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Electricity from waste wood would continue under bill sent to governor

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For a small bug, the emerald ash borer is certainly making big changes to the state’s landscape. Many neighborhoods that were tree-lined and verdant just weeks ago now have empty boulevards and full views of the sky.

So what happens to all those trees cut down to contain the infestation of insects? In the Twin Cities area, the primary destination is the District Energy plant in Downtown St. Paul. There, that waste wood is burned to create energy. Some of it is used to heat and cool a section of the city that includes the State Capitol complex.

But it’s also converted to electricity that’s purchased by Xcel Energy, which provides electrical service to much of Minnesota. And that relationship would continue through 2024 under a bill passed 87-46 by the House Saturday. HF1255/SF1047*, sponsored by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) and Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester), was passed 66-0 by the Senate May 6, so it’s on its way to the governor’s desk.

The bill would require the plant to continue using waste wood as its primary fuel source and require Xcel Energy to pay less for the electricity than under the existing agreement.

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Recent Dailies

Along party lines, nearly $1 billion omnibus state government bill gets committee approval
HF1952 calls for a nearly $999.76 million in net General Fund spending in the upcoming biennium that begins July 1, 2021, a $34.5 million increase over current base level and $500,000 more than the budget proposed by Gov. Tim Walz for the 2022-23 biennium.
Omnibus higher education bill increases funding for institutions, freezes tuition for some
The omnibus higher education bill is a collaborative effort to respond to the challenges those students and institutions faced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL-New Brighton), the bill’s sponsor.
A fifth tier, exempting unemployment and PPP – it all adds up in omnibus tax bill
With the help of a voluminous number of changes to state tax code, it’s projected the bill’s provisions would raise $49.1 billion in revenue for the 2022-23 biennium.
Omnibus bill would fund public safety with $1.8 billion
The omnibus public safety and criminal justice reform finance bill unveiled Tuesday proposes to spend $1.8 billion to fund the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Corrections and other public safety agencies and commissions.
Invasive species, diseases prioritized in omnibus environment and natural resources bill
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Omnibus education finance bill includes hikes in cross subsidy aid, general education funding
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House human services panel begins review of omnibus HHS bill
Sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth), HF2127, to be amended with a 497-page delete-all amendment, was reviewed Tuesday by the House Human Services Finance and Policy Committee.
Transition to renewable energy the focus of omnibus climate and energy bill
Throughout the country, states are discussing making the transition to a “green economy.” Inspired by a quest for cleaner air and slowing the rate of climate change, the move is afoot toward increased use of renewable energy like solar and wind power, as well as more electric vehicles on the road.
Omnibus judiciary bill would provide $1 billion for courts, legal services, human rights department
The bottom line in the omnibus judiciary finance bill is a $1.08 billion funding request for the 2022-23 biennium, which would be a $49 million increase from the current biennium.

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