language to be deleted (2) new language
relating to utilities; providing standards for state-funded outdoor lighting fixtures; modifying Petrofund program; providing for replacement of PVC piping in heating oil systems in residential locations; providing that certain eminent domain appraisal and negotiation requirements apply to public service corporations; modifying cost recovery provisions for electric transmission and renewable energy facilities; providing for solar-generated electricity under a utility's renewable energy standard; allowing utilities to fund certain solar energy products under the conservation improvement program; exempting certain wind and solar projects from the requirement to obtain a certificate of need; modifying and adding provisions relating to notice to and meetings with local units of government for siting large electric generating plant or high-voltage transmission line; allowing size election for certain wind energy conversion systems and creating Size Election Stakeholder Group; creating a wind project aggregation program; requiring reports on reducing greenhouse gas emissions; requiring reporting of emissions or leakage of greenhouse gases with high global warming potential; providing for wind and solar easements; requiring development of plan for solar rating and certification laboratory; requiring studies and reports; appropriating money;
amending Minnesota Statutes 2006, sections 115C.04, subdivision 3; 115C.09, subdivision 3h, by adding a subdivision; 216B.16, subdivision 7b; 216B.1645, subdivisions 1, 2; 216B.2411, subdivision 2; 216B.2424, subdivision 1; 216B.243, by adding a subdivision; 216C.051, as amended; 216E.03, subdivision 4, by adding subdivisions; Minnesota Statutes 2007 Supplement, sections 16B.328, by adding a subdivision; 216B.1645, subdivision 2a; 216B.241, by adding a subdivision; 216B.2411, subdivision 1; 500.30, subdivision 2; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapters 117; 216F; 216H; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 115C.09, subdivision 3j.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:
Reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by the agency in taking a corrective action, including costs of investigating a release, administrative and legal expenses, and reimbursement costs described in subdivision 1, paragraph (b), may be recovered in a civil action in district court brought by the attorney general against a responsible person. The agency's certification of expenses is prima facie evidence that the expenses are reasonable and necessary. If the responsible person has petroleum tank leakage or spill insurance coverage that insures against the liability provided in this section, the agency is subrogated to the rights of the responsible person with respect to that insurance coverage, to the extent of the expenses incurred by the agency and described in this subdivision. The agency may request the attorney general to bring an action in district court against the insurer to enforce this subrogation right. Expenses that are recovered under this section must be deposited in the fund.
(a) As used in this subdivision, "bulk plant" means an aboveground or underground tank facility with a storage capacity of more than 1,100 gallons but less than 1,000,000 gallons that is used to dispense petroleum into cargo tanks for transportation and sale at another location.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter and any rules adopted pursuant to this chapter, the board shall reimburse 90 percent of an applicant's cost for bulk plant upgrades or closures completed between June 1, 1998, and November 1, 2003, to comply with Minnesota Rules, chapter 7151, provided that the board determines the costs were incurred and reasonable. The reimbursement may not exceed $10,000 per bulk plant. The board may provide reimbursement under this paragraph for work completed after November 1, 2003, if the work was contracted for prior to that date and was not completed by that date as a result of an unanticipated situation, provided that an application for reimbursement under this paragraph, which may be a renewal of an application previously denied, is submitted prior to December 31, 2005.
(c) For corrective action at a bulk plant located on what is or was railroad right-of-way, the board shall reimburse 90 percent of total reimbursable costs on the first $40,000 of reimbursable costs and 100 percent of any remaining reimbursable costs when the applicant can document that more than one bulk plant was operated on the same section of right-of-way, as determined by the commissioner of commerce.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the commission may approve a tariff mechanism for the automatic annual adjustment of charges for the Minnesota jurisdictional costs of new transmission facilities that have been separately filed and reviewed and approved by the commission under section 216B.243 or are certified as a priority project or deemed to be a priority transmission project under section 216B.2425.
(b) Upon filing by a public utility or utilities providing transmission service, the commission may approve, reject, or modify, after notice and comment, a tariff that:
allows a return on investment at the level approved in the utility's last general rate case, unless a different return is found to be consistent with the public interest;
(3) provides a current return on construction work in progress, provided that recovery from Minnesota retail customers for the allowance for funds used during construction is not sought through any other mechanism;
(4) allows for recovery of other expenses if shown to promote a least-cost project option or is otherwise in the public interest;
(5) allocates project costs appropriately between wholesale and retail customers;
(6) provides a mechanism for recovery above cost, if necessary to improve the overall economics of the project or projects or is otherwise in the public interest; and
(7) terminates recovery once costs have been fully recovered or have otherwise been reflected in the utility's general rates.
(c) A public utility may file annual rate adjustments to be applied to customer bills paid under the tariff approved in paragraph (b). In its filing, the public utility shall provide:
(1) a description of and context for the facilities included for recovery;
(2) a schedule for implementation of applicable projects;
(3) the utility's costs for these projects;
(4) a description of the utility's efforts to ensure the lowest costs to ratepayers for the project; and
(5) calculations to establish that the rate adjustment is consistent with the terms of the tariff established in paragraph (b).
(d) Upon receiving a filing for a rate adjustment pursuant to the tariff established in paragraph (b), the commission shall approve the annual rate adjustments provided that, after notice and comment, the costs included for recovery through the tariff were or are expected to be prudently incurred and achieve transmission system improvements at the lowest feasible and prudent cost to ratepayers.
Upon the petition of a public utility, the Public Utilities Commission shall approve or disapprove power purchase contracts, investments, or expenditures entered into or made by the utility to satisfy the wind and biomass mandates contained in sections 216B.169, 216B.2423, and 216B.2424, and to satisfy the renewable energy objectives set forth in section 216B.1691, including reasonable investments and expenditures made to:
(1) transmit the electricity generated from sources developed under those sections that is ultimately used to provide service to the utility's retail customers, including studies necessary to identify new transmission facilities needed to transmit electricity to Minnesota retail customers from generating facilities constructed to satisfy the renewable energy objectives , provided that the costs of the studies have not been recovered previously under existing tariffs and the utility has filed an application for a certificate of need or for certification as a priority project under section 216B.2425 for the new transmission facilities identified in the studies;
(2) develop renewable energy sources from the account required in section 116C.779.
The expenses incurred by the utility over the duration of the approved contract or useful life of the investment and expenditures made pursuant to section 116C.779 shall be recoverable from the ratepayers of the utility, to the extent they are not offset by utility revenues attributable to the contracts, investments, or expenditures. Upon petition by a public utility, the commission shall approve or approve as modified a rate schedule providing for the automatic adjustment of charges to recover the expenses or costs approved by the commission, which, in the case of transmission expenditures, are limited to the portion of actual transmission costs that are directly allocable to the need to transmit power from the renewable sources of energy. The commission may not approve recovery of the costs for that portion of the power generated from sources governed by this section that the utility sells into the wholesale market.
(a) A utility may petition the commission to approve a rate schedule that provides for the automatic adjustment of charges to recover prudently incurred investments, expenses, or costs associated with facilities constructed, owned, or operated by a utility to satisfy the requirements of section 216B.1691, provided those facilities were previously approved by the commission under section 216B.2422 or 216B.243. The commission may approve, orapprove as modified, a rate schedule that:
(1) allows a utility to recover directly from customers on a timely basis the costs of qualifying renewable energy projects, including:
(i) return on investment;
(iii) ongoing operation and maintenance costs;
(iv) taxes; and
(v) costs of transmission and other ancillary expenses directly allocable to transmitting electricity generated from a project meeting the specifications of this paragraph;
(2) provides a current return on construction work in progress, provided that recovery of these costs from Minnesota ratepayers is not sought through any other mechanism;
(3) allows recovery of other expenses incurred that are directly related to a renewable energy project, provided that the utility demonstrates to the commission's satisfaction that the expenses improve project economics, ensure project implementation, or facilitate coordination with the development of transmission necessary to transport energy produced by the project to market;
(4) allocates recoverable costs appropriately between wholesale and retail customers;
(5) terminates recovery when costs have been fully recovered or have otherwise been reflected in a utility's rates.
(b) A petition filed under this subdivision must include:
(1) a description of the facilities for which costs are to be recovered;
(2) an implementation schedule for the facilities;
(3) the utility's costs for the facilities;
(4) a description of the utility's efforts to ensure that costs of the facilities are reasonable and were prudently incurred; and
(5) a description of the benefits of the project in promoting the development of renewable energy in a manner consistent with this chapter.
(a) Any municipality or rural electric association providing electric service and subject to section 216B.241 that is meeting the objectives under section 216B.1691 may, and each public utility may, use five percent of the total amount to be spent on energy conservation improvements under section 216B.241, on:
(1) projects in Minnesota to construct an electric generating facility that utilizes eligible renewable energy sources as defined in subdivision 2, such as methane or other combustible gases derived from the processing of plant or animal wastes, biomass fuels such as short-rotation woody or fibrous agricultural crops, or other renewable fuel, as its primary fuel source; or
(2) projects in Minnesota to install a distributed generation facility of ten megawatts or less of interconnected capacity that is fueled by natural gas, renewable fuels, or another similarly clean fuel.
(b) For public utilities, as defined under section 216B.02, subdivision 4, projects under this section must be considered energy conservation improvements as defined in section 216B.241. For cooperative electric associations and municipal utilities, projects under this section must be considered load-management activities described in section 216B.241, subdivision 1.
(a) For the purposes of this section, the terms defined in this subdivision and section 216B.241, subdivision 1, have the meanings given them.
(b) "Eligible renewable energy sources" means fuels and technologies to generate electricity through the use of any of the resources listed in section 216B.1691, subdivision 1, paragraph (a), clause (1), except that the term "biomass" has the meaning provided under paragraph (c).
(c) "Biomass" includes:
(1) methane or other combustible gases derived from the processing of plant or animal material;
(2) alternative fuels derived from soybean and other agricultural plant oils or animal fats;
(3) combustion of barley hulls, corn, soy-based products, or other agricultural products;
(4) wood residue from the wood products industry in Minnesota or other wood products such as short-rotation woody or fibrous agricultural crops; and
(5) landfill gas, mixed municipal solid waste, and refuse-derived fuel from mixed municipal solid waste.
(a) For the purposes of this section, "farm-grown closed-loop biomass" means biomass, as defined in section 216C.051, subdivision 7, that:
(1) is intentionally cultivated, harvested, and prepared for use, in whole or in part, as a fuel for the generation of electricity;
(2) when combusted, releases an amount of carbon dioxide that is less than or approximately equal to the carbon dioxide absorbed by the biomass fuel during its growing cycle; and
(3) is fired in a new or substantially retrofitted electric generating facility that is:
(i) located within 400 miles of the site of the biomass production; and
(ii) designed to use biomass to meet at least 75 percent of its fuel requirements.
(b) The legislature finds that the negative environmental impacts within 400 miles of the facility resulting from transporting and combusting the biomass are offset in that region by the environmental benefits to air, soil, and water of the biomass production.
(c) Among the biomass fuel sources that meet the requirements of paragraph (a), clauses (1) and (2), are poplar, aspen, willow, switch grass, sorghum, alfalfa, cultivated prairie grass, and sustainably managed woody biomass.
(d) For the purpose of this section, "sustainably managed woody biomass" means:
(1) brush, trees, and other biomass harvested from within designated utility, railroad, and road rights-of-way;
(2) upland and lowland brush harvested from lands incorporated into brushland habitat management activities of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources;
(3) upland and lowland brush harvested from lands managed in accordance with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources "Best Management Practices for Managing Brushlands";
(4) logging slash or waste wood that is created by harvest, by precommercial timber stand improvement to meet silvicultural objectives, or by fire, disease, or insect control treatments, and that is managed in compliance with the Minnesota Forest Resources Council's "Sustaining Minnesota Forest Resources: Voluntary Site-Level Forest Management Guidelines for Landowners, Loggers and Resource Managers" as modified by the requirement of this subdivision; and
(5) trees or parts of trees that do not meet the utilization standards for pulpwood, posts, bolts, or sawtimber as described in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry Timber Sales Manual, 1998, as amended as of May 1, 2005, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Timber Scaling Manual, 1981, as amended as of May 1, 2005, except as provided in paragraph (a), clause (1), and this paragraph, clauses (1) to (3).
(a) There is established a Legislative Electric Energy Task Force to study future electric energy sources and costs and to make recommendations for legislation for an environmentally and economically sustainable and advantageous electric energy supply.
(b) The task force consists of:
(1) ten members of the house of representatives including the chairs of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the Energy Finance and Policy Division and eight members to be appointed by the speaker of the house, four of whom must be from the minority caucus; and
(2) ten members of the senate including the chairs of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Budget Division and Energy, Utilities, Technology and Communications committees and eight members to be appointed by the Subcommittee on Committees, four of whom must be from the minority caucus.
(c) The task force may employ staff, contract for consulting services, and may reimburse the expenses of persons requested to assist it in its duties other than state employees or employees of electric utilities. The director of the Legislative Coordinating Commission shall assist the task force in administrative matters. The task force shall elect cochairs, one member of the house and one member of the senate from among the committee and subcommittee chairs named to the committee. The task force members from the house shall elect the house cochair, and the task force members from the senate shall elect the senate cochair.
(a) In light of the electric energy guidelines established in subdivision 7 and utility resource plans and competitive bidding dockets before the commission, the task force shall gather information and make recommendations to the legislature regarding potential electric energy resources. The task force may contract with one or more energy policy experts and energy economists to assist it in its analysis. The task force may not contract for service nor employ any person who was involved in any capacity in any portion of any proceeding before the Public Utilities Commission, the administrative law judge, the state Court of Appeals, or the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission related to the dry cask storage proposal on Prairie Island. The task force must gather information on at least the following electric energy resources, but may expand its inquiry as warranted by the information collected:
(1) wind energy;
(2) hydrogen as a fuel carrier produced from renewable and fossil fuel resources;
(4) decomposition gases produced by solid waste management facilities;
(5) solid waste as a direct fuel or refuse-derived fuel; and
(6) clean coal technology.
(b) In evaluating these electric energy resources, the task force must consider at least the following:
(1) to the best of forecasting abilities, how much electric generation capacity and demand for electric energy is necessary to maintain a strong economy and a high quality of life in the state over the next 15 to 20 years; how is this demand level affected by achievement of the maximum reasonably feasible and cost-effective demand-side management and generation and distribution efficiencies;
(2) what alternative forms of energy can provide a stable supply of energy and are producible and sustainable in the state and at what cost;
(3) what are the costs to the state and ratepayers to ensure that new electric energy generation utilizes less environmentally damaging sources; how do those costs change as the time frame for development and implementation of new generation sources is compressed;
(4) what are the implications for delivery systems for energy produced in areas of the state that do not now have high-volume transmission capability; are new transmission technologies being developed that can address some of the concerns with transmission; can a more dispersed electric generation system lessen the need for long-distance transmission;
(5) what are the actual costs and benefits of purchasing electricity and fuel to generate electricity from outside the state; what are the present costs to the state's economy of exporting a large percentage of the state's energy dollars and what is the future economic impact of continuing to do so;
(6) are there benefits to be had from a large immediate investment in quickly implementing alternative electric energy sources in terms of developing an exportable technology and/or commodity; is it feasible to turn around the flow of dollars for energy so that the state imports dollars and exports energy and energy technology; what is a reasonable time frame for the shift if it is possible;
(7) are there taxation or regulatory barriers to developing more sustainable and less problematic electric energy generation; what are they specifically and how can they be specifically addressed;
(8) can an approach be developed that moves quickly to development and implementation of alternative energy sources that can be forgiving of interim failures but that is also sufficiently deliberate to ensure ultimate success on a large scale; and
(9) in what specific ways can the state assist regional energy suppliers to accelerate phasing out energy production processes that produce wastes or emissions that must necessarily be carefully controlled and monitored to minimize adverse effects on the environment and human health and to assist in developing and implementing base load energy production that both prevents or minimizes by its nature adverse environmental and human health effects and utilizes resources that are available or producible in the state.
(c) The task force must study issues related to the transportation of spent nuclear fuel from this state to interim or permanent repositories outside this state. The task force must also gather information on at least the following factors, but may expand its inquiry as warranted by the information collected:
(1) Minnesota's actual and projected electricity demand;
(2) electricity export potential;
(3) inventory of energy resources currently used to generate all electricity sold in Minnesota and an analysis of the social, economic, and environmental benefits and burdens associated with each energy resource;
(4) electricity demand savings from greater efficiency; and
(5) job growth and economic development potential.
The public utility that owns the Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear generation facilities shall update the reports required under section 116C.772, subdivisions 3 to 5, and shall submit those updates periodically to the Public Utilities Commission with the utility's resource plan filing under section 216B.2422 and to the task force.
By January 15, 2005, and every two years thereafter, the task force shall submit a report to the chairs of the committees in the house of representatives and the senate that have responsibility for energy and for environmental and natural resources issues that contains an overview of information gathered and analyses that have been prepared, and specific recommendations, if any, for legislative action that will ensure development and implementation of electric energy policy that will provide the state with adequate, renewable, and economic electric power for the long term. The report shall also identify issues that must be addressed to provide Minnesotans with adequate electricity from in-state renewable energy sources for the long term and export to adjacent states.
On request by the cochairs of the Legislative Task Force and after approval of the Legislative Coordinating Commission, the commissioner of commerce shall assess from all public utilities, generation and transmission cooperative electric associations, and municipal power agencies providing electric or natural gas services in Minnesota, in addition to assessments made under section 216B.62, the amount requested for the operation of the task force not to exceed $250,000 in a fiscal year. The amount assessed under this section is appropriated to the director of the Legislative Coordinating Commission for those purposes, and is available until expended. The department shall apportion those costs among all energy utilities in proportion to their respective gross operating revenues from the sale of gas or electric service within the state during the last calendar year. For the purposes of administrative efficiency, the department shall assess energy utilities and issue bills in accordance with the billing and assessment procedures provided in section 216B.62, to the extent that these procedures do not conflict with this subdivision.
(a) The Legislative Task Force on Electric Energy shall undertake its responsibilities in light of the guidelines specified in this subdivision.
(b) The highest priority in electric energy production and consumption is conservation of electric energy and management of demand by all segments of the community.
(c) The following energy sources for generating electric power distributed in the state, listed in their descending order of preference, based on minimizing long-term negative environmental, social, and economic burdens imposed by the specific energy sources, are:
(1) wind and solar;
(2) biomass and low-head or refurbished hydropower;
(3) decomposition gases produced by solid waste management facilities, natural gas-fired cogeneration, and waste materials or byproducts combined with natural gas;
(4) natural gas, hydropower that is not low-head or refurbished hydropower, and solid waste as a direct fuel or refuse-derived fuel; and
(5) coal and nuclear power.
(d) For the purposes of paragraph (c) within each clause, the more efficient an energy source is in generating electricity or the more efficient a technology is that utilizes an energy source, the more preferred it is for use in generating electricity for distribution and consumption in the state.
(e) For the purposes of paragraph (c), clauses (3) and (4), the use of waste materials and byproducts for generating electric power must be limited to those waste materials and byproducts that are necessarily generated or produced by efficient processes and systems. Preventing and minimizing waste and byproducts are preferred in every situation to relying on the continued generation or production of waste materials and byproducts.
(f) For the purposes of this section, "preferred" or "renewable" energy sources are those described in paragraph (c), clauses (1) to (3), and "subordinate" or "traditional" energy sources are those described in paragraph (c), clauses (4) and (5).
(g) For the purposes of this section:
(1) "biomass" means herbaceous crops, trees, agricultural waste, and aquatic plant matter, excluding mixed municipal solid waste, as defined in section 115A.03, used to generate electricity; and
(2) "low-head hydropower" means a hydropower facility that has a head of less than 66 feet.
The task force may issue a subpoena under section 3.153 to any person for production of information held by that person that is relevant to the work of the task force.
(a) By January 1, 2008, and each year thereafter, the task force shall request the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board to provide the following information for each community that is a signatory to the Northern Flood Agreement, including South Indian Lake:
(1) median household income and number of residents employed full time and part time;
(2) the number of outstanding claims filed against Manitoba Hydro by individuals and communities and the number of claims settled by Manitoba Hydro; and
(3) the amount of shoreline damaged by flooding and erosion and the amount of shoreline restored and cleaned.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed as a directive to the government of Canada or the province of Manitoba.
(c) For the purposes of this subdivision, "Northern Flood Agreement" means the agreement entered into by the Northern Flood Committee, Incorporated, the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board, the province of Manitoba, and the government of Canada on December 16, 1977.
This section is repealed June 30, 2010.
Within 15 days after submission of an application to the commission, the applicant shall publish notice of the application in a legal newspaper of general circulation in each county in which the site or route is proposed and send a copy of the application by certified mail to any regional development commission, county, incorporated municipality, and township in which any part of the site or route is proposed. Within the same 15 days, the applicant shall also send a notice of the submission of the application and description of the proposed project to each owner whose property is on or adjacent to any of the proposed sites for the power plant or along any of the proposed routes for the transmission line. The notice shall identify a location where a copy of the application can be reviewed. For the purpose of giving mailed notice under this subdivision, owners shall be those shown on the records of the county auditor or, in any county where tax statements are mailed by the county treasurer, on the records of the county treasurer; but other appropriate records may be used for this purpose. The failure to give mailed notice to a property owner, or defects in the notice, shall not invalidate the proceedings, provided a bona fide attempt to comply with this subdivision has been made. Within the same 15 days, the applicant shall also send the same notice of the submission of the application and description of the proposed project to those persons who have requested to be placed on a list maintained by the commission for receiving notice of proposed large electric generating power plants and high voltage transmission lines.
Any property owner may grant a solar or wind easement in the same manner and with the same effect as a conveyance of an interest in real property. The easements shall be created in writing and shall be filed, duly recorded, and indexed in the office of the recorder of the county in which the easement is granted. No duly recorded easement shall be unenforceable on account of lack of privity of estate or privity of contract; such easements shall run with the land or lands benefited and burdened and shall constitute a perpetual easement, except that an easement may terminate upon the conditions stated therein or pursuant to the provisions of section 500.20. A wind easement, easement to install wind turbines on real property, option, or lease of wind rights shall also terminate after seven years from the date the easement is created or lease is entered into, if a wind energy project on the property to which the easement or lease applies does not begin commercial operation within the seven-year period.
Presented to the governor May 8, 2008
Signed by the governor May 12, 2008, 1:23 p.m.