Gov. Tim Walz (D-MN) announced a proposal to make Minnesota a 100 percent clean energy state by 2050 at a press conference Monday morning.
“Today I’m excited to be here to propose our One Minnesota path to clean energy—a set of policy proposals that will lead Minnesota to 100 percent clean energy in the state’s electrical sector by 2050. There’s a lot of reasons to be excited about this. Minnesota’s known as a national leader in setting and achieving clean energy goals. There’s now an opportunity to take this leadership to a new level,” Walz said to applause.
He said his proposal would build on the success “that Minnesota’s achieved in reducing dependence on fossil fuels, increasing the use of clean energy, promoting energy efficiency, and lowering greenhouse gas pollution produced by the electrical sector.”
Today, I am proud to announce our One Minnesota Path to Clean Energy – a set of policy proposals that will lead Minnesota to 100% clean energy by 2050.
Posted by Governor Tim Walz on Monday, March 4, 2019
“The proposal establishes a new standard that requires all electric utilities in Minnesota to use only carbon-free energy resources by 2050, while allowing each utility the flexibility to choose how and in what ways they meet the standard,” he added.
Walz also claimed that his proposal would “ensure local hiring and require living wages,” but didn’t elaborate any further.
“I have been absolutely clear on this for decades both as a geography teacher, as a member of Congress, and now as the governor of Minnesota: climate change is an existential threat,” he continued. “We must take immediate action, and I’ve said this for the last several years and it’s more apparent now: if Washington’s not going to lead, Minnesota will lead, and we’re doing that today.”
Walz concluded his remarks by suggesting that his proposal is “different’ than some of the other aggressive clean energy proposals across the country since his office is “partnering with our energy utilities here in Minnesota who are also helping lead the way.”
Commissioner of Commerce Steve Kelly also spoke Monday to discuss the proposal, but the press conference overall was somewhat lacking in details. Kelly acknowledged that the proposal doesn’t “dictate a specific road map for getting there,” but said “we will build that together as Minnesotans.”
State Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound) called Walz’s proposal a “laudable goal,” but suggested that it “ignores the stark reality that we will always have a need for traditional energy generation methods, which includes carbon-based options.”
“During the recent polar vortex, when Minnesota’s wind turbines ceased to operate at 22 degrees below zero, millions of families across our state would have been left without power had it not been for traditional energy sources,” Osmek said in a press release. “For the safety of every Minnesotan, we must continue to have an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to energy, if for no other reason than as a back-up in emergency situations.”
Additionally, Osmek argued that a “push to 100 percent will cause energy to skyrocket in our state,” and put a “strain on the budgets of every Minnesota family.”
“Rather than bending to every demand of environmental activist groups by blocking the Line 3 pipeline and backing expensive energy mandates, the governor should embrace a true ‘One Minnesota’ all-of-the-above energy strategy that ensures Minnesotans have energy that is reliable and affordable,” Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R-Ghent) added.
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