It’s been another busy week in St. Paul, with the most notable action on the floor coming late last night when House Democrats approved legislation which increases consumer energy prices, reduces power reliability and ultimately compromises safety.
The Blackout Bill (H.F. 7) extends and increases Minnesota’s renewable energy standard to 55 percent by 2035 and requires electric utilities in the state to generate or acquire 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2040.
A report from the Center of the American Experiment estimates the Walz/Democrat plan to move to 100 percent carbon free electricity by 2040 will cost $313 billion, or nearly $3,900 per family per year. The same study indicates the return on these massive consumer costs would be negligible at best, paying to potentially avert 0.00096 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100.
Reliability is another major concern with the House Democrats proposal. The Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator currently has reported a 1,200-megawatt capacity shortfall, indicating Minnesota already doesn’t have enough reliable power-plant capacity online to meet expected peak electricity demand. MISO warnings of capacity shortfalls for peak periods will become more commonplace if our state continues to rely more on intermittent, weather-dependent energy sources as House Democrats propose.
All blackouts are bad, but winter blackouts in Minnesota could pose great dangers that House Democrats are not taking seriously. I’d rather see Minnesota focus on diversifying the state’s grid, tapping into new nuclear technology and carbon capture and storage as lower-cost alternatives for reducing carbon emissions.
Republicans offered amendments intended to improve H.F. 7, including by allowing generation and transmission outfits to evaluate their own criteria on whether to modify or delay standard obligations. This takes the decision-making away from the Public Utilities Commission and provides a more flexible, common-sense approach allowing for market-based solutions instead of government mandates.
House Democrats blocked that amendment and other Republican proposals before approving the bill and sending it to the Senate for a vote.
I’ll be back with more soon and your input is appreciated.