Two electrical utility companies in northern Minnesota may be able to count larger rooftop solar energy installations toward a state mandate.
Current law says a fraction of electricity sold by public utilities -- what Rep. Nolan West (R-Blaine) calls a “tiny sliver” -- must come from solar panels on the smallest rooftops. The state’s solar energy standard requires that by 2020, electricity the utilities sell must include at least 1.5 percent generated by solar sources. Of that, 10 percent must come from the smallest solar projects -- those that generate a maximum of 20 kilowatts.
HF1882, sponsored by West, would let Minnesota Power and Ottertail Power Company use small solar projects with a capacity of as much as 40 kilowatts. The bill targets those two companies by restricting its provisions to utilities that have between 50,000 and 200,000 customers.
The House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee held the bill over, as amended, Monday for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill. The companion, SF1649, sponsored by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (Alexandria), awaits action by the Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee.
West said the change would allow the two utilities to apply electricity generated on Minnesota rooftops to meet the goal, instead of buying solar credits. A large house or farm can easily exceed 20 kilowatts, he said.
Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), the committee chair, said he is baffled by incentives for small-scale solar in state law, citing lower costs for energy from wind and larger-scale solar farms.
The bill would also:
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to use mediation to resolve a funding dispute. In an opinion issued Friday, the court also ruled that Dayton’s use of the line-item veto to strip biennial funding for the Legislature was constitutional.
A Ramsey County judge on Wednesday ruled that Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of legislative funding violated the state’s constitution.
House and Senate leadership OK a resolution to seek outside legal representation in an effort to restore funding for the Legislature that Gov. Mark Dayton line-item vetoed earlier this week.
Day three of the 2017 special session saw lawmakers pass final omnibus bills to be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, with weary House members wrapping up their work at 2:42 a.m. Friday following a week of long days — and nights — at the State Capitol.
Lawmakers on conference committees must sort through competing bills before finalizing a product to send to the governor.
The budget process explained — and why it matters
$45 billion plan is about a 10 percent increase over current biennium
Governor urges lawmakers to pass a big capital investment bill during budget-setting year; House Speaker has expressed doubt over bonding this session
It was a day of selfies, swearings-in and standing ovations as the House opened the 2017-18 biennial session Tuesday.