I attended a meeting this week where we discussed the governor’s misguided proposal to mandate 100 percent of the state’s electricity be produced from “clean” energy sources by 2050.
This is an extreme measure that would come at an extreme cost to people of our state – potentially doubling our household energy costs. This also could force the closure of reliable and cost-effective power plants, while also reducing our versatility in energy and making us more vulnerable during cold months. Wind generation was shut down during the recent polar vortex and solar panels have been covered in snow, leaving our fossil fuels as the sole reliable source of energy.
Minnesotans already pay more than the national average for electricity. The added costs of going all in on renewables, along with the reliability risks, make the governor’s plan infeasible at this point, especially since the proposal specifically excludes nuclear power from the mix.
By putting the Line 3 project back in court and then issuing this energy proposal, the governor has made it quite clear that his true allegiances lie with Twin Cities environmentalists and that the notion of creating a “One Minnesota” was just talk.
As I noted in an email earlier this session, we need to let technology and the free market be the driving forces on adaptation.
In other news House Democrats failed on their first real chance to reduce health insurance premiums in the individual market. With bipartisan support, the Senate approved a bill this week to extend our state’s “reinsurance” program for three years because it has proven to lower health care premiums over the last two years. House Democrats shot down an attempt to conduct a vote on this bill in the House and, if they continue to stall, rates will skyrocket and Minnesotans will suffer the consequences.
Let’s hope House Democrats aren’t planning to go forward with the governor’s plan on this issue because it is a bad deal. He proposes a 20-percent premium buy-down plan that would cost the state more than extending reinsurance. It also would only help half of the individual market (those who don't receive federal tax credits), and would not prevent premiums from soaring if reinsurance is not extended.
I will keep you in the loop as things unfold in St. Paul.