Policy Priorities for the 2022 Minnesota Legislative Session

January 28, 2022
Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM) develops and supports public policy that promotes the growth of clean energy jobs and the economic opportunities provided by clean, affordable and reliable energy.

Level-setting for the 2022 legislative session

Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM) develops and supports public policy that promotes the growth of clean energy jobs and the economic opportunities provided by clean, affordable and reliable energy. Working with the Walz-Flanagan Administration, state legislature, and before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, CEEM provides “the business voice of clean energy” to influence policy decisions and grow equitable and inclusive clean energy market opportunities.

Enactment of the ECO Act of 2021 was a significant policy accomplishment and CEEM will continue to support the Walz-Flanagan Administration’s remaining set of policy proposals that will lead Minnesota to 100 percent clean energy in the state’s electricity sector by 2040.

Minnesota remains one of a few divided legislatures in the nation with Republicans leading the Senate, and Democrats in the Governor’s Office and leading the House of Representatives. With this split, viable policies will need to have bipartisan agreement. The legislature has indicated its intent to focus on budgeting the surplus, redistricting and issues remaining around COVID, police reform and public safety, which will limit its ability to consider a variety of issues.

In 2022, we believe bipartisan opportunities exist to build on the significant energy policy success of the 2021 Minnesota legislative session. Rapid decarbonization across all sectors of our state’s economy is required to mitigate the risks posed by a changing climate as well as pragmatic solutions that deliver economic benefits and prosperity for all Minnesotans. Given these parameters, CEEM plans to work towards the following goal areas:

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We will also work to extend and secure additional funding for Solar*Rewards. The Solar*Rewards Program provides recipients with 10 years of annual incentive payments based on the recipients’ system’s annual production. Solar*Rewards is only available to Xcel Energy customers.

CEEM will work to support solar panel recycling efforts that advance rather than limit market opportunity while enhancing Minnesota’s competitiveness and attractiveness for development. Minnesota already has more than 1.3 GW of solar installed, so there will be a large amount of material when these panels reach the end-of-life. Not only is it important to keep the material out of landfills, but there are valuable materials within solar panels that can be recovered, such as the metals and silicon.

In the United States, the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, making up nearly 30% of the national total. With this in mind, CEEM will work to secure direct funding for electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure to evaluate integration with buildings, the grid, and renewable energy sources as well as support efforts to implement a clean fuels standard in Minnesota.

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Regulatory Action

In 2022, CEEM will work to grow the business voice of clean energy in regulatory proceedings with emphasis on planning for Minnesota’s clean energy future. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will decide important cases, including evaluating utilities’ integrated resource plans (IRPs). The IRP is where utilities and stakeholders discuss system transitions and investments in future energy sources. These IRP cases are particularly important as the state’s utilities each work toward aggressive clean and low-carbon commitments.

We will also be working with MISO and FERC to overcome the major challenges facing our transmission market as it is of critical importance to ensuring Minnesota’s clean energy future. We will continue to raise awareness of business impacts due to extended interconnection queues and the implementation of interconnection standards. We will also support regulations and standards that allow for the utilization of customer energy use data to improve programs that reduce energy waste, save money and slash emissions.

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Energy Storage

CEEM will work to advance market opportunities for energy storage to provide resiliency, security, and cost savings. Energy storage is gaining momentum as a key component to ensuring reliability in a carbon-free electric grid. Three years ago, the legislature passed a bill to call for a study about energy storage and called on utilities to plan for more storage opportunities. CEEM supports expanded action in this area, as a critical step to building a clean energy economy and keeping pace with state-GHG reduction goals.

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CEEM will work in 2022 to strengthen Minnesota’s bioenergy sector through funding to expand markets. The Minnesota State Legislature established the AGRI Bioincentive Program in 2015 and since its inception the program has made significant economic impacts by increasing productivity, improving efficiency and assisting the development of agricultural products. This program is imperative to the success of Minnesota’s bioeconomy and CEEM will work to support its full funding.

Minnesota is facing a severe oversupply problem when it comes to dealing with emerald ash borer. CEEM believes bioenergy facilities can help the state address this problem — but it will need additional funding to smooth the path. CEEM will be working on this issue during the 2022 Legislative Session.

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