language to be deleted (2) new language
relating to energy; establishing an Energy Conservation and Optimization Act of 2021;
amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, sections 216B.2401; 216B.241, subdivisions 1a, 1c, 1d, 1f, 1g, 2, 2b, 3, 5, 7, 8, by adding subdivisions; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 216B; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 216B.241, subdivisions 1, 1b, 2c, 4, 10.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:
The legislature finds that energy savings are an energy resource, and that cost-effective energy savings are preferred over all other energy resources. The legislature further finds that cost-effective energy savings should be procured systematically and aggressively in order to reduce utility costs for businesses and residents, improve the competitiveness and profitability of businesses, create more energy-related jobs, reduce the economic burden of fuel imports, and reduce pollution and emissions that cause climate change. Therefore, it is the energy policy of the state of Minnesota to achieve annual energy savings equal to at least 1.5 percent of annual retail energy sales of electricity and natural gas through cost-effective energy conservation improvement programs and rate design, energy efficiency achieved by energy consumers without direct utility involvement, energy codes and appliance standards, programs designed to transform the market or change consumer behavior, energy savings resulting from efficiency improvements to the utility infrastructure and system, and other efforts to promote energy efficiency and energy conservation.
(a) For purposes of this subdivision and subdivision 2, "public utility" has the meaning given it in section 216B.02, subdivision 4. Each public utility shall spend and invest for energy conservation improvements under this subdivision and subdivision 2 the following amounts:
(1) for a utility that furnishes gas service, 0.5 percent of its gross operating revenues from service provided in the state;
(2) for a utility that furnishes electric service, 1.5 percent of its gross operating revenues from service provided in the state; and
(3) for a utility that furnishes electric service and that operates a nuclear-powered electric generating plant within the state, two percent of its gross operating revenues from service provided in the state.
For purposes of this paragraph (a), "gross operating revenues" do not include revenues from large customer facilities exempted under paragraph (b), or from commercial gas customers that are exempted under paragraph (c) or (e).
(b) The owner of a large customer facility may petition the commissioner to exempt both electric and gas utilities serving the large customer facility from the investment and expenditure requirements of paragraph (a) with respect to retail revenues attributable to the large customer facility. The filing must include a discussion of the competitive or economic pressures facing the owner of the facility and the efforts taken by the owner to identify, evaluate, and implement energy conservation and efficiency improvements. A filing submitted on or before October 1 of any year must be approved within 90 days and become effective January 1 of the year following the filing, unless the commissioner finds that the owner of the large customer facility has failed to take reasonable measures to identify, evaluate, and implement energy conservation and efficiency improvements. If a facility qualifies as a large customer facility solely due to its peak electrical demand or annual natural gas usage, the exemption may be limited to the qualifying utility if the commissioner finds that the owner of the large customer facility has failed to take reasonable measures to identify, evaluate, and implement energy conservation and efficiency improvements with respect to the nonqualifying utility. Once an exemption is approved, the commissioner may request the owner of a large customer facility to submit, not more often than once every five years, a report demonstrating the large customer facility's ongoing commitment to energy conservation and efficiency improvement after the exemption filing. The commissioner may request such reports for up to ten years after the effective date of the exemption, unless the majority ownership of the large customer facility changes, in which case the commissioner may request additional reports for up to ten years after the change in ownership occurs. The commissioner may, within 180 days of receiving a report submitted under this paragraph, rescind any exemption granted under this paragraph upon a determination that the large customer facility is not continuing to make reasonable efforts to identify, evaluate, and implement energy conservation improvements. A large customer facility that is, under an order from the commissioner, exempt from the investment and expenditure requirements of paragraph (a) as of December 31, 2010, is not required to submit a report to retain its exempt status, except as otherwise provided in this paragraph with respect to ownership changes. No exempt large customer facility may participate in a utility conservation improvement program unless the owner of the facility submits a filing with the commissioner to withdraw its exemption.
(c) A commercial gas customer that is not a large customer facility and that purchases or acquires natural gas from a public utility having fewer than 600,000 natural gas customers in Minnesota may petition the commissioner to exempt gas utilities serving the commercial gas customer from the investment and expenditure requirements of paragraph (a) with respect to retail revenues attributable to the commercial gas customer. The petition must be supported by evidence demonstrating that the commercial gas customer has acquired or can reasonably acquire the capability to bypass use of the utility's gas distribution system by obtaining natural gas directly from a supplier not regulated by the commission. The commissioner shall grant the exemption if the commissioner finds that the petitioner has made the demonstration required by this paragraph.
(d) The commissioner may require investments or spending greater than the amounts required under this subdivision for a public utility whose most recent advance forecast required under section 216B.2422 or 216C.17 projects a peak demand deficit of 100 megawatts or greater within five years under midrange forecast assumptions.
(e) A public utility or owner of a large customer facility may appeal a decision of the commissioner under paragraph (b), (c), or (d) to the commission under subdivision 2. In reviewing a decision of the commissioner under paragraph (b), (c), or (d), the commission shall rescind the decision if it finds that the required investments or spending will:
(1) not result in cost-effective energy conservation improvements; or
(2) otherwise not be in the public interest.
(a) The commissioner shall establish energy-saving goals for energy conservation improvement expenditures and shall evaluate an energy conservation improvement program on how well it meets the goals set.
(b) Each individual utility and association shall have an annual energy-savings goal equivalent to 1.5 percent of gross annual retail energy sales unless modified by the commissioner under paragraph (d). The savings goals must be calculated based on the most recent three-year weather-normalized average. A utility or association may elect to carry forward energy savings in excess of 1.5 percent for a year to the succeeding three calendar years, except that savings from electric utility infrastructure projects allowed under paragraph (d) may be carried forward for five years. A particular energy savings can be used only for one year's goal.
(c) The commissioner must adopt a filing schedule that is designed to have all utilities and associations operating under an energy-savings plan by calendar year 2010.
(d) In its energy conservation improvement plan filing, a utility or association may request the commissioner to adjust its annual energy-savings percentage goal based on its historical conservation investment experience, customer class makeup, load growth, a conservation potential study, or other factors the commissioner determines warrants an adjustment.
The commissioner may not approve a plan of a public utility that provides for an annual energy-savings goal of less than one percent of gross annual retail energy sales from energy conservation improvements.
A utility or association may include in its energy conservation plan energy savings from
electric utility infrastructure projects approved by the commission under section 216B.1636 or waste heat recovery converted into electricity projects that may count as energy savings in addition to a minimum energy-savings goal of at least one percent for energy conservation improvements. Energy savings from electric utility infrastructure projects, as defined in section 216B.1636, may be included in the energy conservation plan of a municipal utility or cooperative electric association. Electric utility infrastructure projects must result in increased energy efficiency greater than that which would have occurred through normal maintenance activity.
(e) An energy-savings goal is not satisfied by attaining the revenue expenditure requirements of subdivisions 1a and 1b, but can only be satisfied by meeting the energy-savings goal established in this subdivision.
(f) An association or utility is not required to make energy conservation investments to attain the energy-savings goals of this subdivision that are not cost-effective even if the investment is necessary to attain the energy-savings goals. For the purpose of this paragraph, in determining cost-effectiveness, the commissioner shall consider the costs and benefits to ratepayers, the utility, participants, and society. In addition, the commissioner shall consider the rate at which an association or municipal utility is increasing its energy savings and its expenditures on energy conservation.
(g) On an annual basis, the commissioner shall produce and make publicly available a report on the annual energy savings and estimated carbon dioxide reductions achieved by the energy conservation improvement programs for the two most recent years for which data is available. The commissioner shall report on program performance both in the aggregate and for each entity filing an energy conservation improvement plan for approval or review by the commissioner.
(h) By January 15, 2010, the commissioner shall report to the legislature whether the spending requirements under subdivisions 1a and 1b are necessary to achieve the energy-savings goals established in this subdivision.
(i) This subdivision does not apply to:
(1) a cooperative electric association with fewer than 5,000 members;
(2) a municipal utility with fewer than 1,000 retail electric customers; or
(3) a municipal utility with less than 1,000,000,000 cubic feet in annual throughput sales to retail natural gas customers.
(a) The commissioner shall evaluate energy conservation improvement programs on the basis of cost-effectiveness and the reliability of the technologies employed. The commissioner shall, by order, establish, maintain, and update energy-savings assumptions that must be used when filing energy conservation improvement programs.
The commissioner shall establish an inventory of the most effective energy conservation programs, techniques, and technologies, and encourage all Minnesota utilities to implement them, where appropriate, in their service territories. The commissioner shall describe these programs in sufficient detail to provide a utility reasonable guidance concerning implementation. The commissioner shall prioritize the opportunities in order of potential energy savings and in order of cost-effectiveness.
The commissioner may contract with a third party to carry out any of the commissioner's duties under this subdivision, and to obtain technical assistance to evaluate the effectiveness of any conservation improvement program.
The commissioner may assess up to $850,000 annually for the purposes of this subdivision. The assessments must be deposited in the state treasury and credited to the energy and conservation account created under subdivision 2a. An assessment made under this subdivision is not subject to the cap on assessments provided by section 216B.62, or any other law.
(b) Of the assessment authorized under paragraph (a), the commissioner may expend up to $400,000 annually for the purpose of developing, operating, maintaining, and providing technical support for a uniform electronic data reporting and tracking system available to all utilities subject to this section, in order to enable accurate measurement of the cost and energy savings of the energy conservation improvements required by this section. This paragraph expires June 30, 2018.
(a) The commissioner of administration and the commissioner of commerce shall maintain and, as needed, revise the sustainable building design guidelines developed under section 16B.325.
(b) The commissioner of administration and the commissioner of commerce shall maintain and update the benchmarking tool developed under Laws 2001, chapter 212, article 1, section 3, so that all public buildings can use the benchmarking tool to maintain energy use information for the purposes of establishing energy efficiency benchmarks, tracking building performance, and measuring the results of energy efficiency and conservation improvements.
(c) The commissioner shall require that utilities include in their conservation improvement plans programs that facilitate professional engineering verification to qualify a building as Energy Star-labeled, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, or Green Globes-certified. The state goal is to achieve certification of 1,000 commercial buildings as Energy Star-labeled, and 100 commercial buildings as LEED-certified or Green Globes-certified by December 31, 2010.
(d) The commissioner may assess up to $500,000 annually for the purposes of this subdivision. The assessments must be deposited in the state treasury and credited to the energy and conservation account created under subdivision 2a. An assessment made under this subdivision is not subject to the cap on assessments provided by section 216B.62, or any other law.
(a) A public utility, generation and transmission cooperative electric association, municipal power agency, cooperative electric association, and municipal utility shall submit filings to the department via the department's electronic filing system. The commissioner may approve an exemption from this requirement in the event an affected utility or association is unable to submit filings via the department's electronic filing system. All other interested parties shall submit filings to the department via the department's electronic filing system whenever practicable but may also file by personal delivery or by mail.
(b) Submission of a document to the department's electronic filing system constitutes service on the department. Where department rule requires service of a notice, order, or other document by the department, utility, association, or interested party upon persons on a service list maintained by the department, service may be made by personal delivery, mail, or electronic service, except that electronic service may only be made upon persons on the service list who have previously agreed in writing to accept electronic service at an electronic address provided to the department for electronic service purposes.
(a) The commissioner may require public utilities to make investments and expenditures in energy conservation improvements, explicitly setting forth the interest rates, prices, and terms under which the improvements must be offered to the customers. The required programs must cover no more than a three-year period.
public utilities shall file conservation improvement plans by June 1, on a schedule determined by order of the commissioner, but at least every three years. Plans received by a public utility by June 1 must be approved or approved as modified by the commissioner by December 1 of that same year.
The commissioner shall evaluate the program on the basis of cost-effectiveness and the reliability of technologies employed. The commissioner's order must provide to the extent practicable for a free choice, by consumers participating in the program, of the device, method, material, or project constituting the energy conservation improvement and for a free choice of the seller, installer, or contractor of the energy conservation improvement, provided that the device, method, material, or project seller, installer, or contractor is duly licensed, certified, approved, or qualified, including under the residential conservation services program, where applicable.
(b) The commissioner may require a utility subject to subdivision 1c to make an energy conservation improvement investment or expenditure whenever the commissioner finds that the improvement will result in energy savings at a total cost to the utility less than the cost to the utility to produce or purchase an equivalent amount of new supply of energy. The commissioner shall nevertheless ensure that every public utility operate one or more programs under periodic review by the department.
(c) Each public utility subject to subdivision 1a may spend and invest annually up to ten percent of the total amount required to be spent and invested on energy conservation improvements under this section by the utility on research and development projects that meet the definition of energy conservation improvement in subdivision 1 and that are funded directly by the public utility.
(d) A public utility may not spend for or invest in energy conservation improvements that directly benefit a large energy facility or a large electric customer facility for which the commissioner has issued an exemption pursuant to subdivision 1a, paragraph (b).
The commissioner shall consider and may require a utility to undertake a program suggested by an outside source, including a political subdivision, a nonprofit corporation, or community organization.
(e) A utility, a political subdivision, or a nonprofit or community organization that has suggested a program, the attorney general acting on behalf of consumers and small business interests, or a utility customer that has suggested a program and is not represented by the attorney general under section 8.33 may petition the commission to modify or revoke a department decision under this section, and the commission may do so if it determines that the program is not cost-effective, does not adequately address the residential conservation improvement needs of low-income persons, has a long-range negative effect on one or more classes of customers, or is otherwise not in the public interest. The commission shall reject a petition that, on its face, fails to make a reasonable argument that a program is not in the public interest.
(f) The commissioner may order a public utility to include, with the filing of the utility's annual status report, the results of an independent audit of the utility's conservation improvement programs and expenditures performed by the department or an auditor with experience in the provision of energy conservation and energy efficiency services approved by the commissioner and chosen by the utility. The audit must specify the energy savings or increased efficiency in the use of energy within the service territory of the utility that is the result of the spending and investments. The audit must evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the utility's conservation programs.
(g) A gas utility may not spend for or invest in energy conservation improvements that directly benefit a large customer facility or commercial gas customer facility for which the commissioner has issued an exemption pursuant to subdivision 1a, paragraph (b), (c), or (e). The commissioner shall consider and may require a utility to undertake a program suggested by an outside source, including a political subdivision, a nonprofit corporation, or a community organization.
The commission shall allow a utility to recover expenses resulting from a conservation improvement program required by the department and contributions and assessments to the energy and conservation account, unless the recovery would be inconsistent with a financial incentive proposal approved by the commission. The commission shall allow a cooperative electric association subject to rate regulation under section 216B.026, to recover expenses resulting from energy conservation improvement programs, load management programs, and assessments and contributions to the energy and conservation account unless the recovery would be inconsistent with a financial incentive proposal approved by the commission. In addition,
A utility may file annually, or the Public Utilities Commission may require the utility to file, and the commission may approve, rate schedules containing provisions for the automatic adjustment of charges for utility service in direct relation to changes in the expenses of the utility for real and personal property taxes, fees, and permits, the amounts of which the utility cannot control. A public utility is eligible to file for adjustment for real and personal property taxes, fees, and permits under this subdivision only if, in the year previous to the year in which it files for adjustment, it has spent or invested at least 1.75 percent of its gross revenues from provision of electric service, excluding gross operating revenues from electric service provided in the state to large electric customer facilities for which the commissioner has issued an exemption under subdivision 1a, paragraph (b), and 0.6 percent of its gross revenues from provision of gas service, excluding gross operating revenues from gas services provided in the state to large electric customer facilities for which the commissioner has issued an exemption under subdivision 1a, paragraph (b), for that year for energy conservation improvements under this section.
An energy conservation improvement made to or installed in a building in accordance with this section, except systems owned by the utility and designed to turn off, limit, or vary the delivery of energy, are the exclusive property of the owner of the building except to the extent that the improvement is subjected to a security interest in favor of the utility in case of a loan to the building owner.
The utility has no liability for loss, damage or injury caused directly or indirectly by an energy conservation improvement except for negligence by the utility in purchase, installation, or modification of the product.
(a) Each public utility, cooperative electric association, and municipal utility that provides electric service to retail customers and is subject to subdivision 1c shall include as part of its conservation improvement activities a program to strongly encourage the use of LED lamps. The program must include at least a public information campaign to encourage use of LED lamps and proper management of spent lamps by all customer classifications.
(b) A public utility that provides electric service at retail to 200,000 or more customers shall establish, either directly or through contracts with other persons, including lamp manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers and local government units, a system to collect for delivery to a reclamation or recycling facility spent fluorescent and high-intensity discharge lamps from households and from small businesses as defined in section 645.445 that generate an average of fewer than ten spent lamps per year.
(c) A collection system must include establishing reasonably convenient locations for collecting spent lamps from households and financial incentives sufficient to encourage spent lamp generators to take the lamps to the collection locations. Financial incentives may include coupons for purchase of new LED lamps, a cash back system, or any other financial incentive or group of incentives designed to collect the maximum number of spent lamps from households and small businesses that is reasonably feasible.
(d) A public utility that provides electric service at retail to fewer than 200,000 customers, a cooperative electric association, or a municipal utility that provides electric service at retail to customers may establish a collection system under paragraphs (b) and (c) as part of conservation improvement activities required under this section.
(e) The commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency may not, unless clearly required by federal law, require a public utility, cooperative electric association, or municipality that establishes a household fluorescent and high-intensity discharge lamp collection system under this section to manage the lamps as hazardous waste as long as the lamps are managed to avoid breakage and are delivered to a recycling or reclamation facility that removes mercury and other toxic materials contained in the lamps prior to placement of the lamps in solid waste.
(f) If a public utility, cooperative electric association, or municipal utility contracts with a local government unit to provide a collection system under this subdivision, the contract must provide for payment to the local government unit of all the unit's incremental costs of collecting and managing spent lamps.
(g) All the costs incurred by a public utility, cooperative electric association, or municipal utility to promote the use of LED lamps and to collect fluorescent and high-intensity discharge lamps under this subdivision are conservation improvement spending under this section.
(h) For the purposes of this subdivision, "LED lamp" means a light-emitting diode lamp that consists of a solid state device that emits visible light when an electric current passes through a semiconductor.
(a) The commissioner shall ensure that each utility and association subject to subdivision 1c provides low-income programs. When approving spending and energy-savings goals for low-income programs, the commissioner shall consider historic spending and participation levels, energy savings for low-income programs, and the number of low-income persons residing in the utility's service territory. a municipal utility that furnishes gas service must spend at least 0.2 percent, and a public utility furnishing gas service must spend at least 0.4 percent, of its most recent three-year average gross operating revenue from residential customers in the state on low-income programs. A utility or association that furnishes electric service must spend at least 0.1 percent of its gross operating revenue from residential customers in the state on low-income programs. For a generation and transmission cooperative association, this requirement shall apply to each association's members' aggregate gross operating revenue from sale of electricity to residential customers in the state. Beginning in 2010, a utility or association that furnishes electric service must spend 0.2 percent of its gross operating revenue from residential customers in the state on low-income programs.
(b) To meet the requirements of paragraph (a), a utility or association may contribute money to the energy and conservation account. An energy conservation improvement plan must state the amount, if any, of low-income energy conservation improvement funds the utility or association will contribute to the energy and conservation account. Contributions must be remitted to the commissioner by February 1 of each year.
(c) The commissioner shall establish low-income programs to utilize money contributed to the energy and conservation account under paragraph (b). In establishing low-income programs, the commissioner shall consult political subdivisions, utilities, and nonprofit and community organizations, especially organizations engaged in providing energy and weatherization assistance to low-income persons. Money contributed to the energy and conservation account under paragraph (b) must provide programs for low-income persons, including low-income renters, in the service territory of the utility or association providing the money. The commissioner shall record and report expenditures and energy savings achieved as a result of low-income programs funded through the energy and conservation account in the report required under subdivision 1c, paragraph (g). The commissioner may contract with a political subdivision, nonprofit or community organization, public utility, municipality, or cooperative electric association to implement low-income programs funded through the energy and conservation account.
(d) A utility or association may petition the commissioner to modify its required spending under paragraph (a) if the utility or association and the commissioner have been unable to expend the amount required under paragraph (a) for three consecutive years.
(e) The costs and benefits associated with any approved low-income gas or electric conservation improvement program that is not cost-effective when considering the costs and benefits to the utility may, at the discretion of the utility, be excluded from the calculation of net economic benefits for purposes of calculating the financial incentive to the utility. The energy and demand savings may, at the discretion of the utility, be applied toward the calculation of overall portfolio energy and demand savings for purposes of determining progress toward annual goals and in the financial incentive mechanism.
The commission or department may assess utilities subject to this section in proportion to their respective gross operating revenue from sales of gas or electric service within the state during the last calendar year to carry out the purposes of subdivisions 1d, 1e, and 1f. Those assessments are not subject to the cap on assessments provided by section 216B.62, or any other law.
Presented to the governor May 21, 2021
Signed by the governor May 25, 2021, 8:20 a.m.
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes