Later this month, the Minnesota Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee will hold a pair of hearings in Rochester and Mound to consider legislation designed to modernize Minnesota’s energy resources. The legislation, known as ‘Clean Energy First’, aims to prioritize clean energy as the state plans its future energy needs.

Senate Republicans will introduce the ‘Clean Energy First’ legislation when the session begins in February. The legislation will require Minnesota utility companies to prioritize carbon-free technology in their future plans and will direct the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to consider whether utilities’ new energy projects are in the public interest. The legislation includes nuclear, solar, wind, hydropower, carbon sequestration, and municipal solid waste as clean energy.

“In the next two decades, most fossil fueled power plants will likely be retired and replaced – representing more than 40 percent of our current capacity. As we plan for our state’s future energy needs, we have the opportunity to do so in a way that prioritizes efficiency and carbon-free energy,” said Senator David Osmek (R-Mound), chair of the Energy and Utilities Committee. “‘Clean Energy First’ addresses our long-term energy needs in an affordable and reliable way by allowing technology and the economy to drive innovation in the energy sector. Mandates only drive up cost; we need to keep that in perspective as it relates to the cost of energy in Minnesota for all energy consumers.”

“I’m excited to host the committee in Rochester and am looking forward to having a productive discussion on how we can modernize our state’s energy resources to be reliable, affordable, and clean,” said Senator David Senjem (R-Rochester), a member of the committee. “Our Clean Energy First proposal will help Minnesota accomplish the transition to clean energy through careful resource planning and coordination. An all-of-the-above approach to clean energy ensures a reliable grid. This is a reasonable approach that’s more flexible and less costly.”

On Wednesday, January 15, the committee will meet at Rochester Community and Technical College’s Heintz Center Commons (1926 College View Rd E, Rochester, MN 55904) at 6:00 p.m. On Wednesday, January 22, the committee will meet at Mound Westonka High School’s Performing Arts Center (905 Sunnyfield Rd E, Minnetrista, MN 55364) at 4:00 p.m.

Public testimony on the legislation will be taken as time allows. Testifiers are encouraged to provide written copies of their testimony prior to each hearing for inclusion in hearing packets given to members of the committee. Individuals wishing to testify must sign up in advance by contacting Darrin Lee, committee administrator, at darrin.lee@senate.mn or (651) 296-2962. Local press inquiries should be directed to Jake Schneider at jacob.schneider@senate.mn or (651) 296-9477. 

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