Senator Benson shines in debate over legalizing new nuclear power plants

On April 14, 2021, the Minnesota State Senate debated legalizing new nuclear power plants in the state, something that has been illegal since 1994. Senate Republicans had included a bill authored by Senator Mary Kiffmeyer that would allow electric companies to seek approval to build new nuclear power plants.

During the debate, an amendment to keep nuclear plants illegal was brought forth by Senator Torres Ray (DFL-Minneapolis), but it was Senator Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake) who stole the show and displayed an impressive knowledge of how energy decisions we make today will affect reliability and affordability tomorrow.

Benson questions Torres Ray by asking her what her plan was for reliable, baseload power when the coal plants are gone if we don’t legalize new nuclear. Senator Torres Ray didn’t know.

Senator Benson then succinctly connects the dots between increasing reliance upon wind, solar, and natural gas and large spikes in home heating costs when wind and solar generation is low, but demand for natural gas for home heating is high.

Emphasizing the need for a diverse portfolio of reliable energy resources to mitigate against supply shortages is exactly the kind of conversation we should be having in Minnesota and throughout the entire country.

I would encourage you to watch Senator Benson’s comments and her exchange with Senator Torres Ray.