ST. PAUL – House Democrats on Thursday approved legislation Rep. Walter Hudson, R-Albertville, 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. Hudson 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.
“With this bill, House Democrats are rolling back cheap, abundant energy and forcing upon Minnesotans unproven technologies that are intermittent, weather-dependent, more costly and less reliable,” Hudson said. “When I say this is the ‘Blackout Bill,’ it is not mere rhetoric; I am not kidding. There have been massive failures of the electric grid everywhere policies such as this have been tried, with other countries currently on the brink of disaster, but House Democrats seem unwilling to acknowledge those real dangers.”
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. Hudson 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.
Hudson 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’m a devout believer in American ingenuity and we’re actually seeing massive technological breakthroughs taking place right now that could pave the way to a diverse energy future,” Hudson said. “Scientists in California recently produced a nuclear fusion reaction resulting in a net energy gain, a landmark development with limitless potential. Closer to home, North Dakota has launched a bold initiative to build the world's largest carbon capture facility that could be a game-changer. Yet, here we are in Minnesota, where Democrats are taking the backward approach of using our government as a tool to force on citizens unaffordable, unreliable mandates with potentially catastrophic consequences.”
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. Hudson said 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 to the Senate for a vote.