The bill would let Xcel Energy ask the Public Utilities Commission for approval of new or amended power purchase agreements with utilities, such as Laurentian Energy Authority, or to buy out those utilities, ending the agreements.
The House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee held the bill over, as amended, for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill. The companion, SF700, sponsored by Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm), awaits action by the Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee.
Laurentian Energy Authority is one of several smaller utilities with which Xcel has contracts for energy produced by burning biomass fuel. The authority is co-owned by the Hibbing and Virginia public utilities commissions.
Representatives of Xcel and Laurentian said negotiations between the two utilities are already underway, with a goal of concluding them by July 1 – not including approval by the commission.
Rick Evans, Xcel’s director of regional government affairs, said the high cost of biomass energy shows up on customers’ bills, accounting for 5 percent of what top industrial customers pay and 2.5 percent for residential customers.
The aim of negotiations, Evans said, is to “get to a place where both of us are winners.”
Metsa said local investments for biomass generation, such as in specialized logging equipment, have been significant. The bill, he said, is not meant to put an end to biomass, but the amount of energy generated could be “potentially dissipated.”
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.