs increase for both the industry and consumers. They also feared that the impact of this green law would be massive. On the other hand, she stated that the Chamber would back all projects that include energy resources able to ensure competitive costs and a reliable and efficient power system.

Some of the economic magnates that sit on the Chamber of Commerce board in Minnesota are the U.S. Bank, Mayo Clinic, Delta Airlines, and many others.

Another opposing voice to this bill belongs to a legal representative of some massive industries like iron mines. He stated that this proposal lets power plants transfer the costs of hiring locals to their consumers. The chairman of the Energy Committee in Minnesota Senate went one step further, stating that this kind of environmental bill was obsolete. According to him, power plants had already made significant efforts toward using other energy resources.

He added that the bill curbed the range of adequate renewable resources and that it might raise questions of reliability of the whole energy grid. This proposal also left natural gas out of the game. The chairman stated that its usage might have been a logical phase in the transition to renewable energy sources.

Chairman Osmek, however, announced that he was ready to accept some bill that would be acceptable for all parties involved and that he had worked on such a legislative proposal.

He added that there were some differences between the DHL bill passed in the House and this “Clean Energy First” bill. He pointed out that these differences had to be straightened out before it passed into law.

But let’s go back to the Department of Commerce representative who believed that this bill was only one piece of legislation in a much larger agenda that tackles the severe climate change issues. He added that this proposal would enhance the development of alternative energy sources in Minnesota.

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