It is the goal of the state through the Department of Agriculture to research and develop energy sources to displace fossil fuels with renewable technology.
There is created a NextGen Energy Board consisting of the commissioners of agriculture, commerce, natural resources, the Pollution Control Agency, and employment and economic development; the chairs of the house of representatives and senate committees with jurisdiction over energy finance; the chairs of the house of representatives and senate committees with jurisdiction over agriculture finance; one member of the second largest political party in the house of representatives, as appointed by the chairs of the house of representatives committees with jurisdiction over agriculture finance and energy finance; one member of the second largest political party in the senate, as appointed by the chairs of the senate committees with jurisdiction over agriculture finance and energy finance; and the executive director of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. In addition, the governor shall appoint eight members: two representing statewide agriculture organizations; two representing statewide environment and natural resource conservation organizations; one representing the University of Minnesota; one representing the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture; one representing the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system; and one representing the forest products industry.
The board shall research and report to the commissioner of agriculture and to the legislature recommendations as to how the state can invest its resources to most efficiently achieve energy independence, agricultural and natural resources sustainability, and rural economic vitality. The board shall:
(1) examine the future of fuels, such as synthetic gases, biobutanol, hydrogen, methanol, biodiesel, and ethanol within Minnesota;
(2) develop equity grant programs to assist locally owned facilities;
(3) study the proper role of the state in creating financing and investing and providing incentives;
(4) evaluate how state and federal programs, including the Farm Bill, can best work together and leverage resources;
(5) work with other entities and committees to develop a clean energy program; and
(6) report to the legislature before February 1 each year with recommendations as to appropriations and results of past actions and projects.
The commissioner of agriculture shall administer this section.
This section expires June 30, 2014.