Minnesota with carbon-free electricity possible by 2040

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The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Clean Energy Bill to the Minnesota Senate for carbon-free electricity by 2040. The bill will eventually need to be signed by Governor Walz, which would require new carbon-free requirements for electric utility companies. Utility companies like Minnesota Power, would need to start making changes to their energy production to no longer rely on fossil fuels.

Julie Pierce, vice president of strategy and marking at Minnesota Power, talked more about the company’s carbon-free progress. “Our utility was the first in the state to hit 50% renewable energy. We’re at 50% right now, and we recently just laid out plans to grow that renewable energy in a significant way. So we’ll actually we have plans in place right now to be 80% renewable by 2035.” Pierce said.

There are also plenty of Minnesota Representatives who believe Minnesota being carbon-free even before 2040. Minnesota Representative Liz Olson explained more about the energy driven goals. “Other places in the nation that have different problems than we do here in Minnesota. And so we have the ability to have a reliable grid. We have the ability to generate clean energy. Our utilities are already moving us in that direction. And I think we have the ability to not only reach that goal by 2040, but we could potentially reach it sooner with the direction we’re heading and in the way Minnesotans are really coming together around this legislation. We know that that is it’s not a transition that happens overnight, that it’s something we do gradually and we do it.” Olson said.

However, there are some Minnesota Representatives concerned about the banning of fossil fuels to generate electricity. Minnesota Representative Natalie Zeleznikar talked more about these concerns regarding the complete use of carbon-free electricity. “If we don’t have the technology right now and we dismantle everything that we’ve had to run off the grid we’re on now, what is it going to look like when we have we have had all of the amendments that would have had safeguards and guardrails on that the Republicans offered. They all have been shut down with a no vote. So we’re going to dismantle everything. We have put all of our eggs in one basket. And what is that going to look like when we have no plan B? That’s not the Minnesota way.” Zeleznikar said.

Plenty of power stations using coal have closed recently. The focus of these power stations will most likely be renewable, carbon-free options like wind and solar. “We have set goals and targets in our plan that we’re going to be off of coal fired energy by 2035. So that’s a really big step if you think about us. Just not too long ago had, you know, quite a bit of coal in our system, but we’ve been transforming away from that and we’ve committed now to be coal free in our operations by 2035.” Pierce said.

For more information about the carbon-free requirements you can look here https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=Hf0007&version=1&session=ls93&session_year=2023&session_number=0.

For another story about carbon-free you can read more here https://www.wdio.com/mining-news/biden-administration-ban-on-mining-near-bwca-watershed/.