- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Utilities would increasingly turn to wind, water and other renewable-energy sources for their electricity under a bill that cleared the Minnesota House.
After almost three hours of debate, the House voted 123-10 to join the Senate in requiring utilities to meet ambitious new requirements to curb reliance on pollution-causing fossil fuels. Earlier this month, the Senate voted 63-3 to adopt it.
“It will be the strongest, most aggressive renewable-energy standard in the country,” said Rep. Aaron Peterson, D-Appleton, the bill’s chief sponsor.
The mandate would require most utilities to generate 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility, would have to get 30 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020, with 25 percent coming from wind and 5 percent from other renewable sources.
The measure requires utilities to meet specific incremental benchmarks along the way. Most, for example, would have to reach 7 percent by 2010, 12 percent by 2012, 17 percent by 2016 and 20 percent by 2020. Xcel would have to hit 15 percent by 2010, 18 percent by 2012 and 25 percent by 2016.
The bill gives the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission authority to delay or modify that timeline, but only if doing so is in the public interest. The state currently generates about 800 megawatts of power from wind. Under the new mandate, that could increase by 5,000 or 6,000 megawatts by 2025.