One of three bills introduced in January to the Minnesota legislature that seek to increase the state's renewable energy objective was passed by the House in a 123-10 vote on Feb. 19. The same bill was passed by the Senate in a 61-4 vote on Feb. 7.
The bill calls for 25% of Minnesota electric utilities' retail electric sales to customers in the state to be generated from eligible renewable resources by 2025. Interim renewable generation goals set out in the bill include 12% by 2012, 17% by 2016 and 20% by 2020.
The bill stipulates that any electric utility that owned a nuclear generating facility as of Jan. 1, 2007, must meet a different set of goals, including having 30% of retail electric sales come from eligible renewable resources by 2020. Of that 30%, at least 25% must be generated by wind energy.
The bill now must be signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn., who included a 25x'25 goal in the Next Generation Energy Initiative he unveiled Dec. 12, 2006. Pawlenty's initiative supports a provision to penalize utilities for noncompliance, which is included in the bill passed by the House and Senate.