On May 7th, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed its omnibus energy bill by a vote of 70-63.  The bill includes a provision that requires investor-owned utilities to obtain 4 percent of their power from solar by 2025, with a goal of reaching 10 percent by 2030.  In contrast to the aggressive House bill, the Minnesota Senate’s omnibus energy bill contains a more modest requirement for 1 percent by 2025.  If signed into law, Minnesota would be the 17th state to enact a solar standard.  Unlike solar standards in other states, however, this standard is not a carve-out of the existing 25 percent by 2025 renewable energy standard; rather, it is an additional mandate.

In order to protect some industries, the House bill exempts any “iron mining extraction and processing facility” or “paper mill, wood products manufacturer, sawmill, or oriented strand board manufacturer” that would otherwise be subject to potential rate increases stemming from the standard.  The bill also exempts power cooperatives and municipal utilities from complying with the standard, which means that only the four investor-owned power companies serving Minnesota must comply: Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, Otter Tail Power Co., and Interstate Power & Light.

The Minnesota House and Senate must complete any compromise bill by the May 20th deadline for votes.