This week, the Minnesota House and Senate released their major funding and policy bills. These large bills, called “omnibus” bills, merge a number of smaller bills into one.
With such large proposals, it’s often a balancing act between the good and the not so good provisions.
The Not So Good
Xcel Energy Nuclear Facilities Upgrades
The Xcel Energy nuclear bill is moving forward in both bodies after traveling to the Senate floor as a stand-alone bill and being amended in to the House omnibus energy bill on Friday morning. This bill gives Xcel energy advanced approval to spend an estimated $1.4 billion on upgrading its nuclear facilities. Find CEEM’s letter outlining our concerns here.
Renewable Development Account Restructuring
Both bill proposals restructure the funding scheme for the Renewable Development Account (RDA)–adjusting the original per-cask nuclear waste storage fee to a one-year, lump sum payment every year the nuclear facilities remain operational. Ultimately, this approach will result in less money in the RDA, and therefore less money available to the development of clean energy projects.
Regulatory Reform for Wind
There are several provisions in the House bill that will make it easier for wind developers to move projects forward in Minnesota. This includes improved certificate of need determinations, quicker PUC timelines when reviewing project permits, and easier processes for repowering out dated wind developments.
Finally, the bill updates Xcel Energy’s Solar Rewards program to increase the cap on eligible solar installations from 20kW to 40kW, aligning the program with the effects of last year’s repeal of the Made in Minnesota program. This is based on a bill heard earlier this session in both the House and the Senate.
4 Weeks to Go!
The last four weeks of the 2018 legislative session will be quick. As always, our team at CEEM will keep you up-to-date on what is happening.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Policy Director:
Director, Policy & Public Affairs