On Energy: 2024 legislature ends with a whimper

The left-wing energy agenda at the Minnesota legislature was, thankfully, much less ambitious than their 2023 program. Tucked into the 2,800-page last-second omnibus bill are a handful of wins for the “clean energy” lobby.

The centerpiece of the 2024 agenda fell under the heading of “permitting reform.” How ironic.

The Star Tribune reports,

The late-Sunday resolution will cut red tape for wind, solar and transmission projects 

Renewable energy advocates celebrated.

“Siting and permitting is among the largest roadblocks to deploying renewable projects across the Midwest, and the reforms in this package ensure Minnesota’s policies demonstrate the state is committed to meeting the clean-energy transition,” said Beth Soholt, executive director of the trade group Clean Grid Alliance.

[Editorial note: For decades I was employed in the private sector building conventional (natural-gas fueled) power plants. In two stints in state government, I also worked on building more generating capacity, along with new transmission lines to bolster system reliability. I, too, was frustrated by the over-regulation and red tape imposed on the electric-power industry.

But, suddenly, when it’s renewable wind and solar power, the red-tape-morass is a problem needing a solution.]

In actual good news: House Democrats fell short in their efforts to restore a costly small-scale solar subsidy program being phased out by the state’s Public Utilities Commission.

Small mercies.