The Minnesota State Legislature is currently debating a bill that would ease the regulatory burden on independent power producers looking to export wind and solar energy generated in Minnesota.
Minnesota law currently prohibits the construction of a large energy facility without the issuance of a certificate of need by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. This Certificate of Need requirement ensures that consumer demand, rather than potential revenue, drives construction. The new proposal would change this regulatory scheme by creating an exception for independent power producers who build a wind or solar project and export the power or sell into a wholesale market operated by a federally recognized regional transmission organization or independent system operator.
The new proposal, if enacted, will greatly reduce the initial cost and time required to develop a project and put Minnesota on par with neighboring states that do not require a Certificate of Need for projects that sell out-of-state. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission estimates that it takes, on average, 12 months to secure a Certificate of Need.
At this time the proposal looks to be progressing smoothly, as it unanimously cleared committee votes in both the House and Senate and was incorporated into the House omnibus energy bill. Read more about the proposed legislation here.