CEEM celebrates monumental investments in Minnesota’s clean energy future
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN – The 2023 legislative session unleashed a wave of investments and modernized policy, bringing with it an exciting era for Minnesota’s energy efficiency and clean energy sectors. Specifically, the Environment and Energy Omnibus bill will help catapult the industry into a new gear to fulfill the 100% Clean Energy by 2040 law that was signed earlier this session. This bill builds upon a truly historic session and includes provisions that will ensure Minnesota’s national leadership in:
Leveraging the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
- State Competitiveness Fund to compete for federal dollars. ($190M total)
- Rebates for consumers for things like air source heat pumps ($13M) and electrical panel upgrades ($6.5M).
- Electric vehicle (EV) rebates totalling $2,500 for new vehicles and $600 for used EVs. ($5M)
- Minnesota Energy Alley – the formation of critical programming and business support for energy innovators helping accelerate the commercialization of energy technologies. ($3M)
- Minnesota Climate Innovation Finance Authority making capital easier to obtain for clean energy projects. ($45M)
- University of St. Thomas Center for Microgrid Research received funding to continue advancing the research and development of microgrid systems and promoting their integration into clean energy infrastructure. ($7.9M total in Fiscal Years 2024-2026)
- Investments into solar | Solar*Rewards ($12.5M total), Solar on Schools ($29.3M), Solar on Public Buildings ($5M.)
Community Solar Garden (CSG) program modernization that increases the size of CSGs from 1 to 5 megawatts (MW) and opens up a new distributed generation market from 5-10 MW.
- An energy storage incentive program was established and funded. ($7M)
- High voltage transmission line between North Dakota and Minnesota. This will be used for the state portion of a federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) grant application. ($15M)
- The Distributed Energy Upgrade Grants in Xcel territory to fix interconnection issues on the grid. ($10.25M)
CEEM supported a proposal this session to nurture and support energy entrepreneurs and emerging businesses to develop the next generation of energy technologies. This proposal, called Minnesota Energy Alley, was awarded $3 million to invest in Minnesota’s clean energy technology start-up market. CEEM is thrilled to see passage of this critically important funding that is poised to accelerate the industry’s growth and ultimately help Minnesota decarbonize all sectors of its economy faster.
CEEM is also proud to support provisions that were enacted in the Transportation, Jobs and Labor and Agriculture committees. Those investments include:
- Updates to the commercial energy code to incrementally reach 80 percent reduction in net energy consumption from a 2004 baseline. It also included language to facilitate EV charging infrastructure.
- A state-wide EV infrastructure program to utilize the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. ($68M)
- A policy to allow for the right-of-way on highways for the expansion of electric transmission lines and infrastructure which will help speed the permitting process
- The Bioincentive Program will receive $5.75M in funding over the next biennium with a decrease to $3M after.
CEEM Executive Director Gregg Mast released the following statement:
“The energy efficiency and clean energy measures enacted this year illustrate a strong commitment to Minnesota’s transition to clean energy amidst a historic legislative session. These policies offer the clarity, certainty and market signals needed for businesses to invest in Minnesota for the long term,” said Mast. “I am especially proud that the Minnesota Energy Alley provision was included in the Environment and Energy Omnibus bill which invests in the entrepreneurs and innovators who will make Minnesota’s clean energy future a reality.”
“This session will go down in history as monumentally important for the next chapter of clean energy in Minnesota. In particular, the wide-ranging investments in solar as well as the creation of a brand new distributed generation market will usher in an expansion of solar development across the state, driving economic growth, job creation and innovation across the industry. As board chair of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota, I am consistently amazed at the performance of this hardworking group of individuals. This is a great day for Minnesota,” said Marty Morud, President of TruNorth Solar.
Among the many vast wins in this bill, CEEM Director of Government Affairs George Damian says he recognizes that some provisions were not included and he is committed to working further to achieve those moving forward:
“We applaud the tremendous commitment that culminated in such a great session for the clean energy industry. We want to thank Chair Acomb and Chair Frentz for their excellent leadership of the House and Senate Energy Committees and Senators Xiong and Coleman and Representative Kraft for authoring the Minnesota Energy Alley bill,” said Damian. “We look forward to working on the opportunities ahead to close the gaps in interconnection and transmission, fully fund emerald ash borer waste solutions as well as the successful Solar*Rewards program, along with finding a viable clean transportation standard. There is much work to be done to reach the state’s 100% goal and we are committed to continuing our work connecting industry leaders with policymakers to make the state’s clean energy future a reality.”
About Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM): CEEM is an industry-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit representing the business case for clean energy in Minnesota. CEEM provides a unified voice for clean energy business across the state. Our mission is to provide educational leadership, collaboration, and policy analysis that accelerates clean energy market growth and smart energy policies.