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ST. PAUL – State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) is authoring legislation this session that will improve and protect electric transmission systems throughout the state.
“This legislation will provide $1 billion in necessary transmission upgrades,” Gunther said. “When dealing with electric transmission, it is important for Minnesota to be proactive and ahead of the curve.”
Gunther’s bill establishes a tariff system that would be implemented by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission allowing utilities to automatically recover certain transmission costs.
This model is designed so that the initial cost is higher than current rates, but is reduced as the program moves forward. This system would last for 20 years and the rate could not be higher than what flat rates would normally produce, and could not be lower than an avoided cost by a public utility.
The legislation also calls for a study to determine the impact on rates and the reliability of increasing wind capacity in Minnesota to 20% by the year 2020.
In addition, public utilities would also be required to establish a community-based energy development tariff, which would promote wind projects in Minnesota.
“I believe this is a reasonable bill,” Gunther said. “It responds to the needs of the marketplace and eventually will help prevent major power outages throughout the state.”
Gunther’s bill was recently approved in the House Regulated Industries Committee.
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