Policy priorities for the 2023 Minnesota Legislative Session
LEVEL-SETTING FOR THE 2023 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
The 2023 session marks the start of a new biennium with Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan returning for a second term along with many newly-elected members in both bodies of the legislature. Heading into session, there will be a two-year budget to pass and the first one-party control at the Capitol since 2013. A large number of priorities are emerging for the Walz-Flanagan Administration and the newly empowered DFL House and Senate.
Significant opportunities exist to accelerate Minnesota’s energy transition by leveraging recently passed federal legislation, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA),
the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Rapid decarbonization across all sectors of our state’s economy is required to mitigate the risks posed by a changing climate and pragmatic solutions will deliver economic benefits and prosperity for all Minnesotans. CEEM will continue to support the Walz-Flanagan Administration’s policy proposals that will lead Minnesota to 100 percent clean energy in the state’s electricity sector by 2040 as well as other action steps in Minnesota’s Climate Action Framework. In addition, CEEM will also pursue the following Goals and Actions in 2023:
Clean energy policy
In 2023, CEEM’s goal is to dramatically decarbonize Minnesota’s economy and accelerate the growth of the state’s clean energy industry while fully leveraging recently passed federal policies. CEEM will ensure Minnesota maximizes benefits from the IIJA, CHIPS and Science Act, and the IRA by securing state matching funds. Encouraging the legislature to pass a 100 percent clean energy standard to electrify Minnesota will be a top priority for CEEM which will allow an easier pathway to passing more clean energy policies that benefit the economy.
Within the solar industry, CEEM will continue to push for the modernization of the Community Solar Garden (CSG) program by removing difficult barriers such as the contiguous county provision. Modernizing the CSG program will also allow for more economically sustainable projects to be built. For Xcel Energy customers, CEEM will continue to work on extending and securing additional funding for Solar*Rewards. Currently, recipients of the program receive 10 years of annual incentive payments based on the recipients’ system’s annual production.
The transportation sector is still the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States which is why it is important to focus on efforts to electrify or reduce greenhouse gas emissions within this sector. CEEM will support efforts to implement a Clean Fuels Standard in Minnesota to reduce carbon intensity. The tax incentives from the IRA have made the electric vehicle (EV) market increasingly attractive among consumers calling for stronger and faster EV infrastructure. CEEM will support direct funding for EV infrastructure integration with buildings, the grid and other renewable resources. We will also extend efforts to maximize National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program funding and efficient implementation to install fast chargers across Minnesota.
As renewable systems reach their end of life, many of their components will need to be recycled — a program which is yet to be well-established in the state. CEEM will support component recycling efforts that advance market opportunity and enhance Minnesota’s competitive advantage and attractiveness for renewable development. Moreover, improving permitting processes and deterring threats to renewable energy siting will also be critical in expanding Minnesota’s clean energy economy.