The complaint leveled against Minnesota’s aggresive "25 percent by 2025’’ green energy law passed by the Legislature and embraced by Gov. Tim Pawlenty is valid.

The legislation reuires utilities to generate 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. The problem is, what if the renewable energy sources results in higher costs for the producing companies?

Rep. Paul Kohls, R-Victoria, is concerned about the potential that consumers energy bills will increase because of the requirement. Supporters responded to his complaint by inserting a provision that provides some flexibility. It gives Public Utilities Commission members the power to determine if the cost of meeting the standards would cause a significant increase in electricity bills. If the PUC found that was the case, it could modify the 2025 guidelines.

Kohls responded by attempting to add a provision that defined "significant’’ as a rate hike of 10 percent or more.

"I don’t think we should leave it to an unelected body to determine how much is significant,’’ Kohls told the Associated Press.


Kohl’s amendment failed. Another amendment — to allow the state to at least consider building a new nuclear power plant in addition to the ones already operating in Red Wing and Monticello — also failed.

Utilities would have to alter their retail power mix should, as expected, Pawlenty signs the legislation. BAn energy credit trading system would be created to help producers that have trouble meeting the standard.

Regulators could require utilities to build new facilities, buy or trade credits or pay unspecified financial penalties if they delay too long in going greener.

The 25 percent by 2025 law pushes Minnesota to the forefront of rural energy generation. With half of the state’s power produced from coal, any move toward greener alternatives promises economic development that goes beyond the ethanol industry. Alfalfa, turkey and livestock manure, scrub trees, crops residue and other alternatives hold great promise.

As lawmakers say, the green energy law is but a first step in making Minnesota more energy independent at the same time protecting the environment.

The United States has little alternative to be aggressive in this area. Global warming appears to be a significant threat to the earth’s future. Researchers say burning fossil fuels has contributed significantly to this problem. Most scientists say that the earlier the nation acts the more likely it is that the global warming problem will be reduced before catastrophic climate change occurs.

Computer models — if you can believe them — say that within 50 years much of the glaciers at the North and South poles could be gone. The melting ice would cool the ocean and cause water levels to rise to a level that threatens coastal areas. Cooler ocean temperatures could turn fertile regions into desert and make summers hotter and winters colder.

Minnesota new green energy law won’t sold global warming. However, it keeps Minnesota in the lead in terms of renewable energy. Hopefully, Public Utilities Commission members will protect consumers against higher utility bills should going greener prove too costly.


Ultimately, the cost of going greener will be more than outweighed by new jobs and industries and a better environment for our generation and the generations to come.

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