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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 2218

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 03/18/2019 10:21pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 03/07/2019

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to energy; requiring certain grantees to submit an annual diversity report;
requiring utilities to submit an annual diversity report; amending Minnesota Statutes
2018, sections 116C.779, subdivision 1; 216B.1641; proposing coding for new
law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 216C.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 116C.779, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Renewable development account.

(a) The renewable development
account is established as a separate account in the special revenue fund in the state treasury.
Appropriations and transfers to the account shall be credited to the account. Earnings, such
as interest, dividends, and any other earnings arising from assets of the account, shall be
credited to the account. Funds remaining in the account at the end of a fiscal year are not
canceled to the general fund but remain in the account until expended. The account shall
be administered by the commissioner of management and budget as provided under this
section.

(b) On July 1, 2017, the public utility that owns the Prairie Island nuclear generating
plant must transfer all funds in the renewable development account previously established
under this subdivision and managed by the public utility to the renewable development
account established in paragraph (a). Funds awarded to grantees in previous grant cycles
that have not yet been expended and unencumbered funds required to be paid in calendar
year 2017 under paragraphs (f) and (g), and sections 116C.7792 and 216C.41, are not subject
to transfer under this paragraph.

(c) Except as provided in subdivision 1a, beginning January 15, 2018, and continuing
each January 15 thereafter, the public utility that owns the Prairie Island nuclear generating
plant must transfer to the renewable development account $500,000 each year for each dry
cask containing spent fuel that is located at the Prairie Island power plant for each year the
plant is in operation, and $7,500,000 each year the plant is not in operation if ordered by
the commission pursuant to paragraph (i). The fund transfer must be made if nuclear waste
is stored in a dry cask at the independent spent-fuel storage facility at Prairie Island for any
part of a year.

(d) Except as provided in subdivision 1a, beginning January 15, 2018, and continuing
each January 15 thereafter, the public utility that owns the Monticello nuclear generating
plant must transfer to the renewable development account $350,000 each year for each dry
cask containing spent fuel that is located at the Monticello nuclear power plant for each
year the plant is in operation, and $5,250,000 each year the plant is not in operation if ordered
by the commission pursuant to paragraph (i). The fund transfer must be made if nuclear
waste is stored in a dry cask at the independent spent-fuel storage facility at Monticello for
any part of a year.

(e) Each year, the public utility shall withhold from the funds transferred to the renewable
development account under paragraphs (c) and (d) the amount necessary to pay its obligations
under paragraphs (f) and (g), and sections 116C.7792 and 216C.41, for that calendar year.

(f) If the commission approves a new or amended power purchase agreement, the
termination of a power purchase agreement, or the purchase and closure of a facility under
section 216B.2424, subdivision 9, with an entity that uses poultry litter to generate electricity,
the public utility subject to this section shall enter into a contract with the city in which the
poultry litter plant is located to provide grants to the city for the purposes of economic
development on the following schedule: $4,000,000 in fiscal year 2018; $6,500,000 each
fiscal year in 2019 and 2020; and $3,000,000 in fiscal year 2021. The grants shall be paid
by the public utility from funds withheld from the transfer to the renewable development
account, as provided in paragraphs (b) and (e).

(g) If the commission approves a new or amended power purchase agreement, or the
termination of a power purchase agreement under section 216B.2424, subdivision 9, with
an entity owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by two municipal utilities located north
of Constitutional Route No. 8, that was previously used to meet the biomass mandate in
section 216B.2424, the public utility that owns a nuclear generating plant shall enter into a
grant contract with such entity to provide $6,800,000 per year for five years, commencing
30 days after the commission approves the new or amended power purchase agreement, or
the termination of the power purchase agreement, and on each June 1 thereafter through
2021, to assist the transition required by the new, amended, or terminated power purchase
agreement. The grant shall be paid by the public utility from funds withheld from the transfer
to the renewable development account as provided in paragraphs (b) and (e).

(h) The collective amount paid under the grant contracts awarded under paragraphs (f)
and (g) is limited to the amount deposited into the renewable development account, and its
predecessor, the renewable development account, established under this section, that was
not required to be deposited into the account under Laws 1994, chapter 641, article 1, section
10.

(i) After discontinuation of operation of the Prairie Island nuclear plant or the Monticello
nuclear plant and each year spent nuclear fuel is stored in dry cask at the discontinued
facility, the commission shall require the public utility to pay $7,500,000 for the discontinued
Prairie Island facility and $5,250,000 for the discontinued Monticello facility for any year
in which the commission finds, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the public utility
did not make a good faith effort to remove the spent nuclear fuel stored at the facility to a
permanent or interim storage site out of the state. This determination shall be made at least
every two years.

(j) Funds in the account may be expended only for any of the following purposes:

(1) to stimulate research and development of renewable electric energy technologies;

(2) to encourage grid modernization, including, but not limited to, projects that implement
electricity storage, load control, and smart meter technology; and

(3) to stimulate other innovative energy projects that reduce demand and increase system
efficiency and flexibility.

Expenditures from the fund must benefit Minnesota ratepayers receiving electric service
from the utility that owns a nuclear-powered electric generating plant in this state or the
Prairie Island Indian community or its members.

The utility that owns a nuclear generating plant is eligible to apply for grants under this
subdivision.

(k) For the purposes of paragraph (j), the following terms have the meanings given:

(1) "renewable" has the meaning given in section 216B.2422, subdivision 1, paragraph
(c), clauses (1), (2), (4), and (5); and

(2) "grid modernization" means:

(i) enhancing the reliability of the electrical grid;

(ii) improving the security of the electrical grid against cyberthreats and physical threats;
and

(iii) increasing energy conservation opportunities by facilitating communication between
the utility and its customers through the use of two-way meters, control technologies, energy
storage and microgrids, technologies to enable demand response, and other innovative
technologies.

(l) A renewable development account advisory group that includes, among others,
representatives of the public utility and its ratepayers, and includes at least one representative
of the Prairie Island Indian community appointed by that community's tribal council, shall
develop recommendations on account expenditures. The advisory group must design a
request for proposal and evaluate projects submitted in response to a request for proposals.
The advisory group must utilize an independent third-party expert to evaluate proposals
submitted in response to a request for proposal, including all proposals made by the public
utility. A request for proposal for research and development under paragraph (j), clause (1),
may be limited to or include a request to higher education institutions located in Minnesota
for multiple projects authorized under paragraph (j), clause (1). The request for multiple
projects may include a provision that exempts the projects from the third-party expert review
and instead provides for project evaluation and selection by a merit peer review grant system.
In the process of determining request for proposal scope and subject and in evaluating
responses to request for proposals, the advisory group must strongly consider, where
reasonabledeleted text begin,deleted text endnew text begin:
new text end

new text begin (1)new text end potential benefit to Minnesota citizens and businesses and the utility's ratepayersnew text begin;
and
new text end

new text begin (2) the proposer's commitment to increasing the diversity of the proposer's workforce
and vendors
new text end.

(m) The advisory group shall submit funding recommendations to the public utility,
which has full and sole authority to determine which expenditures shall be submitted by
the advisory group to the legislature. The commission may approve proposed expenditures,
may disapprove proposed expenditures that it finds not to be in compliance with this
subdivision or otherwise not in the public interest, and may, if agreed to by the public utility,
modify proposed expenditures. The commission shall, by order, submit its funding
recommendations to the legislature as provided under paragraph (n).

(n) The commission shall present its recommended appropriations from the account to
the senate and house of representatives committees with jurisdiction over energy policy and
finance annually by February 15. Expenditures from the account must be appropriated by
law. In enacting appropriations from the account, the legislature:

(1) may approve or disapprove, but may not modify, the amount of an appropriation for
a project recommended by the commission; and

(2) may not appropriate money for a project the commission has not recommended
funding.

(o) A request for proposal for renewable energy generation projects must, when feasible
and reasonable, give preference to projects that are most cost-effective for a particular energy
source.

(p) The advisory group must annually, by February 15, report to the chairs and ranking
minority members of the legislative committees with jurisdiction over energy policy on
projects funded by the account for the prior year and all previous years. The report must,
to the extent possible and reasonable, itemize the actual and projected financial benefit to
the public utility's ratepayers of each project.

(q) By February 1, 2018, and each February 1 thereafter, the commissioner of
management and budget shall submit a written report regarding the availability of funds in
and obligations of the account to the chairs and ranking minority members of the senate
and house committees with jurisdiction over energy policy and finance, the public utility,
and the advisory group.

(r) A project receiving funds from the account must produce a written final report that
includes sufficient detail for technical readers and a clearly written summary for nontechnical
readers. The report must include an evaluation of the project's financial, environmental, and
other benefits to the state and the public utility's ratepayers.new text begin A project receiving funds from
the account must submit a report that meets the requirements of section 216C.51, subdivisions
3 and 4, each year the project funded by the account is in progress.
new text end

(s) Final reports, any mid-project status reports, and renewable development account
financial reports must be posted online on a public website designated by the commissioner
of commerce.

(t) All final reports must acknowledge that the project was made possible in whole or
part by the Minnesota renewable development account, noting that the account is financed
by the public utility's ratepayers.

(u) Of the amount in the renewable development account, priority must be given to
making the payments required under section 216C.417.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 216B.1641, is amended to read:


216B.1641 COMMUNITY SOLAR GARDEN.

(a) The public utility subject to section 116C.779 shall file by September 30, 2013, a
plan with the commission to operate a community solar garden program which shall begin
operations within 90 days after commission approval of the plan. Other public utilities may
file an application at their election. The community solar garden program must be designed
to offset the energy use of not less than five subscribers in each community solar garden
facility of which no single subscriber has more than a 40 percent interest. The owner of the
community solar garden may be a public utility or any other entity or organization that
contracts to sell the output from the community solar garden to the utility under section
216B.164. There shall be no limitation on the number or cumulative generating capacity of
community solar garden facilities other than the limitations imposed under section 216B.164,
subdivision 4c
, or other limitations provided in law or regulations.

(b) A solar garden is a facility that generates electricity by means of a ground-mounted
or roof-mounted solar photovoltaic device whereby subscribers receive a bill credit for the
electricity generated in proportion to the size of their subscription. The solar garden must
have a nameplate capacity of no more than one megawatt. Each subscription shall be sized
to represent at least 200 watts of the community solar garden's generating capacity and to
supply, when combined with other distributed generation resources serving the premises,
no more than 120 percent of the average annual consumption of electricity by each subscriber
at the premises to which the subscription is attributed.

(c) The solar generation facility must be located in the service territory of the public
utility filing the plan. Subscribers must be retail customers of the public utility located in
the same county or a county contiguous to where the facility is located.

(d) The public utility must purchase from the community solar garden all energy generated
by the solar garden. The purchase shall be at the rate calculated under section 216B.164,
subdivision 10
, or, until that rate for the public utility has been approved by the commission,
the applicable retail rate. A solar garden is eligible for any incentive programs offered under
either section 116C.7792 or section 216C.415. A subscriber's portion of the purchase shall
be provided by a credit on the subscriber's bill.

(e) The commission may approve, disapprove, or modify a community solar garden
program. Any plan approved by the commission must:

(1) reasonably allow for the creation, financing, and accessibility of community solar
gardens;

(2) establish uniform standards, fees, and processes for the interconnection of community
solar garden facilities that allow the utility to recover reasonable interconnection costs for
each community solar garden;

(3) not apply different requirements to utility and nonutility community solar garden
facilities;

(4) be consistent with the public interest;

(5) identify the information that must be provided to potential subscribers to ensure fair
disclosure of future costs and benefits of subscriptions;

(6) include a program implementation schedule;

(7) identify all proposed rules, fees, and charges; deleted text beginand
deleted text end

(8) identify the means by which the program will be promotednew text begin; and
new text end

new text begin (9) require an owner of a solar garden to submit a report that meets the requirements of
section 216C.51, subdivisions 3 and 4, each year the solar garden is in operation
new text end.

(f) Notwithstanding any other law, neither the manager of nor the subscribers to a
community solar garden facility shall be considered a utility solely as a result of their
participation in the community solar garden facility.

(g) Within 180 days of commission approval of a plan under this section, a utility shall
begin crediting subscriber accounts for each community solar garden facility in its service
territory, and shall file with the commissioner of commerce a description of its crediting
system.

(h) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the meanings given:

(1) "subscriber" means a retail customer of a utility who owns one or more subscriptions
of a community solar garden facility interconnected with that utility; and

(2) "subscription" means a contract between a subscriber and the owner of a solar garden.

Sec. 3.

new text begin [216C.51] UTILITY DIVERSITY REPORTING.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Public policy. new text end

new text begin It is the public policy of this state to encourage each utility
that serves Minnesota residents to focus on and improve the diversity of the utility's
workforce and suppliers.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Definition. new text end

new text begin As used in this section, "utility" has the meaning given in section
216C.06, subdivision 18.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Annual report. new text end

new text begin (a) Beginning March 15, 2020, and each March 15 thereafter,
each utility authorized to do business in Minnesota must file an annual diversity report to
the commissioner on:
new text end

new text begin (1) the utility's goals and efforts to increase diversity in the workplace, including current
workforce representation numbers and percentages; and
new text end

new text begin (2) all procurement goals and actual spending for female-owned, minority-owned,
veteran-owned, and small business enterprises during the previous calendar year.
new text end

new text begin (b) The goals under paragraph (a), clause (2), must be expressed as a percentage of the
total work performed by the utility submitting the report. The actual spending for
female-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, and small business enterprises must also
be expressed as a percentage of the total work performed by the utility submitting the report.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Report elements. new text end

new text begin Each utility required to report under this section must include
the following in the annual report to the department:
new text end

new text begin (1) an explanation of the plan to increase diversity in the utility's workforce and suppliers
during the next year;
new text end

new text begin (2) an explanation of the plan to increase the goals;
new text end

new text begin (3) an explanation of the challenges faced to increase workforce and supplier diversity,
including suggestions regarding actions the department could take to help identify potential
employees and vendors;
new text end

new text begin (4) a list of the certifications the company recognizes;
new text end

new text begin (5) a point of contact for a potential employee or vendor that wishes to work for or do
business with the utility; and
new text end

new text begin (6) a list of successful actions taken to increase workforce and supplier diversity, to
encourage other companies to emulate best practices.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin State data. new text end

new text begin Each annual report must include as much state-specific data as
possible. If the submitting utility does not submit state-specific data, the utility must include
any relevant national data it possesses, explain why it could not submit state-specific data,
and detail how it intends to include state-specific data in future reports, if possible.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Publication; retention. new text end

new text begin The department must publish an annual report on its
website and must maintain each annual report for at least five years.
new text end