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Nicole Rom, Executive Director
In September 2012, as a participant of Climate Ride, I biked 300 miles along California’s coast with past board member, David Bryan. Among many other things, the ride allowed me to understand a bit more about what brings people like Dave and the other 130+ riders to the climate change issue.
Congressman Ellison wrote a great piece in the Huffington Post highlighting the need for the Environmental Protection Agency to pass strong carbon pollution standards for new and existing coal-burning power plants and called on Xcel Energy to transition Units 1 & 2 of the Sherco coal plant- Minnesota's largest carbon emitter- to clean energy.
Wednesday October 2nd marked the Ceremonial signing of our Clean Energy and Jobs bill - also known as the Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development bill (HF729 / SF 1057).
The fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was released today and strongly reaffirms that humans are driving climate change. The report shows that our climate is changing, from the poles to the equator.
The Obama administration proposed a major new rule today to curb the carbon pollution spewing from power plants that contributes to human-induced climate change. Scientists warn that without major reductions in carbon pollution, extreme weather will become even more frequent and severe.
Due to our Clean Energy and Jobs campaign efforts, the 2013 Legislature passed solar energy legislation.
Together with our members and supporters, the Minnesota Clean Energy and Jobs campaign will galvanize support for the following policies:
Strengthen our state’s commitment to clean, renewable energy by increasing the state’s Renewable Energy Standard to 40 percent by 2030.
- With our 25 percent by 2025 RES, our state is well on its way to transitioning to clean, renewable energy. We’ve already created thousands of jobs by driving a market for wind energy in this state, but we have fallen to seventh in the nation for installed wind farms, proving we still have work to do.
- Increasing the RES to 40 percent by 2030, along with other policies that will speed the development of wind, solar and biomass energy in our state, will create jobs throughout the state, develop a larger market for renewable energy, diversify our energy mix, and improve the air, land and water in Minnesota.
- By driving the demand for clean, renewable energy, we can ensure that those products are produced here, in Minnesota, creating jobs for Minnesotans and ensuring that companies know our state is open for renewable energy business.
- Minnesota electric utilities have done a good job implementing the current RES reliably, efficiently and economically.
- Increasing the RES creates a more flexible and dynamic electrical system for Minnesota that is less reliant on older, more carbon intensive generation. The enhanced RES puts Minnesota back in a national leadership role in preparing for a 21st century economy.
Create jobs, increase the state’s energy independence and improve our economy by establishing a solar energy standard of 10 percent by 2030.
- This standard will bring more than 2,000 jobs and significant investment to our state, will reduce our reliance on imported energy, keep our hard-earned money here in Minnesota, and give people and businesses the opportunity to be energy producers, not just consumers.
- This and a set of other policies we are proposing will make solar cheaper, faster and more cost effective for consumers while creating highly skilled, high-paying jobs and economic opportunity in Minnesota.
- These measures would lower the cost of solar and cut the red tape in government and utilities – getting the government out of the way to allow the industry to grow here in Minnesota.
Save money and energy by increasing efficiency.
- Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest route to fulfilling our nation’s energy needs and is poised to save nearly $700 billion nationally by 2020, create jobs, and significantly reduce pollution.
- Retrofitting our state’s commercial and residential buildings will make them more energy efficient, saving consumers money and reducing energy use.
- Minnesota must provide incentives to utilities to promote and increase energy efficiency.
- The more energy utilities sell, the more money they earn. So why would they encourage energy efficiency?
- We propose changing the model - aligning incentives for utilities so their costs are covered - and they are free to devise their own way to make more money from saving energy than wasting it.
Make it easier to generate local power by cutting the red tape and taking government out of the equation.
- The barriers to producing local power - for instance, high costs of producing power on your own land and difficulty connecting to the grid - are significant.
- But it doesn’t have to be. This set of policies would make it easier and cheaper to work with the government and to connect to the grid for local, community-based power.
- It also empowers all Minnesotans to participate in renewable energy projects in their own communities.
The Will Steger Foundation has joined a group of labor, energy, business, faith, environment, and youth leaders in a campaign to advance groundbreaking state legislation that creates jobs for Minnesotans, generates clean, renewable energy, and protects our health and the air we breathe.
One of our rising youth climate leaders recently addressed a crowd of over 40 clean energy advocates working on advancing Minnesota’s clean energy leadership. I was struck by his confidence and articulate comments, especially since they epitomize why our work is so urgent and important.
In Governor Dayton’s State of the State last evening he recognized Will Steger:
"No one can endure the severe droughts or floods of recent years or our milder snow-scarce winters without being greatly alarmed. Just talk with my good friend and world-premier polar explorer, Will Steger, about the drastic climate changes he has witnessed. Even more alarming is that our state and our nation are still not doing enough to reverse this path towards global catastrophe, before it is too late. We've made real progress with clean, renewable energy, instead of polluting fossil fuels...but are we progressing fast enough?"
For the past year the Will Steger Foundation has been working behind the scenes to provide Governor Dayton with compelling evidence of the massive public support for advancing renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, and creating clean energy jobs. At the same time we have built this support through public outreach. Thousands of postcards collected at our fall forums were successfully delivered in a recent meeting with Governor Dayton, where we outlined why Minnesota is poised for climate action now and where we should be going next. The Governor responded to these efforts in his recent State of the State address.
This legislative session, we will be working with a broad coalition and Governor Dayton’s administration to support Minnesota’s existing clean energy and carbon reduction policies. We will heed his advice to "use our past achievements as springboards for Minnesota's next big leap toward a sustainable energy future." We will also galvanize our youth leaders through our Emerging Leaders Program to build a grassroots youth movement that expands what is politically possible in Minnesota. Governor Dayton has shown that he is responsive to youth concerns, which make the youth voice absolutely integral to his leadership.
Minnesotans have a rich history of coming together to advocate for common sense solutions. We believe that through collaboration around shared goals, the opportunity to create a clean energy economy is now.
Climate and Energy Literacy Webinar: Eyewitness to Climate Change
Jan 15 - 06:30pm - 08:00pm
Professional Development Programs for Climate Change Education Webinar
Jan 29 - 07:30pm - 09:00pm
Climate and Energy Literacy Webinar: Engaging High School Students in Climate Policy
Feb 12 - 06:30pm - 08:00pm
You can view our full profile at the Charities Review Council.