Type: Law Bulletins
Date: 03/14/2023

Amendments to Minnesota Energy Law in the 2023 Legislative Session Bring a New Carbon-Free Standard and Other Changes

On Feb. 7, 2023, Governor Walz signed into law H.F. No. 7, which brings numerous changes to Minnesota’s energy laws under Minnesota Statutes chapters 216B, 216E, and 216F related to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s authority over public utilities and electric utilities.  While the change that has received the most attention is a new carbon-free standard, which requires public utilities to generate or procure 100 percent of their electricity from carbon-free energy technologies for retail customers by 2040 under a new subdivision 2g within section 216B.1691, in addition to incremental milestones for 2030 and 2035, H.F. No. 7 also brings other changes worthy of noting.  These changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Amending Minn. Stat. § 216B.16, subd. 13: Provides potential economic development cost recovery for hiring local workers “to construct and maintain generation facilities that supply power to the public utility’s customers;”
  • Amending Minn. Stat. § 216B.1691, subd. 2a: Amendments to the eligible energy technology standard under the state’s renewable energy objectives by adding a new milestone for 2035 that requires a public utility to generate or procure 55 percent of its total retail electric sales to retail customers by utilizing eligible energy technologies;
  • Amending Minn. Stat. § 216B.1691, subd. 2b: Amendments to factors in permitting any modifications or delays to the renewable energy objectives, including environmental costs and environmental justice considerations, as well as considering additional electric load from beneficial electrification;
  • Amending Minn. Stat. § 216B.1691, subd. 3: Amendments to electric utility plans filed with the Commission regarding “plans, activities, and progress” regarding standard obligations for meeting renewable energy objectives, which add, among other things, reporting on efforts to retain and retrain workers, efforts to increase diversity, impacts on environmental justice areas, and reporting obligations if electric utilities utilize renewable energy credits to satisfy renewable energy objectives;
  • Amending Minn. Stat. § 216B.1691, subd. 4: Clarification that a renewable energy credit may be utilized to satisfy both renewable energy standards and carbon-free standards obligations if the renewable energy credits satisfy the definitions of both standards;
  • Amending Minn. Stat. § 216B.1691, subd. 9: Amendments to local benefits considerations under the state’s renewable energy objectives, including the creation of high-quality jobs in Minnesota, recognizing workers’ rights to unionize, and ensuring that workers have tools they need, as well as other opportunities, to thrive during the energy transition, especially in environmental justice areas, as well as other considerations, such us ensuring that statewide air emissions are reduced, electric service is affordable, that all Minnesotans benefit from clean and renewable energy, clarifying how the Commission should balance factors to implement this section, including renewable and new carbon-free standards, and encouraging utilities to locate new energy generation facilities in communities where fossil-fuel plants are being retired;
  • Amending Minn. Stat. § 216B.2422: Amendments to utilities’ resource plan filings by adding definitions and provisions for the preference for local job creation, adding a subdivision subpart that states how the Commission will provisionally adopt and apply certain greenhouse gas emissions valuations, adding a preference for resources utilizing energy technologies produced domestically, and for ordering carbon dioxide emissions reductions;
  • Amending Minn. Stat. § 216B.243, subd. 8: Amendments to exemptions to facilities otherwise requiring a certificate of need; and
  • Amending Minn. Stat. §§ 216E.03, subd. 7, subd. 10 and 216F.04: Amendments to certain statutory provisions governing siting and routing of large energy facilities, including new criteria for designating sites and routes related to evaluation of environmental quality benefits and reliability concerns, evaluation of socioeconomic factors, and evaluation of local employment and economic benefits, and the requirement that certain site permits be conditioned on prevailing wage rate requirements for workers.

In This Article

You May Also Like