State Senator Chris Eaton (DFL-Brooklyn Center), announced passage of the 2013 Omnibus Energy bill from the finance committee this week. As a co-author, Eaton said the legislation moves Minnesota toward a more sustainable energy economy that reduces the state’s reliance on sources of energy that contribute to greenhouse gasses.
The legislation directs the Legislative Energy Commission to develop a framework for Minnesota’s transition to a renewable energy economy and provide the legislature with the report by January 15, 2014. The bill also amends Minnesota’s 30-year-old net metering law by increasing the cap on net-metered systems from 40 kilowatts to 1,000 kilowatts (1 megawatt) for customers and facilities that offset their energy use through renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. “This bill is a good and timely step towards lessening the state’s reliance on carbon=based energy such as coal and natural gas,” Eaton said. “It not only saves our natural resources, it provides incentives to move towards more renewable resources.”
Senator Eaton is also proud of the solar production incentive in the bill. It requires utilities and cooperatives to deposit one percent of their retail electric sales and make incentive payments to local solar generators who are customers within their service territories. A provision in the bill also authorizes production incentives that can be paid for solar modules that are certified as “Made in Minnesota.” “The made in Minnesota provision promotes small businesses in Minnesota — which will help bring jobs and major investments to the state,” said Eaton.
“This is a good bill that will send a long-term, predicable signal that Minnesota is serious about developing renewable energy and a stable solar market,” Eaton said. The bill passed the Senate Finance Committee and now moves to the Senate floor.