Clean energy, a critical ingredient to economic recovery

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May Newsletter Update | 2020

May 18 marks the final day of the 2020 Legislative Session. We continue to speak with state legislators as they prioritize their work. 

Leaders have outlined three priorities for the remainder of session:

  • COVID-19 response 
  • State bonding
  • Matters where both parties have strong agreement on bills already moving at the Capitol

Legislation with clean energy impacts is still very much alive. Our legislative priorities center around more immediate clean energy opportunities.

  1. Energy Conservation and Optimization (ECO) Act. We support improving Minnesota’s Conservation Improvement Program (CIP), the state’s nation-leading energy efficiency program. In April, CEEM members joined a support letter, raising the business voice of clean energy.
  2. Renewable Development Account spending and Solar*Rewards.  Of utmost priority is an extension and funding increase for the Solar*Rewards program, and secondarily, the creation of a Solar on Schools initiative. Minnesota’s rooftop solar industry relies on Solar*Rewards.
  3. Community Solar Gardens (CSG) improvements. We support this bill to continue our nation-leading solar development. We believe the improvements in CSG policy helps local farmers diversify their income, directs tax dollars to localities, improves rural grids, and gets Minnesotans to work.
  4. Clean Energy First. We support the bill pointing to greater certainty for clean energy investment in Minnesota.  If and where there is opportunity to improve the bill, we are continuing to watch CEF. 

We will continue to monitor discussions in St. Paul as deadlines grow closer. In the event that work is not complete, a “special session” may be called by Gov. Walz to continue discussions beyond the deadline. Keep an eye on your inbox for further updates as session wraps up.

CEEM advises policymakers on COVID economic recovery

We understand our business members are facing challenges as we all navigate current circumstances. We are working with policymakers at federal and state levels to identify economic issues and opportunities as policy packages seek to help economies grow as the pandemic continues. Through outreach to CEEM members and alongside industry colleagues, CEEM is raising the business voice of clean energy in those discussions. Reaching out to Lily or Benjamin with any concerns you may have.

Clean Cars

In April, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency delayed a rulemaking process for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The effort, known as Clean Cars Minnesota (LINK), anticipates a rulemaking process by the end of 2020. The proposed rules are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Minnesota’s transportation sector. All types of new passenger vehicles sold in the state would be more efficient and produce less pollution. Also, there will be more options for ultra-low or zero-emission vehicles (like electric and plug-in hybrid models) for people who want to buy them.

CEEM supports these rulemaking efforts. Improving standards can lead to increasing customer choices and access to clean car options, and creating clean energy jobs. We believe the state should seize this economic opportunity for the benefit of all Minnesotans. Relatedly, we recommend a new report from sustainability nonprofit organization CERES, working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy, which identifies key actions utilities can take to accelerate corporate transition to electric vehicles.