Minnesota’s bad climate bills in 2017

Poor policy energy bills are already moving forward in the state legislature.  Here are some of the worst ones related to energy…

UPDATE:  All three of these bills have passed the House and will be coming to the Senate floor for a vote in the next week or two.  Please call your Senators and Governor Dayton TODAY and ask them to oppose these bills.  Find your legislators by entering your address here.

  • House File 113 – Allowing Xcel Energy to replace the Sherco 1& 2 Coal fired plants with a new natural gas plant, without the normal Public Utilities Commission vetting process – looking at energy need, lowest cost to ratepayers, alternative energy, best location, etc.  Xcel had previously promised to look at wind for replacement of the coal plants. A Star Tribune article about this sudden turnabout is here.  Because gas is methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon, we cannot just switch to gas if our state is going to meet our greenhouse gas reduction goals.
  • House File 235/Senate File 214 –  proposes to repurpose and rename the Renewable Development Fund (which has been in existence since 1994) and close out the Made in Minnesota Solar program. The Minnesota Made solar program put Minnesota on the map for solar, creating 500 new solar jobs and funding 1100 solar projects around the state.  The bill would turn the RDF into a legislatively controlled slush fund that could potentially finance fossil fuel related energy projects.
  • Status/Update: The House voted to pass the bill (76-49) on February 9. The Senate companion bill now heads to that body’s Finance Committee.
  • House File 234/Senate File 141 – These bills have the potential to stifle development of  solar energy in rural Minnesota, where the electricity comes from cooperatives. It would change the authority to determine fees and compensation for small scale solar owners (individuals or community solar gardens) when putting clean solar energy onto the electrical grid (called “net-metering”). Instead of the Public Utilities Commission determining the rates across Minnesota, the bill proposes each electrical co-op (Board of Directors) could set the rates. Also, adversely affected solar owners could no longer ask the PUC for help in resolving fee disputes. A Star Tribune article about this issue is here.
  • Status/Update: The House voted to pass the bill (89-37) on February 9. Rep. Thissen amended the bill to allow the PUC to complete its investigation into whether the fees applied to solar customers are lawful. The Senate companion bill was heard in that body’s Finance Committee on March 2 and passed 9-4. The bill now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.


  • House File 394: Repeal Plans For a Sustainable Clean Energy Future 
  • Description: The bill would repeal the resources and strategy towards transitioning to an all-renewable energy future in Minnesota.
  • Status/Update: The bill was referred to the JGEA Committee (yet to be scheduled). No Senate companion has been introduced.