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This state is completely overhauling its energy grid — here's why your state might be next

The law moves the deadline for utility companies up a full decade.

Minnesota law, Clean energy

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Polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of Americans want their energy to come from clean, renewable sources. Unfortunately, business interests such as power companies have held progress back for decades.

But Minnesota just showed that it is willing to listen to its citizens. It has come out with a new law that would require its power utilities to use 100% clean electricity by 2040.

The bill was passed by both the Minnesota House and Senate and signed into law shortly after by Governor Tim Walz.

The bill requires the state's power companies to get 100% of their energy from carbon-free sources by 2040, moving the deadline up a full decade from a previous promise made by the state's two main utility companies. 

There would also be benchmarks along the way, requiring the companies to hit 80% carbon-free energy by 2030 and 90% by 2035.

The parameters for what constitutes carbon-free energy include solar, wind, hydropower, nuclear, hydrogen power, and biomass (energy made by burning natural substances like wood). 

Another part of the bill will require the companies to get 55% of their energy from renewable sources (a smaller and even better list) by 2035.

An additional provision of the bill, which environmental justice groups fought for, stipulates that the energy companies would not be allowed to count any power generated from waste incineration plants built in low-income, majority-non-white communities. These plants, they argued, are detrimental to the air quality and health of the surrounding communities.

"Climate change is coming and has been here and it affects everything we do," state Senator Nick Frentz, who sponsored the bill, told the Duluth News Tribune. "In the southwestern part of the state … drought has now affected us twice in a row. That drought costs money and is a threat to our $20 billion-a-year agriculture industry."

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