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Plan Aims for 100 Percent Clean Energy in Minnesota by 2040
Minnesota Ag Connection - 01/25/2021

Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced a set of policy proposals that will lead Minnesota to 100 percent clean energy in the state's electricity sector by 2040. The policies build on the success that Minnesota has already achieved in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and increasing the use of clean energy resources to power the state while ensuring reliable, affordable electricity.

"The time to fight climate change is now," said Governor Walz. "Not only is clean energy the right and responsible choice for future generations, clean energy maximizes job creation and grows our economy, which is especially important as we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud to announce a set of policy proposals that will lead Minnesota to 100% clean energy in the state's electricity sector by 2040. Minnesotans have the ingenuity and innovation needed to power this future, and we are ready to pioneer the green energy economy." "We must take immediate action to protect our earth for future generations," said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. "Burning fossil fuels pollutes our environment, permanently changes our climate for the worse, and wastes money on inefficient and outdated practices. This plan sets a clear path and destination for Minnesota's clean energy future. Minnesota should be a state that continues to lead on the clean energy economy, and we know we can."

"Over the past 15 years, Minnesota has transformed how we generate electricity. Use of renewable energy increased from 6 percent to 24 percent. By putting standards such as these into law, we provide certainty for utilities as they manage market, economic, and technology changes," said Department of Commerce Temporary Commissioner Grace Arnold, whose agency administers the state's energy policies and programs.

"I'm glad to see Governor Walz continue his leadership on clean energy and climate change. What's more, I couldn't be more glad to be a part of the effort to shine a light on the problem and then put in serious work on finding the best solutions," said Senator Nick Frentz.

"Climate change is impacting our state right now, from our health to our farms to our traditions. Minnesota must take needed action to transition swiftly to 100% clean energy. Embracing this opportunity will create good jobs, affordable energy, and meet our commitment to protecting the state from the threat of climate change. I thank Governor Walz for his clean energy leadership and partnership," said Representative Jamie Long.

Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power, Minnesota's two largest public utilities, have publicly committed to generate 100 percent of its electricity from clean energy by 2050. More than 100 major global companies have also pledged to meet their energy needs with 100 percent clean energy by 2050 or sooner, with Minnesota's own 3M and Target making this commitment.

"Fresh Energy applauds Governor Walz for bringing the conversation of 100% carbon-free electricity in Minnesota to the forefront. This is a pressing issue for Minnesota to tackle as soon as possible, especially as the United States prepares to re-enter the historic Paris Agreement," said Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy. "Not only is it time for Minnesota to re-establish itself as a climate leader in the Midwest, but it's time for us to do it in a way that's inclusive, ambitious, and benefits all Minnesotans."

"Governor Walz's proposal doesn't just put Minnesota on a path to carbon-free electricity; it also ensures that workers and consumers are protected by strong labor standards and off-ramps to ensure that electric service remains reliable and affordable," said Kevin Pranis of LIUNA Minnesota & North Dakota. "Minnesota might not be the first state to propose 100% carbon-free electricity, but with leadership from companies like Xcel, Great River Energy, and Minnesota Power, not to mention the nation's most productive union workforce, Minnesota could be the first to cross the finish line."

"The initiative proposed today by Governor Tim Walz and Lt Governor Peggy Flanagan is both bold in its scope and flexible in its implementation. This initiative will lead to lower energy bills and local, good paying jobs for Minnesota workers while reflecting the urgency of reducing Minnesota's greenhouse gas emissions on a pace and scale necessary to address the climate challenge," said Mike Bull, Director of Policy and External Affairs for the Center for Energy and Environment.

The decrease is due to less coal and more clean energy being used to generate electricity in the state, as well as the positive impact of energy conservation measures. Several Minnesota utilities have already committed to additional coal plant closures that will further reduce greenhouse gas pollution produced by the electricity sector.

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