May 2024 Monthly Newsletter

May 9, 2024

 




New clean energy numbers & session’s final days

A typical reaction to receiving the 2024 Minnesota Energy Factsheet.

The Big Picture

Legislative Session: The 2024 session is nearing the finish line as the House and Senate hold long floor sessions to debate Omnibus Bills. Any differences between bills must be worked out in conference committees, and then each legislative body must pass an identical version. Time is short as the Legislature must adjourn by May 20.

Stay tuned for our 2024 Legislative Newsletter later this month.

Newsletter sign up

Legislative work

Permitting reform: The Minnesota Energy Infrastructure Permitting Act – a package of reforms to help cut red tape and speed the permitting process for transmission and clean energy projects has passed the Senate as a stand-alone bill while the House has its version included in the energy omnibus bill.

The reforms in this bill (SF4784 in the Senate and HF4700 in the House) will help significantly reduce permitting time without sacrificing essential public engagement and input. Negotiations continue to hammer out differences between the Senate and House proposals. Key differences between the bills include shifting staff to the PUC to help make the process more efficient and certain timeline requirements for utilities to act on new transmission projects.

Read the latest op-ed from our partners at Clean Grid Alliance and Liuna.

Op-ed: We have a roadmap for achieving 100 percent clean energy

Expect frequent updates in our newsletters and on CEEM’s social media channels.

Energy chairs Rep. Patty Acomb and Sen. Nick Frentz meet with CEEM and Lisa Jacobson of BCSE on the release date for the 2024 Minnesota Energy Factsheet.

Energy Omnibus: The Energy Omnibus was combined with two other jurisdictions. The Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy Finance Omnibus Bill passed off the Senate floor with a 36-30 vote on May 6. The House is scheduled to hear the bill on May 9.

NextGen Highways: The NextGen Highways language for colocation of utility infrastructure in existing corridors to accelerate grid expansion was included in the Transportation, Housing, and Labor Budget Bill. The Omnibus Bill passed with bipartisan support in both the House on May 1 with a 69-60 vote and the Senate on May 6 with a 36-31 vote.

Other provisions we’re tracking:

  • The CEEM Policy Team is also tracking the Health Omnibus Bill, which includes language that changes the permit requirement, allowing further development of Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) technology.
  • The Senate version of the Transportation, Housing, and Labor Budget Bill contains language for an appropriation of $350K for the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies to conduct a study on the overall economic and policy impacts of a Minnesota Clean Transportation Standard. The study is due on January 15, 2025, if the bill is passed.
  • Additionally, we are also tracking the Environment Omnibus bill for language related to waste heat recovery from wastewater and amending the definition of Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

State policy activity

RFP for Solar on Public Buildings: The Minnesota Department of Commerce (MNDOC) is seeking proposals for the Solar on Public Buildings Grant Program. The RFP is a two-step process with Step 1: Readiness Assessment due June 3 and the Full Grant Application due September 23.

IIJA & IRA Funding Opportunity Tracker: The Minnesota Department of Management and Budget (MMB) recently released an Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Funding Opportunity Tracker. The tracker provides an overview of competitive funding opportunities available through the IIJA and IRA.

Federal

Permitting Reform: The Biden-Harris Administration and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced a simplified and modernized reform to the federal environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule intends to streamline the deployment of clean energy projects and address climate change.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel: On April 30, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS released guidance on the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Credit established by the IRA. The guidance provides more clarity to the SAF credit and information on the 40BSAF-GREET 2024 model, which helps producers determine the lifecycle GHG emissions rates in their SAF production.

Regulatory

PUC approves Dodge County Wind Project: After a protracted process, the PUC approved the Dodge Wind “hybrid route alternative.” This route, recommended by many stakeholders, impacts fewer residences, allows more flexibility when siting poles, and makes addressing safety concerns and environmental impacts easier.

CEEM has weighed in with comments multiple times throughout the process stressing the economic benefits of this clean energy project.

It will bring over 400 construction jobs and millions in economic activity to the area during construction. The Dodge County Wind Project was included in Great River Energy’s 2023-2037 integrated resource plan, which the Commission accepted in early March.

Distributed Solar Energy Standard (DSES): CEEM joined MnSEIA to submit comments on a docket setting the stage for implementing the new DSES passed into law in 2023. This standard sets the minimum amount of distributed solar that utilities must reach and will be key to getting more distributed generation on the system in Minnesota.

The PUC hearing on May 2 ended with parties including solar developers, clean energy advocates, the Department of Commerce, and utilities coming to agreements to set up this initial round of bidding – including a stakeholder group to be convened by each utility.

MID-GRID Quarterly Meeting and Annual Transmission Summit: The MGA-OMS’s Quarterly MID-GRID meeting and Annual Transmission Summit took place on April 29-30. The Prairie Island Indian Community hosted it at their Treasure Island Event Center. The program focused on reliability, resource adequacy, siting, and transmission technology and planning. It included a tour of Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island Nuclear facility.

CEEM’s Director of Government Affairs, George Damian, moderated a panel on how different states and regional transmission organizations are approaching the transmission challenges they face.

MISO Tranche 2: MISO, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, released its draft proposal for a set of Tranche 2 transmission solutions. This is the second phase of the grid operator’s Long-Range Transmission Planning (LRTP) effort.

Big Picture Takeaway

The normal end-of-session chaos has been ratcheted up a few notches with the legal issues surrounding a member of the Senate majority. CEEM, along with our partner organizations, labor, utilities and more, have been laser-focused on ensuring lawmakers and the governor’s office understand the importance of passing permitting reform and a host of other significant clean energy and energy efficiency proposals included in the energy omnibus.

The 2024 Minnesota Energy Factsheet is released!



CEEM and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy released the 2024 Minnesota Energy Factsheet on Tuesday last week, which highlights the state of energy in Minnesota.

Here are some highlights:

  • For the fourth consecutive year, clean energy provided a majority (54%) of the state’s electricity, and carbon emissions decreased by 10%. Renewable energy provided a third of the state’s generation, a new Minnesota record.
  • Electric vehicle (EV) registrations jumped 55% in 2023 from the year prior. There have never been more EVs on the road in Minnesota.
  • Thanks to the federal Inflation Reduction Act, our state has become a crucial player in the nation’s hydrogen infrastructure. In fact, we shipped 6% of the nation’s electrolyzers from Cummins’ Fridley facility, solidifying Minnesota’s position in the country’s hydrogen landscape.

Read the full report

Press clippings: See how the Factsheet is making headlines.

Clean Energy Business Day recap

On April 11, CEEM and industry partners hosted the eighth annual Clean Energy Business Day at the Minnesota State Capitol to celebrate how Minnesota’s clean energy businesses positively impact our economy.

In front of a record-setting crowd in the Capitol’s rotunda, clean energy leaders spoke about how far the sector has come and where the needs are for clean energy legislation to continue the state’s decarbonization path. Attendees heard from Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, Sen. Nick Frentz, Sen. Jason Rarick, Rep. Patty Acomb and Rep. Spencer Igo.

The day also included CEEM Executive Director Gregg Mast appearing on TPT Almanac.

 

Watch our recap video!

American Clean Power Conference in Minneapolis

Around 10,000 clean energy-related workers descended on Minneapolis this week for American Clean Power’s annual conference. CEEM is thrilled to be in attendance and was happy to play host as Governor Walz delivered remarks to the crowd to kick off the conference. He shared that Minnesota has achieved 54% carbon-free power and heralded the state’s efforts to tackle out-of-date permitting reform to bring even more clean energy online.

Michigan Energy Innovators Conference

CEEM’s Executive Director Gregg Mast attended last month’s 12th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference in East Lansing, Michigan. The event is hosted by the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (MIEIBC), a Midwest regional partner of CEEM. Several CEEM members also participated in discussions throughout the day focused on the passage of landmark climate and energy legislation as well as opportunities and barriers to accelerating the expansion of an array of decarbonization solutions across economic sectors. CEEM extends our thanks to the MEIBC Board and staff for hosting this event and connecting key clean energy stakeholders throughout the Midwest to further business opportunities and progress towards a clean energy future.

Ramsey County Green Careers Day

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners has officially proclaimed May 1, 2024, as Green Careers Day across the county. This day celebrates the county’s commitment to a sustainable future, spotlighting local organizations that are either paving the way with new clean energy jobs in emerging sectors or adopting other environmentally friendly practices. CEEM was thrilled to be included in this important initiative alongside the City of St. Paul, Grid Catalyst, Robert Blake with Solar Bear, Center for Energy and Environment and others.

Clean energy in the news

 

Canary: Minnesota’s biggest solar project will help replace a huge coal plant

One of the largest solar projects in the country is moving closer to completion, and it’s not in a famously sunny state like California, Texas, or even Florida. It’s in Minnesota, on former potato farms near the site of a retiring coal plant.

Star Tribune: Metro Transit expanding fleet of electric buses in ‘crucial’ step toward environmental goal

A cleaner and quieter ride is coming for some Metro Transit users as the agency will buy 20 new electric buses and put them in service on local routes by 2026.

A Minnesota company is among a growing number of startups nationwide hoping to help customers replace diesel and natural gas with ammonia in industrial applications.

Events

Midwest Solar Expo | May 20-22


The Midwest Solar Expo, taking place near Chicago, is the premier conference in the region focusing on solar and clean energy business and is designed to bolster the thriving clean energy market in the Midwest.

Register today

CEEM Lunch & Learn | May 31, 11:30 a.m.


Join us for an engaging conversation about how clean energy technologies are creating community impact. Our May Lunch & Learn event will focus on how businesses are leveraging the various incentive and rebate programs to positively impact communities.

Register today

A conversation with Ernest Scheyder | June 5, 4 p.m.


Join us for an in-depth conversation at Surly Brewing Co., centered on The War Below, the new book that reveals the tensions among industry, conservationists, community groups and policymakers over the need to source massive quantities of the minerals to power a greener future while still protecting our most sacred natural spaces.

Register today

Intro to Entrepreneurship | June 12, 1 p.m.


Whether you’re just curious or eager to take concrete steps, this session caters to all stages of the entrepreneurial journey. This workshop is designed to equip you with the knowledge, tools, and inspiration to transform your business idea into reality.

Register today

Summer Unwind | June 18 | 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Join us in person in Uptown as we reflect on the 2024 Legislative Session where policymakers and the CEEM community dig into implementation issues like permitting reform and NextGen Highways. Unwind with drinks, apps and networking!

Register today

Welcome to new CEEM-member RISE Building Products

Photo of high-performance trim from RISE’s website.

CEEM is proud to welcome new member RISE Building Products, a Mankato-based business that utilizes quality recycled synthetic fibers, such as polyester, nylon and fiberglass, as core ingredients in their building materials. As an example, RISE partners with energy companies to turn retired wind turbine blades into synthetic fiberglass. By sourcing synthetic fibers from the recycling community, RISE can manufacture affordable building materials with less environmental impact than traditional building materials. RISE provides an answer to the question of ‘what happens to all the waste created by solar and wind power.’

RISE’s commitment to performance, protection and preservation demonstrates that the clean energy economy includes everyone, not just energy providers. RISE repurposes valuable and recyclable materials that would otherwise go into the waste stream. They are thinking creatively, forming strategic partnerships and implementing alongside the transition to a clean energy economy. CEEM appreciates how RISE exemplifies innovative stewardship that keeps Minnesota at the forefront of innovation in clean energy.

Learn more

On the CEEM Blog

Top 5 Takeaways from the 2024 Minnesota Energy Factsheet

The 2024 Minnesota Energy Factsheet highlights steady growth and commitment to transitioning to a clean energy economy.

Read More

2024 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook shows how clean energy transition is thriving

Developed annually by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and BloombergNEF, the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook tracks energy market and policy trends in the United States, examining how clean energy sectors performed in 2023 and over the past decade.

Read More

Twitter

LinkedIn

Facebook

Instagram

Copyright © 2024 Clean Energy Economy MN, All rights reserved

Our mailing address is:
Suite 401, S 4th St, Minneapolis, MN 55415

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.


 

Subscribe to our newsletter

Our monthly newsletter includes updates from the Capitol, the latest clean energy news and blogs and important information about upcoming events!