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Minnesota says state investment in a local renewable power system would help its utilities.

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Christopher Neely's picture
Independent Local News Organization

Journalist for nearly a decade with keen interest in local energy policies for cities and national efforts to facilitate a renewable revolution. 

  • Member since 2017
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  • Jan 20, 2023
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A recent Minnesota legislator earlier this week was quoted explaining why a focus on renewable and carbon-free energy benefitted the state's three largest utilities. 

"The utilities have said that, while climate is important to their customers, the real driver is cost," Minnesota's House Majority Leader Jamie Long said ahead of a committee vote that would require the state's utilities to, by 2040, use 100% carbon-free energy sources by 2040. 

According to a Minnesota legislative report, Minnesota as a state does not own any fossil fuels, which means the state has to pend $13 billion per year to buy energy. The discussion among legislators in the state is that given the availability of renewable and other carbon-free energy resources, Minnesota could be using that $13 billion to invest in the state, and build solar panels and wind farms, which are among the least expensive forms of energy, and readily available in parts of the northern state. 

It's not clear to me how many other states in the U.S. or countries in the world have to import their energy because fossil fuels are not readily available, but Minnesota, if this bill passes, could set an important standard by saying the state is no longer going to shell out public money for resources that harm the environment, and instead invest that money in building a robust clean energy ecosystem in the state, offering jobs and reducing fossil fuels' negative impacts to the environment. 

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