Gov. Walz signs bill that will make Minnesota carbon-free by 2040

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Minnesota state Governor, Tim Walz has now signed the clean energy bill into law. The bill passed a 34 to 33 vote in the state senate and 70 to 60 on the house flow.

From now on all electrical utilities would be forced to generate electricity with carbon-free resources. They must be 80% carbon-free by 2030 and 100% carbon-free by 2040.

Right now, renewable energy like wind, solar, and hydropower is the largest share of the state’s power supply at 29% of all sources, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. More than half of all electricity is already carbon-free with renewables and nuclear energy. 

In understanding what this means for us in the northland, I spoke to Julie Pierce, Vice President of Strategy and Planning at Minnesota Power on the practicability of this new law and she said they are fully ready and equipped for the task ahead stating that Minnesota Power is already 50% carbon-free.

”We’re going to be ceasing coal operations, adding a tremendous amount of renewable energy, and we should be 80% carbon free by 2035. We need to make sure that we’re watching for reliable power and we want to make this transition and get it right for every person in our service area.”

She also stated that they are going to be working closely with customers in other to make the cost affordable.

”We’ve been working with the state lawmakers all the way through the development of this bill to ensure that they understand the importance of reliability and doing this as affordably as possible. Obviously, transitioning at this magnitude, you know, is is a very large investment. And and it isn’t free to your point. But we need to do it thoughtfully and carefully and ensure that we can keep the lights on.”

Republicans slammed the bill as costly for consumers and a mandate of energy sources that is not reliable to keep the lights on calling it the blackout bill.

This new law would essentially eliminate the burning of fuels such as coal and natural gas to produce electricity.

The law also allows some exceptions if reliability and consumer electrical rates become an issue.