Renewable Energy Standard Could Be a Blowout

Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith wants 50 percent of Minnesota’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2030. The current renewable energy standards enacted under Governor Pawlenty is “25 percent by 2025” and “30 percent by 2025” for Xcel.

But this goal is a shot in the dark. While the recent sunny weather and windy days may have helped keep wind turbines spinning and solar panels glowing, heavy reliance on renewables could leave us groping for the light switch.

Wind and solar energy are not reliable, and if the state is hoping to generate half of its energy from these sources, there better be a backup. More than half of Minnesota’s electricity still comes from coal and nuclear. And for good reason. Minnesotans need reliable and affordable power. That means when a switch is flipped, whether it is windy or not, people need their lights to turn on.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith doesn’t seem to be focused on reliability, though. Or on cost. Arbitrary numbers are being tossed around, and numbers regarding cost and rate increases are left out. Along with consideration for low-income consumers who are likely to face higher electricity bills than their wealthier counterparts. Kristi Rosenquist, an alternative energy expert from Goodhue County, who has successfully blocked the construction of industrial wind turbine farms, says that “government mandates have not resulted in the cost savings promised by Lt. Governor Smith and other wind and solar promoters.”

So if lower costs aren’t the selling point for the proposed “50 by ’30” renewable energy standard, what is? Smith focuses on the environment and how renewables are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reported it is unlikely the state reached the 2015 emissions reduction goal, even admitting emissions increased in other areas.

Rosenquist sums up Lt. Governor Smith’s proposal best: depending on wind and solar for fifty percent of the state’s energy shows the North Star State “cannot recognize the naked truth about destructive renewable electricity mandates even while the results perform a strip-tease act on a wind turbine pole.”

Be sure to keep a flashlight, or a candle, at the ready.