~ Executive actions and legislative proposals will increase use of renewable energy, create new Office of Energy Security ~
Saint Paul – Building on Minnesota’s leadership in renewable energy, energy conservation, and carbon reduction, Governor Tim Pawlenty today unveiled several energy initiatives.
Through two executive orders and additional legislative proposals, the Governor’s initiative promotes the use of small, local renewable energy technologies, focuses on clean energy research and development, and creates the Minnesota Office of Energy Security and the Carbon Market Planning Authority.
“We will continue to lead the energy revolution in a thoughtful manner that both protects Minnesota’s environment and economic prosperity,” Governor Pawlenty said.
In the 2007 legislative session, the Minnesota legislature adopted Governor Pawlenty's Next Generation Energy Initiative on a strong bipartisan basis, enacting the nation’s most aggressive renewable energy standard, doubling Minnesota’s commitment to energy efficiency and setting among the most far-reaching greenhouse gas reduction goals in the nation. More recently, Governor Pawlenty is advancing additional progress on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate strategies as chair of the National Governors Association, and as co-chair of the Midwestern Governors Association's Energy Security and Climate Stewardship Initiative.
The initiatives Governor Pawlenty announced today include four components:
• The Minnesota Local Renewable Energy Initiative
• Creation of the Clean Energy Technology Collaborative
• Establishment of the Minnesota Office of Energy Security
• Creation of the Carbon Market Planning Authority
Minnesota Local Renewable Energy Initiative
Homeowners, small businesses, farmers and community institutions face significant cost barriers to utilizing so called “microenergy” technologies such as solar, wind and geothermal sources to provide renewable energy.
Governor Pawlenty is proposing the Minnesota Local Renewable Energy Initiative to assist Minnesotans in energizing their homes, farms and businesses with small-scale renewable energy resources. This proposal will be submitted to the legislature in the 2008 session.
The state will provide funding through revenue bonds for long-term, low-interest loans through cities and counties for capital assistance to individual homes, farms, businesses and other community institutions to install “microenergy” technologies such as solar energy to produce hot water and electricity, very small windmills, geothermal heating and cooling and anaerobic gas digesters.
The loans would be repaid by the beneficiary over time.
“Minnesotans want to play a greater role in the ownership and production of the energy they use in their homes, farms and small businesses,” Governor Pawlenty said. “This effort will promote energy independence while providing local jobs and strengthening our economy.”
Clean Energy Technology Collaborative
Governor Pawlenty today signed an Executive Order creating the Governor’s Clean Energy Technology Collaborative (CETC). This group of up to 15 members appointed by the Governor will be responsible for developing a Clean Energy Technology Roadmap that will provide the research and development vision, along with a plan and milestones, to ensure Minnesota achieves the state’s clean energy goals.
Among those goals are the 25 x ’25 renewable energy standard that requires 25 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2025.
CETC members will include scientists from industry and academia, with the Director of the Office of Energy Security and Commissioners of Agriculture, Employment and Economic Development and the Pollution Control Agency serving as ex officio members.
“To achieve our clean energy goals we will need new, better and cheaper renewable energy technologies. That requires scientific and technological breakthroughs,” Governor Pawlenty said. “This collaborative will bring together scientists from our state’s great academic laboratories and industry research centers to draft a roadmap for achieving these breakthroughs and reaching our nation-leading clean energy goals.”
Office of Energy Security
A second Executive Order signed by Governor Pawlenty today creates the Minnesota Office of Energy Security within the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
“Clean energy and energy security is a critical issue to Minnesota’s future. This organizational change will keep Minnesota moving towards a better energy future,” said Governor Pawlenty.
The Governor appointed Commerce Department Deputy Commissioner Edward Garvey to also become the director of the new office. Garvey will coordinate energy and climate issues throughout the administration. Creating a focused office on energy security will allow the public easier access to energy information and technical assistance.
The Office of Energy Security will be housed in and receive administrative support from the Department of Commerce and there is no fiscal impact from this change.
“This structural change will support Governor Pawlenty’s efforts to secure a clean energy future,” said Glenn Wilson, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. “Edward Garvey is the right person to lead this new office because of the universal respect he enjoys from all sectors of the energy industry.”
Carbon Market Planning Authority
Through increased energy efficiency, use of renewable energy and changing industrial processes over the next several years, Minnesotans will address the threat of climate change and take actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
These actions could result in marketable carbon credits that could be sold in developing regional, national or global carbon trading programs.
To help plan for and foster this credit trading opportunity, Governor Pawlenty is proposing the creation of the Carbon Market Planning Authority (CMPA) within the newly created Office of Energy Security. Creation of CMPA will be submitted to the legislature in the 2008 session.
CMPA will study and plan for the potential for a carbon market exchange and the need for financing strategies to encourage the creation and viability of a carbon credit market.
CMPA will include six at-large members appointed by the Governor, as well as the Commissioners of the Pollution Control Agency, Employment and Economic Development, Finance, and Agriculture and would be chaired by the Director of the Office of Energy Security.
“While it’s still too early to know exactly how the carbon credit market will develop, it’s not too early to prepare for the emergence of markets,” Governor Pawlenty said.