Minnesota clean energy legislative update
The Minnesota Legislature narrowed its focus and priorities for the remainder of session in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers recessed on March 17 and will not meet again until April 14, with the exception to reconvene for COVID-related actions. 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
On Monday, March 23, CEEM and our partners at Clean Grid Alliance sent a letter to the Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan Administration seeking guidance on behalf of the clean energy business community. Specifically, we requested clear guidance regarding essential businesses during a potential executive measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, March 25, Governor Walz issued Governor’s Emergency Executive Order 20-20, directing Minnesotans to stay at home, with exceptions for essential business activities. This Executive Order is compatible with our request for consistency with guidance at the federal level for employees in energy (pg. 6), and with many other states currently under “shelter in place” orders. The Order also provides more detail related to construction and critical trades (pg. 8).
In support of using the Renewable Development Account (RDA)
CEEM also drafted a letter to legislative leadership with the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA), supporting use of funds from the state’s Renewable Development Account (RDA) to support continued success in solar. The RDA was established to stimulate innovative, renewable energy projects, and the solar industry urges its use for that purpose in this moment of crisis. The RDA dollars can stimulate economic growth without impacting the unprecedented need for General Fund spending, which we support for helping our Minnesota neighbors, families, and communities. Many solar bills, including improvements to the Solar*Rewards program and proposals for Solar on Schools, received bipartisan support during early session.
CEEM continues to monitor and engage policymakers as an unprecedented legislative session continues. Lawmakers are set to return in mid-April, but that timeline may change in response to public health concerns.
Lastly, CEEM held our annual Clean Energy Business Day on March 4- presented by Clean Energy Economy MN, Center for Energy and Environment, Clean Grid Alliance, Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association and U.S. Green Building Council – Minnesota. Some 200 clean energy supporters filled the Minnesota Capitol, and over 90 attendees were scheduled to meet with their legislators – a record number of meetings for the day. Thank you to everyone who came out to the Capitol or who attended our happy hour event at Capitol Ridge. Your voices are so important as we work toward transitioning to a clean energy economy in Minnesota.
Check out pictures from the day here.