While electricity prices rise, Gov. Walz is attacking the problem of…energy equity?

The office of Gov. Tim Walz issued this press release yesterday announcing new grants for energy industry jobs. The headline,

Governor Walz Announces Funding to Train Underrepresented Workers for Clean Energy Careers

How much funding and for whom?

Governor Tim Walz today announced $2.7 million in grants to build career pathways for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and low-income Minnesotans into good-paying union trade jobs in the high-demand fields of construction, clean energy and energy efficiency.

They’ve already chosen the grant recipients, and its the usual mix of politically-connected nonprofits, not individual job seekers.

What problem are we trying to solve here? Lt. Gov. Flanagan explains,

Climate change has disproportionately impacted the people who are least responsible for the problem, namely low-income communities and communities of color. That’s why these grants are so important.

It’s a parody of the old joke newspaper headline, “World Ends, ________ Hardest Hit.”

I find it difficult to accept that the biggest problem facing the energy sector in Minnesota is the demographics of the electric utility industry.

Minnesotans are struggling to pay their electric bills and no wonder. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reveals that Minnesota sits in the middle of the state rankings for highest electric prices. The state used to rank among the lowest prices in America.

In the most recent data available (March 2024) Minnesota’s residential electricity prices are the highest in its region (West North Central). In fact, Minnesota has the highest electricity prices for any consumer category in its region.

The average residential price in Minnesota sits below the national average, but grew at a rate of 6.8 percent in the past year, much faster than the national average of 4.8 percent.

Neighboring North Dakota continues to enjoy the lowest prices in America.

But at least the correct nonprofits are getting paid.