Status check: where clean energy sits right now

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Deadlines are looming for energy bills

The first weeks of March will be a busy time for clean energy discussions in St. Paul. March marks the beginning of legislative deadlines. Every year the leadership in the House and Senate establish deadlines for committee action on bills. Committee deadlines winnow the list of topics to be dealt with in a given legislative year. Here are three trends to watch as we head toward deadlines.

Republican Senate passes “Clean Energy First Act.” Next up? The House

Clean Energy First legislation is moving forward in the Minnesota Senate. Senate Republicans passed the Clean Energy First Act (read the bill language) out of the Energy & Utilities Committee. The bill will have one stop for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee, and we expect the bill to head to a favorable floor vote in the coming weeks.

A matching, but very different bill, is working its way through the House of Representatives. The House version (see the bill language) was introduced in the House Energy & Climate Committee this week. We expect the House will have a significant amount of discussion about the current draft.

So what’s the difference in approach? Don’t they have the same name? Each bill has a vision for how each chamber sees the clean energy future. The House approach could best be described as “climate action” while the Senate version could be described as “pathways to decarbonization.” The idea is that these two bills (if passed) will meet in final discussions between the House and Senate at the end of the legislative session. CEEM continues to monitor this bill and how it would affect clean energy businesses across the state. 

Community solar garden debates heat up

The community solar garden conversation is heating up in St. Paul. Community solar advocates are trying to improve our nation-leading program to add certainty around the program for businesses.

CEEM testified in support of a House bill seeking to address challenges within the program (see bill language here). House hearings were contentious, but the bill passed out of committee and will likely be passed for final consideration. The Senate does not currently have a bill in process, throwing uncertainty on if and how Minnesota’s nation-leading community solar program may move forward.

Clean Energy Business raises voice at the Capitol

On Wednesday, March 4, we held the fourth annual Clean Energy Business Day at the Capitol. Around 200 people from our industries signed up to attend, raising our voices and discussing policies affecting our businesses and the future of Minnesota.