[From a Governor's office press release:]
Following through on the sweeping energy initiatives he outlined last December, Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 [on May 25th].
The Governor's energy plan puts Minnesota squarely at the front of states leading the way toward our nation's energy future. The legislation signed today will increase energy efficiency, expand community based energy development, and establish a statewide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and supplements the aggressive 25 x '25 renewable energy standard proposed by the Governor and signed earlier this year.
“The best time to have taken action on energy issues would've been 30 years ago. The second best time is right now," Governor Pawlenty said. "The nation has been asleep at the switch, but here in Minnesota we are kick-starting the future by increasing our nation-leading per capita renewable fuel use, boosting cost saving measures and tackling greenhouse gas emissions."
Governor Pawlenty first introduced his Next Generation Energy Initiative in December 2006 to provide more renewable energy, more energy conservation, and less carbon emissions for Minnesota.
Following the framework developed early in the legislative session with the passage of the nation’s most aggressive Renewable Energy Standard, the Next Generation Energy Act establishes nation-leading requirements on Minnesota’s electric utilities while ensuring reliability and protecting the cost-competitiveness of Minnesota’s electric system.
The legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support and was co-authored by Rep. Bill Hilty and Senator Yvonne Prettner Solon.
The Next Generation Energy Act includes:
Earlier this year, the Governor signed legislation containing the first components of his Next Generation Energy Initiative:
o $15 million for bioenergy, biomass electricity, biofuels, plug-in hybrid technologies, renewable hydrogen and solar technology projects.
o $17 million for energy research, including funding for the U of M Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment.
o $3 million to double the number of E85 stations in Minnesota from the nation-leading 300 stations to 600 stations.
In addition, the NextGen Energy Board is established and will begin meeting next month to develop bioenergy and biofuels policies and recommendations.
“The Next Generation Energy Initiative is providing the pathway to a better energy future,” Governor Pawlenty said. “Minnesota is the leader in energy policy that benefits the environment, rural economies, national security and consumers.”
Well done Minnesota! If you're interested in the development and debates surrounding these bills, head over to www.energista.org and poke through their archives for lots of detailed posts discussing the renewable energy standard and the Next Generation Energy Initiative.