Policy & Regulation

22 May 2024

Minnesota to Sign Energy Infrastructure Permitting Act Into Law

22 May 2024  by renewableenergyworld   
Minnesota to sign Energy Infrastructure Permitting Act into law

Enel Green Power's 150 MW Aurora Solar in Minnesota. NREL Analyst Jordan Macknick and Jake Janski of Minnesota Native Landscapes survey the Aurora Solar Project's low-impact installation. (Photo courtesy: NREL)

The Minnesota Energy Infrastructure Permitting Act (HF 4700) has passed the Minnesota legislature and is headed to the desk of Governor Tim Walz, who is expected to sign it into law.

The package of permitting reform provisions is the culmination of a nine-month effort by clean energy businesses, utilities, state agencies, regulatory staff, and environmental nonprofits to improve the state’s energy permitting process.

“The Energy Infrastructure Permitting Act will be critical to meeting Minnesota’s goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040,” said Erika Kowall, director of Midwest state affairs for the American Clean Power Association (ACP).

“Minnesota already ranks tenth in the nation for clean energy production, and Governor Walz’s leadership on this issue will deliver real value to Minnesotans moving forward. ACP looks forward to continuing to work with Minnesota leaders to help unleash the state’s full clean energy potential,” she added.

The Minnesota Energy Infrastructure Permitting Act makes changes to reduce redundancies and impressive efficiencies to the state’s permitting process at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MN PUC), the agency responsible for approving permits for large-scale energy projects, including wind, solar, and battery storage. Last year, Minnesota passed a law requiring its utilities to generate or procure 100% of retail sales for public utility customers from carbon-free resources by 2040, 55% of which must be renewable (wind, solar, hydro, biomass) by 2035.

Clean Grid Alliance (CGA), which works to advance renewable energy in the Midwest, was a strong advocate for the permitting package. “Siting and permitting is the largest roadblock to deploying renewable projects across the Midwest, and the reforms in this package ensure Minnesota’s policies demonstrate the state’s readiness to welcome the clean energy transition,” said Beth Soholt, executive director of CGA.

A recent report shows that zero-carbon power generated 54% of Minnesota’s electricity in 2023, marking the fourth consecutive year that zero-carbon power has made up the majority of Minnesota’s electricity (54%), compared to the national share of carbon-free power at 41%.


Earlier this year, Minnesota updated its community solar program, passing legislation aimed at increasing the share of power going to residential subscribers, especially low-to-moderate-income customers, as well as attempting to address long-simmering complaints by solar companies about the program’s administration by utility Xcel Energy. The Minnesota Department of Commerce will now manage the program and has formally begun accepting applications. However, Xcel Energy will continue to handle interconnection applications, which have been a source of friction between the utility and developers. Community solar developers will be allowed to build larger projects with fewer geographic restrictions, up to 5 megawatts anywhere in Xcel’s service territory.

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