The House passed an omnibus energy policy bill April 23 with provisions designed to boost solar and wind power and tighten greenhouse gas regulations.
HF3661/SF3337*, sponsored by Rep. Bill Hilty (DFL-Finlayson) and Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon (DFL-Duluth), was approved 109-22. The Senate did not concur with the House amendments, and a conference committee has been requested. The Senate passed its version 52-14 on April 3.
The bill contains policy initiatives incorporated from other bills, including:
• requiring producers and purchasers of industrial and commercial gasses with a high “global warming potential” to report data on their sales and use in the state to the Pollution Control Agency;
• requiring the PCA and Commerce Department to report to the Legislature regularly on progress being made in meeting the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals;
• authorizing the Commerce Department to coordinate and arrange bulk purchases of wind turbines and related equipment for individuals, community-based energy developers and public entities;
• requiring that one-eighth of 1 percent of the state’s 25-percent-by-2025 renewable energy standard be generated by solar-electric power; and
• exempting wind and solar projects from having to obtain a certificate of need if the Public Utilities Commission deems them a “reasonable and prudent approach” to implementing the renewable energy standard.
Hilty amended the bill to remove a controversial provision that would have banned the sale of small containers of automotive air conditioner refrigerant.
Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar) offered an amendment that would have lifted the moratorium on construction of new nuclear power plants in the state. It was defeated 52-79. Hilty, who chairs the House Energy Finance and Policy Division, promised Hackbarth and other nuclear power supporters that his division would be holding hearings on the issue in the near future.
At Issue: Better energy, bit by bit
Omnibus energy policy bill aims for small changes, big impacts
(view full story) Published 5/9/2008
First Reading: The nuclear option
Once the bane of environmentalists, nuclear power is being given a second look
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At Issue: The ethanol question
Legislators disagree over ethanol’s impact on the environment
(view full story) Published 4/18/2008
At Issue: Cap and trade conundrum
In order to move forward on climate change, Minnesota will have to wait
(view full story) Published 4/4/2008
At Issue: The coming oil crash
Legislators look to prepare the state for the consequences of peak oil
(view full story) Published 3/21/2008