ST. PAUL – State Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake, has accepted an appointment to a panel charged with developing a statewide energy transition plan.
The Energy Transition Advisory Committee was established earlier this year to, in part, address issues that may arise amid evolving energy production in Minnesota. Mekeland, who is a member of the House Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee, said his primary focus as a member of the committee will be to mitigate the impacts of facility retirements and projected job losses in communities.
“I continue advocating for an all-of-the-above approach to energy,” Mekeland said. “We need an affordable, reliable, sustainable energy grid. That said, like it or not, certain sources of energy are being phased out in Minnesota and we need to have a plan in place to handle issues this is causing. This presents a huge challenge right here in our district as coal plants are being shut down in Becker. My objective with this committee is to identify ways we can recoup the losses we are suffering, while also making sure taxpayer resources are going to the right places. It’s the hand we’ve been dealt, and we need to make the best decisions possible within those constraints.”
The committee consists of 18 voting members and eight ex-officio, non-voting members. Mekeland is one of four legislators to receive an appointment. Four representatives of impacted communities and three representatives of impacted workers are among the other appointees. The group will advise the governor, related state agency leaders and the legislature on transition issues, established transition programs, economic initiatives, and transition policy.
“It is good to have people who work in the trenches, so to speak, involved with this board,” Mekeland said. “It is important to remember policy decisions we make today will impact livelihoods and families tomorrow and having those faces at the table will be valuable as we work.”
The committee will meet monthly, starting Sept. 1.