SAINT PAUL, MN — State Representative Jamie Long (DFL—Minneapolis) and State Senator Nick Frentz (DFL—North Mankato) have introduced legislation to move Minnesota towards 100 percent clean energy. This proposal would prompt the state to transition away from power sources that rely on fossil fuels in favor of renewable sources like wind and solar.
Thanks to advances in clean energy technology, Minnesota met its 25% renewable energy goal last year, seven years ahead of the schedule set in the 2007 Next Generation Energy Act. However, the state has failed to hit its targets for reducing greenhouse gases.
“Minnesota has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lead our nation’s transition to clean energy, create good homegrown jobs in this new economy, and be a part of building the solutions to climate change,” remarked Rep. Long. “I believe in our ability as Minnesotans to build a successful, thriving clean energy economy. Let’s once again set the national bar for a smart and ambitious transition to clean energy.”
“I’m all in to move our state forward toward 100 percent clean energy,” Sen. Frentz said. “This is a win-win for Minnesota. It will save money for consumers and create 50,000 new clean energy jobs. It is time for Minnesota to lead.”
Transitioning to clean energy would benefit our economy. Since Minnesota doesn’t have fossil fuels, the state spends $13 billion on energy from other states each year. Keeping that money inside our borders would create new jobs for Minnesotans. Minnesota’s clean energy sector is already growing twice as fast as all other sectors of the economy. However, we are being outperformed by other states despite being home to the number one solar construction company and two of the top wind builders in the country.
Clean energy also has financial and public health benefits. Energy would be more affordable for consumers. Wind is currently the cheapest form of electricity, and the price of solar energy is cheaper than any new fossil fuel. Traditional power sources release toxic chemicals and cause air pollution. Each year, 2,000 people from the Twin Cities die early due to pollution. No Minnesotan should ever experience preventable health risks.
An informational hearing for this legislation will be held today, February 5 in Room 120 of the Minnesota State Capitol. Over 40 Minnesotans will testify before the House Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Division. Due to the large number of participants, the committee will hold two sessions for public testimony, one beginning at 9:45am and the second at 4:30pm. Young adults from Minnesota Can’t Wait will testify first, followed by environmental advocacy groups, scientific organizations, faith groups, public health professionals, energy producers and utilities, and interested citizens.