ST. PAUL – House Democrats on Thursday approved legislation Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, said increases consumer energy prices, reduces power reliability and ultimately compromises safety.
The 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. Urdahl said 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.
“Our state’s energy policies should focus on ensuring Minnesotans have access to affordable, reliable energy on a diverse grid, but this bill is a massive step in the wrong direction,” Urdahl said. “Mandating a switch from cheap and abundant energy to more costly sources that are unproven and unable to meet demand could bring dramatic, unnecessary consequences to our state.”
Urdahl said reliability is a major concern with the House Democrats proposal, which some are calling the “Blackout Bill.” 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. He added that 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.
Urdahl indicated all blackouts are bad, but winter blackouts in Minnesota could pose great dangers that House Democrats are not taking seriously. He said he’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.
"I think we all want clean energy and to be good stewards of our environment," Urdahl said. "The question is how we get there. I'd prefer our state focus on innovation and technological advancements paving the way."
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. Urdahl said this 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 to the Senate for a vote.