Clean Energy Businesses Call Upon Governor to Veto Omnibus Energy Bill

Bill will “kill jobs and stifle innovation” in industry, leaders say

 

St. Paul, MN (May 9, 2017) – The so-called “Jobs” and Energy Omnibus Bill (S.F.1937) “will choke Minnesota’s thriving clean energy sector,” said leaders of the state’s energy efficiency and clean energy industry.

“This bill will slam the brakes on growing Minnesota’s clean energy economy and throw it into reverse,” said Gregg Mast, executive director of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota. Minnesota’s clean energy economy employs more than 54,000 people with high paying wages averaging $71,000 a year. “The energy omnibus bill will kill good-paying jobs and stifle innovation across the industry, which is one of the fastest-growing sectors of our state’s economy, and make it harder for businesses and families to access clean energy. We call upon Governor Dayton to stand strong and veto this omnibus bill.”  “Clean energy is the sustainable foundation for the state moving forward,” said Randy Moberg of Werner Electric. “To close the door on that and to jeopardize our energy future is the wrong thing to do.”

Plus, a bill that Gov. Dayton vetoed earlier this session, is now included in the omnibus bill. This measure would punish businesses and families for investing in wind and solar energy systems by eliminating an independent review of customer disputes that arise due to fees imposed by electrical companies. Dubbed the “net-metering” bill, the legislation was vetoed on March 20 by Dayton, and is one of a number of damaging provisions in the bill, according to industry leaders. The other objectionable provisions include:

  • Made in Minnesota – The bill eliminates the Made in Minnesota program, which provides incentives for Minnesota businesses and families to install solar on their properties. 
  • Biomass Mandate – The biomass industry in the state is also sabotaged by the bill, because it takes $54 million of taxpayer money – money meant for clean energy growth – to abruptly end the generation of renewable power coming from the biomass industry.
  • Conservation Improvement Program – Every year, hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans save money through energy-saving measures like rebates on high-efficiency heaters, air conditioners and more. This legislation eliminates the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) for consumers in small communities across Greater Minnesota. This means that businesses and families can say goodbye to those energy rebates and savings on their energy bills.

“This bill puts an end to the progress set in motion 10 years ago when Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed into law the bipartisan Next Generation Energy Act that jump-started our clean energy economy. Businesses, investors, and consumers alike rely upon stable and predictable policy to inform their long-term decision-making. Governor Dayton should veto this bill and demand that legislators do better to keep Minnesota as an attractive place to do business. Rather than go backwards, Minnesota needs to continue to build on the remarkable progress that has been made,” said Mast.

A 2014 study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development found that renewable energy is Minnesota’s fastest growing sector.