Working Toward a Cleaner Future: Minnesota’s Plan to Achieve 100% Clean Energy by 2040
Breaking down Governor Walz’s new renewable energy plan
The solar industry has some big news! On Thursday, January 21st, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and other state leaders, released a plan to help Minnesota achieve 100% clean energy by 2040. This is great news for the solar industry! This means we can work hard, knowing we have the support of our state leaders to create a cleaner, greener, future for Minnesota.
For the past many years, Minnesotans have been working hard to reduce their use of fossil fuels and increase their use of cleaner energy sources (like solar), and this new plan builds on that success. According to Governor Walz’s office, the plan has four parts.
Minnesota’a Clean Energy Plan
To reach 100% clean energy in Minnesota by 2040, the plan focuses on:
- Carbon-Free Resources This would require all electric utilities in Minnesota to use only carbon-free energy resources. This won’t be a quick, easy switch. However, it will be made possible by setting interim goals throughout the transition. This includes helping workers and communities throughout the process, and prioritizing local jobs by prevailing wages for large, new clean energy projects.
- Prioritizing Clean Energy When a utility proposes replacing or adding new power generation, it must make energy efficiency the main goal over using fossil fuels. The purpose of this policy is to strengthen the preference of renewable energy, specifically in Minnesota law. It would allow for fossil fuel-based power only if needed to ensure reliable, affordable electricity.
- Energy Optimization This policy is all about raising the state’s energy efficiency resource standard for utilities. This would be done by expanding the Conservation Improvement Program, which helps Minnesota households and businesses save on their utility bills by using energy more efficiently. Plus, the policy would encourage utilities to develop innovative programs to help consumers or businesses switch to more efficient, cleaner energy. An additional goal of the policy is to target more energy-saving assistance for low-income households.
- Carbon Reduction The last part of the plan highlights creating carbon reduction goals for existing buildings. This would aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035.
And we aren’t the only ones committed. Our friends at Xcel Energy have committed to generating 100% of their electricity from clean energy by 2050. Minnesota Power have joined in, as well. And over 100 major global companies have made the pledge to meet that goal, including 3M and Target.
“The time to fight climate change is now,” said Gov Walz in a press release announcing the plan. “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.”