|216C.02||POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMISSIONER; RULES.|
|216C.03||STATE GOVERNMENT ENERGY-SAVINGS PLAN.|
|216C.05||FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.|
|216C.051||Subdivisions renumbered, repealed, or no longer in effect|
|216C.052||Subdivisions renumbered, repealed, or no longer in effect|
|216C.053||RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT.|
|216C.054||ANNUAL TRANSMISSION ADEQUACY REPORT TO LEGISLATURE.|
|216C.055||KEY ROLE OF SOLAR AND BIOMASS RESOURCES IN PRODUCING THERMAL ENERGY.|
|216C.07||CONFLICT OF INTEREST.|
|216C.11||ENERGY CONSERVATION INFORMATION CENTER.|
|216C.12||ENERGY CONSERVATION PUBLICITY.|
|216C.13||POSTSECONDARY ENERGY EDUCATION.|
|216C.14||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|
|216C.145||COMMUNITY ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY LOAN PROGRAM.|
|216C.146||COMMUNITY ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY LOAN REVENUE BONDS.|
|216C.15||EMERGENCY ENERGY CONSERVATION AND ALLOCATION PLAN.|
|216C.16||STATE PETROLEUM SET-ASIDE PROGRAM.|
|216C.17||ENERGY FORECASTS AND STATISTICS; REPORT.|
|216C.18||STATE ENERGY POLICY AND CONSERVATION REPORT.|
|216C.195||[Repealed, 2000 c 297 s 5]|
|216C.20||ENERGY CONSERVATION IN PUBLIC BUILDING.|
|216C.21||[Repealed, 1996 c 310 s 1]|
|216C.22||[Repealed, 1996 c 310 s 1]|
|216C.23||[Repealed, 1996 c 310 s 1]|
|216C.24||[Repealed, 1996 c 310 s 1]|
|216C.25||SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM STANDARDS.|
|216C.26||ENERGY RESEARCH PROJECT; REVIEW.|
|216C.261||ALTERNATIVE ENERGY ENGINEERING ACTIVITY.|
|216C.262||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|
|216C.263||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|
|216C.264||COORDINATING RESIDENTIAL WEATHERIZATION PROGRAMS.|
|216C.265||EMERGENCY ENERGY ASSISTANCE; FUEL FUNDS.|
|216C.266||DATA PRIVACY; ENERGY PROGRAMS.|
|216C.27||Subdivisions renumbered, repealed, or no longer in effect|
|216C.30||ENFORCEMENT; PENALTIES, REMEDIES.|
|216C.31||ENERGY AUDIT PROGRAMS.|
|216C.315||ALTERNATIVE ENERGY ECONOMIC ANALYSIS.|
|216C.32||ENERGY-EFFICIENT BUILDING EDUCATION.|
|216C.33||MINNESOTA BIOMASS CENTER.|
|216C.34||MONEY FOR SCHOOL OR GOVERNING BODY.|
|216C.35||PRIORITIES FOR FUNDING.|
|216C.36||[Repealed, 1993 c 327 s 24]|
|216C.37||ENERGY CONSERVATION INVESTMENT LOAN.|
|216C.373||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|
|216C.38||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|
|216C.381||COMMUNITY ENERGY PROGRAM.|
|216C.385||CLEAN ENERGY RESOURCE TEAMS.|
|216C.39||RURAL WIND ENERGY DEVELOPMENT REVOLVING LOAN FUND.|
|216C.40||[Expired, 1993 c 254 s 6]|
|216C.41||RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION INCENTIVE.|
|216C.412||"MADE IN MINNESOTA" SOLAR ENERGY PRODUCTION INCENTIVE ACCOUNT.|
|216C.413||"MADE IN MINNESOTA" SOLAR ENERGY PRODUCTION INCENTIVE; QUALIFICATION.|
|216C.414||"MADE IN MINNESOTA" SOLAR ENERGY PRODUCTION INCENTIVE.|
|216C.415||"MADE IN MINNESOTA" SOLAR ENERGY PRODUCTION INCENTIVE; PAYMENT.|
|216C.416||SOLAR THERMAL REBATES.|
|216C.42||DEFINITIONS; ENERGY IMPROVEMENTS FOR BUILDINGS.|
|216C.43||ENERGY IMPROVEMENT FINANCING PROGRAM FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT.|
|216C.436||ENERGY IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.|
|216C.44||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|
The definitions in this section apply to this chapter.
"Alternative fuel" means natural gas; liquefied petroleum gas; hydrogen; coal-derived liquefied fuels; electricity; methanol, denatured ethanol, and other alcohols; mixtures containing 85 percent or more, or other percentage as may be set by regulation by the Secretary of the United States Department of Energy, by volume of methanol, denatured ethanol, and other alcohols with gasoline or other fuels; fuels other than alcohol that are derived from biological materials; and other fuel that the Secretary of the United States Department of Energy determines by regulation to be an alternative fuel within the meaning of section 301(2) of the National Energy Policy Act of 1992, Public Law 102-486, and intended for use in motor vehicles.
"Alternative fuel vehicle" means a dedicated, flexible, or dual-fuel vehicle operated primarily on an alternative fuel.
"Commissioner" means the commissioner of commerce.
"Dedicated fuel vehicle" means a vehicle that operates solely on alternative fuels.
"Department" means the Department of Commerce.
"Dual-fuel vehicle" means a vehicle that is capable of operating on an alternative fuel and is capable of operating on gasoline or diesel fuel.
(a) The commissioner may:
(1) apply for, receive, and spend money received from federal, municipal, county, regional, and other government agencies and private sources;
(2) apply for, accept, and disburse grants and other aids from public and private sources;
(3) contract for professional services if work or services required or authorized to be carried out by the commissioner cannot be satisfactorily performed by employees of the department or by another state agency;
(4) enter into interstate compacts to carry out research and planning jointly with other states or the federal government when appropriate;
(5) upon reasonable request, distribute informational material at no cost to the public; and
(6) enter into contracts for the performance of the commissioner's duties with federal, state, regional, metropolitan, local, and other agencies or units of government and educational institutions, including the University of Minnesota, without regard to the competitive bidding requirements of chapters 16A and 16C.
(b) The commissioner shall collect information on conservation and other energy-related programs carried on by other agencies, by public utilities, by cooperative electric associations, by municipal power agencies, by other fuel suppliers, by political subdivisions, and by private organizations. Other agencies, cooperative electric associations, municipal power agencies, and political subdivisions shall cooperate with the commissioner by providing information requested by the commissioner. The commissioner may by rule require the submission of information by other program operators. The commissioner shall make the information available to other agencies and to the public and, as necessary, shall recommend to the legislature changes in the laws governing conservation and other energy-related programs to ensure that:
(1) expenditures on the programs are adequate to meet identified needs;
(2) the needs of low-income energy users are being adequately addressed;
(3) duplication of effort is avoided or eliminated;
(4) a program that is ineffective is improved or eliminated; and
(5) voluntary efforts are encouraged through incentives for their operators.
(c) By January 15 of each year, the commissioner shall report to the legislature on the projected amount of federal money likely to be available to the state during the next fiscal year, including grant money and money received by the state as a result of litigation or settlements of alleged violations of federal petroleum-pricing regulations. The report must also estimate the amount of money projected as needed during the next fiscal year to finance a level of conservation and other energy-related programs adequate to meet projected needs, particularly the needs of low-income persons and households, and must recommend the amount of state appropriations needed to cover the difference between the projected availability of federal money and the projected needs.
Money received by the commissioner under this section must be deposited in the state treasury and is appropriated to the commissioner for the purpose for which the money has been received. The money appropriated by this subdivision does not cancel and is available until expended. This appropriation does not apply to money resulting from litigation or settlements of alleged violations of federal petroleum-pricing regulations.
The commissioner may adopt rules under chapter 14 to carry out the commissioner's duties and responsibilities under this section and those sections renumbered by Laws 1987, chapter 312, article 1, section 10.
The commissioner of commerce, in coordination with the commissioners of the agencies listed in section 15.01, the chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and the president of the University of Minnesota, shall identify policy options, barriers, and economic benefits and costs for state government operations to achieve the energy-savings goals in section 216B.2401 and the resulting carbon emissions reductions.
The legislature finds and declares that continued growth in demand for energy will cause severe social and economic dislocations, and that the state has a vital interest in providing for: increased efficiency in energy consumption, the development and use of renewable energy resources wherever possible, and the creation of an effective energy forecasting, planning, and education program.
The legislature further finds and declares that the protection of life, safety, and financial security for citizens during an energy crisis is of paramount importance.
Therefore, the legislature finds that it is in the public interest to review, analyze, and encourage those energy programs that will minimize the need for annual increases in fossil fuel consumption by 1990 and the need for additional electrical generating plants, and provide for an optimum combination of energy sources and energy conservation consistent with environmental protection and the protection of citizens.
The legislature intends to monitor, through energy policy planning and implementation, the transition from historic growth in energy demand to a period when demand for traditional fuels becomes stable and the supply of renewable energy resources is readily available and adequately utilized.
The legislature further finds that for economic growth, environmental improvement, and protection of citizens, it is in the public interest to encourage those energy programs that will provide an optimum combination of energy resources, including energy savings.
Therefore, the legislature, through its committees, must monitor and evaluate progress toward greater reliance on cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy and lesser dependence on fossil fuels in order to reduce the economic burden of fuel imports, diversify utility-owned and consumer-owned energy resources, reduce utility costs for businesses and residents, improve the competitiveness and profitability of Minnesota businesses, create more energy-related jobs that contribute to the Minnesota economy, and reduce pollution and emissions that cause climate change.
It is the energy policy of the state of Minnesota that:
(1) annual energy savings equal to at least 1.5 percent of annual retail energy sales of electricity and natural gas be achieved through cost-effective energy efficiency;
(2) the per capita use of fossil fuel as an energy input be reduced by 15 percent by the year 2015, through increased reliance on energy efficiency and renewable energy alternatives; and
(3) 25 percent of the total energy used in the state be derived from renewable energy resources by the year 2025.
The commissioner of commerce must engage in activities to encourage deployment of cost-effective renewable energy developments within the state. The commissioner shall compile and maintain information concerning existing and potential renewable energy developments and resources in the state. The commissioner shall provide, as appropriate, this information in proceedings for the determination of need for large energy facilities and for the review of a utility's integrated resource plan. To the extent practicable, and in addition to any other obligation of an electric utility to furnish information, an electric utility seeking to add generation to its supply portfolio to serve Minnesota consumers shall provide the commissioner with notice of its intention.
The commissioner of commerce, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission, shall annually by January 15 submit a written report to the chairs and the ranking minority members of the legislative committees with primary jurisdiction over energy policy that contains a narrative describing what electric transmission infrastructure is needed within the state over the next 15 years and what specific progress is being made to meet that need. To the extent possible, the report must contain a description of specific transmission needs and the current status of proposals to address that need. The report must identify any barriers to meeting transmission infrastructure needs and make recommendations, including any legislation, that are necessary to overcome those barriers. The report must be based on the best available information and must describe what assumptions are made as the basis for the report. If the commissioner determines that there are difficulties in accurately assessing future transmission infrastructure needs, the commissioner shall explain those difficulties as part of the report. The commissioner is not required to conduct original research to support the report. The commissioner may utilize information the commissioner, the commission, and the Office of Energy Security possess and utilize in carrying out their existing statutory duties related to the state's transmission infrastructure. The report must be in easily understood, nontechnical terms.
The biennial legislative proposals required to be submitted by the commissioners of commerce and the Pollution Control Agency under section 216H.07, subdivision 3, must include proposals regarding the use of solar energy and the combustion of grasses, agricultural wastes, trees, and other vegetation to produce thermal energy for heating commercial, industrial, and residential buildings and for industrial processes if the commissioners determine that such policies are appropriate to achieve the state's greenhouse gas emissions-reduction goals. No legal claim against any person is allowed under this section. This section does not apply to the combustion of municipal solid waste or refuse-derived fuel to produce thermal energy. For purposes of this section, removal of woody biomass from publicly owned forests must be consistent with the principles of sustainable forest management.
[Renumbered subd 14]
"Building energy report" means a questionnaire designed to collect information on a building concerning its energy use and other basic factors that relate to energy use.
[Renumbered subd 15]
"Coal supplier" means any entity engaged in this state in the wholesale distribution of coal or transportation into this state of any coal intended for use or distribution in the state or transshipment from the state.
[Renumbered subd 18]
"Construction" means significant physical alteration of a site to install or enlarge a large energy facility, but not including activities incident to preliminary engineering or environmental studies.
"Decorative gas lamp" means a device installed for the purpose of producing illumination by burning natural, mixed, or LP gas and utilizing either a mantle or an open flame, but does not include portable camp lanterns or gas lamps.
[Renumbered subd 17]
[Renumbered subd 2a]
[Renumbered subd 19]
[Renumbered subd 16]
"Earth sheltered" means constructed so that 50 percent or more of the exterior surface is covered or in contact with earth. Exterior surface includes all walls and roof, but excludes garages and other accessory buildings. Earth covering on walls is measured from the floor of the structure's lowest level. Earth covering on the roof must be at least 12 inches deep to be included in calculations of earth covering. Partially completed buildings shall not be considered earth sheltered.
"Petroleum supplier" means any petroleum refinery in the state and any entity engaged in transmission or wholesale distribution of more than 100,000 gallons of crude petroleum or petroleum fuels or oil or derivatives thereof annually in this state.
"Photovoltaic device" means a system of components that generates electricity from incident sunlight by means of the photovoltaic effect, whether or not the device is able to store the energy produced for later use.
"Solar energy system" means a set of devices whose primary purpose is to collect solar energy and convert and store it for useful purposes including heating and cooling buildings or other energy-using processes, or to produce generated power by means of any combination of collecting, transferring, or converting solar-generated energy.
"Utility" means any entity engaged in this state in the generation, transmission or distribution of electric energy and any entity engaged in this state in the transmission or distribution of natural or synthetic natural gas, including, but not limited to, a private investor-owned utility or a public or municipally owned utility.
"Wind energy conversion system" (WECS) means any device, such as a wind charger, windmill, or wind turbine, which converts wind energy to a form of usable energy.
1974 c 307 s 2; 1975 c 170 s 1; 1976 c 333 s 1,2; 1977 c 381 s 8; Ex1979 c 2 s 10-12; 1981 c 356 s 248; 1982 c 561 s 1; 1982 c 563 s 2; 1983 c 231 s 2; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 10 subd 1; 1992 c 511 art 8 s 1
No person shall be eligible to continue in office as commissioner unless that person has within six months after being appointed completed divestiture of any interest except fully vested pension rights in any utility, coal, or petroleum supplier, or manufacturer of any major component of a large energy facility doing business within or outside this state.
No person who is an employee of the department shall participate in any manner in any decision or action of the commissioner where that person has a direct or indirect financial interest.
The commissioner has sole authority and responsibility for the administration of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30. Other laws notwithstanding, the authority granted the commissioner shall supersede the authority given any other agency whenever overlapping, duplication, or additional administrative or legal procedures might occur in the administration of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30. The commissioner shall consult with other state departments or agencies in matters related to energy and shall contract with them to provide appropriate services to effectuate the purposes of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30. Any other department, agency, or official of this state or political subdivision thereof which would in any way affect the administration or enforcement of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30 shall cooperate and coordinate all activities with the commissioner to assure orderly and efficient administration and enforcement of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30.
The commissioner shall designate a liaison officer whose duty shall be to insure the maximum possible consistency in procedures and to eliminate duplication between the commissioner and the other agencies that may be involved in energy.
(a) The commissioner shall:
(1) manage the department as the central repository within the state government for the collection of data on energy;
(2) prepare and adopt an emergency allocation plan specifying actions to be taken in the event of an impending serious shortage of energy, or a threat to public health, safety, or welfare;
(3) undertake a continuing assessment of trends in the consumption of all forms of energy and analyze the social, economic, and environmental consequences of these trends;
(4) carry out energy conservation measures as specified by the legislature and recommend to the governor and the legislature additional energy policies and conservation measures as required to meet the objectives of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30;
(5) collect and analyze data relating to present and future demands and resources for all sources of energy;
(6) evaluate policies governing the establishment of rates and prices for energy as related to energy conservation, and other goals and policies of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30, and make recommendations for changes in energy pricing policies and rate schedules;
(7) study the impact and relationship of the state energy policies to international, national, and regional energy policies;
(8) design and implement a state program for the conservation of energy; this program shall include but not be limited to, general commercial, industrial, and residential, and transportation areas; such program shall also provide for the evaluation of energy systems as they relate to lighting, heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, building design and operation, and appliance manufacturing and operation;
(9) inform and educate the public about the sources and uses of energy and the ways in which persons can conserve energy;
(10) dispense funds made available for the purpose of research studies and projects of professional and civic orientation, which are related to either energy conservation, resource recovery, or the development of alternative energy technologies which conserve nonrenewable energy resources while creating minimum environmental impact;
(11) charge other governmental departments and agencies involved in energy-related activities with specific information gathering goals and require that those goals be met;
(12) design a comprehensive program for the development of indigenous energy resources. The program shall include, but not be limited to, providing technical, informational, educational, and financial services and materials to persons, businesses, municipalities, and organizations involved in the development of solar, wind, hydropower, peat, fiber fuels, biomass, and other alternative energy resources. The program shall be evaluated by the alternative energy technical activity; and
(13) dispense loans, grants, or other financial aid from money received from litigation or settlement of alleged violations of federal petroleum-pricing regulations made available to the department for that purpose.
(b) Further, the commissioner may participate fully in hearings before the Public Utilities Commission on matters pertaining to rate design, cost allocation, efficient resource utilization, utility conservation investments, small power production, cogeneration, and other rate issues. The commissioner shall support the policies stated in section 216C.05 and shall prepare and defend testimony proposed to encourage energy conservation improvements as defined in section 216B.241.
1974 c 307 s 7; 1977 c 381 s 9; 1981 c 356 s 127,248; 1982 c 563 s 3; 1983 c 179 s 1; 1983 c 289 s 44; 1984 c 654 art 2 s 99; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 10 subd 1; 1988 c 617 s 1; 2005 c 97 art 4 s 3; 2008 c 356 s 6
(a) The commissioner may:
(2) make all contracts under sections 216C.05 to 216C.30 and do all things necessary to cooperate with the United States government, and to qualify for, accept, and disburse any grant intended for the administration of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30;
(3) provide on-site technical assistance to units of local government in order to enhance local capabilities for dealing with energy problems;
(4) administer for the state, energy programs under federal law, regulations, or guidelines, and coordinate the programs and activities with other state agencies, units of local government, and educational institutions;
(5) develop a state energy investment plan with yearly energy conservation and alternative energy development goals, investment targets, and marketing strategies;
(6) perform market analysis studies relating to conservation, alternative and renewable energy resources, and energy recovery;
(7) assist with the preparation of proposals for innovative conservation, renewable, alternative, or energy recovery projects;
(8) manage and disburse funds made available for the purpose of research studies or demonstration projects related to energy conservation or other activities deemed appropriate by the commissioner;
(9) intervene in certificate of need proceedings before the Public Utilities Commission;
(10) collect fees from recipients of loans, grants, or other financial aid from money received from litigation or settlement of alleged violations of federal petroleum-pricing regulations, which fees must be used to pay the department's costs in administering those financial aids; and
(11) collect fees from proposers and operators of conservation and other energy-related programs that are reviewed, evaluated, or approved by the department, other than proposers that are political subdivisions or community or nonprofit organizations, to cover the department's cost in making the reviewal, evaluation, or approval and in developing additional programs for others to operate.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, the commissioner is designated the state agent to apply for, receive, and accept federal or other funds made available to the state for the purposes of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30.
1974 c 307 s 8; 1978 c 786 s 1; Ex1979 c 2 s 13; 1981 c 85 s 2; 1981 c 356 s 128,248; 1982 c 424 s 130; 1983 c 289 s 45; 1984 c 604 s 1; 1984 c 640 s 32; 1Sp1985 c 14 art 9 s 75; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 10 subd 1; 1988 c 617 s 2; 1989 c 338 s 5; 1994 c 483 s 1; 1996 c 305 art 2 s 39; 2004 c 206 s 31
The commissioner shall establish an Energy Information Center in the department's offices in St. Paul. The information center shall maintain a toll-free telephone information service and disseminate printed materials on energy conservation topics, including but not limited to, availability of loans and other public and private financing methods for energy conservation physical improvements, the techniques and materials used to conserve energy in buildings, including retrofitting or upgrading insulation and installing weatherstripping, the projected prices and availability of different sources of energy, and alternative sources of energy.
The Energy Information Center shall serve as the official Minnesota Alcohol Fuels Information Center and shall disseminate information, printed, by the toll-free telephone information service, or otherwise on the applicability and technology of alcohol fuels.
The information center shall include information on the potential hazards of energy conservation techniques and improvements in the printed materials disseminated. The commissioner shall not be liable for damages arising from the installation or operation of equipment or materials recommended by the information center.
The information center shall use the information collected under section 216C.02, subdivision 1, to maintain a central source of information on conservation and other energy-related programs, including both programs required by law or rule and programs developed and carried on voluntarily.
The commissioner in consultation with other affected agencies or departments shall develop informational materials, pamphlets and radio and television messages on energy conservation and housing programs available in Minnesota, renewable energy resources, and energy supply and demand. The printed materials shall include information on available tax credits for residential energy conservation measures, residential retrofitting loan and grant programs, and data on the economics of energy conservation and renewable resource measures. Copies of printed materials shall be distributed to members of the appropriate standing committees of the legislature.
The commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of education, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, shall assist in the development and implementation of adult and postsecondary energy education programs.
(a) The definitions in this subdivision apply to this section.
(b) "Community energy efficiency and renewable energy projects" means solar thermal water heating, solar electric or photovoltaic equipment, small wind energy conversion systems of less than 250 kW, anaerobic digester gas systems, microhydro systems up to 100 kW, heating and cooling applications using solar thermal or ground source technology, and cost-effective energy efficiency projects installed in industrial, commercial, or public buildings, or health care facilities.
(d) "Industrial customer" means a business that is classified under the North American Industrial Classification System under codes 21, 31 to 33, 48, 49, or 562.
(e) "Small business" means a business that employs 50 or fewer employees.
(f) "Unit of local government" means any home rule charter or statutory city, county, commission, district, authority, or other political subdivision or instrumentality of this state, including a sanitary district, park district, the Metropolitan Council, a port authority, an economic development authority, or a housing and redevelopment authority.
The commissioner of commerce shall develop, implement, and administer a community energy efficiency and renewable energy loan program under this section.
(a) The commissioner may issue low-interest, long-term loans to units of local government to:
(1) finance community-owned or publicly owned renewable energy systems or cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to public buildings; or
(2) provide loans or other aids to industrial or commercial businesses or health care facilities for cost-effective energy efficiency projects or to install renewable energy systems.
(b) The commissioner may participate in loans made by the Housing Finance Agency to residential property owners, private developers, nonprofit organizations, or units of local government under sections 462A.05, subdivisions 14 and 18; and 462A.33 for the construction, purchase, or rehabilitation of residential housing to facilitate the installation of renewable energy systems in residential housing and cost-effective energy conservation improvements identified in an energy efficiency audit. The commissioner shall assist the Housing Finance Agency in assessing the technical qualifications of loan applicants.
(c) If an industrial, commercial, or health care facility customer seeks a loan under paragraph (a), clause (2), the commissioner may require an individual industrial, commercial, or health care facility customer to provide its energy usage data for the limited purpose of assessing the energy and cost savings of the project that is subject to the loan. Industrial, commercial, or health care facility customer's energy usage data may only be released upon the express, written consent of the individual industrial, commercial, or health care facility customer. The commissioner shall not require an industrial, commercial, or health care facility customer to provide energy usage data or aggregation of energy usage data that includes an industrial, commercial, or health care facility customer for any other loan under this section. Any individual industrial, commercial, or health care facility customer's energy usage data provided under this section shall be classified as nonpublic data as defined in section 13.02, subdivision 9.
The commissioner shall determine technical standards for community energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to qualify for loans under this section.
(a) At least once a year, the commissioner shall publish in the State Register a request for proposals from units of local government for a loan under this section. Within 45 days after the deadline for receipt of proposals, the commissioner shall select proposals based on the following criteria:
(1) the reliability and cost-effectiveness of the renewable or energy efficiency technology to be installed under the proposal;
(2) the extent to which the proposal effectively integrates with the conservation and energy efficiency programs or goals of the energy utilities serving the proposer;
(3) the total life cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions reductions per dollar of installed cost;
(4) the diversity of the renewable energy or energy efficiency technology installed under the proposal;
(5) the geographic distribution of projects throughout the state;
(6) the percentage of total project cost requested;
(7) the proposed security for payback of the loan; and
(8) other criteria the commissioner may determine to be necessary and appropriate.
A loan under this section must be issued at the lowest interest rate required to recover principal and interest plus the costs of issuing the loan, and must be for a minimum of 15 years, unless the commissioner determines that a shorter loan period of no less than five years is necessary and feasible.
A community energy efficiency and renewable energy loan account is established in the state treasury. Money in the account consists of the proceeds of revenue bonds issued under section 216C.146, interest and other earnings on money in the account, money received in repayment of loans from the account, legislative appropriations, and money from any other source credited to the account.
Money in the account is appropriated to the commissioner of commerce to make community energy efficiency and renewable energy loans under this section and to the commissioner of management and budget to pay debt service and other costs under section 216C.146. Payment of debt service costs and funding reserves take priority over use of money in the account for any other purpose.
(a) The commissioner of management and budget, if requested by the commissioner of commerce, shall sell and issue state revenue bonds for the following purposes:
(1) to make community energy efficiency and renewable energy loans under section 216C.145;
(2) to pay the costs of issuance, debt service, including capitalized interest, and bond insurance or other credit enhancements, to fund reserves, and make payments under other agreements entered into under subdivision 2, but excludes refunding bonds sold and issued under this subdivision; and
(3) to refund bonds issued under this section.
(b) The aggregate principal amount of bonds for the purposes of paragraph (a), clause (1), that may be outstanding at any time may not exceed $100,000,000, of which up to $20,000,000 shall be reserved for community energy efficiency and renewable energy projects taking place in small businesses and public buildings; the principal amount of bonds that may be issued for the purposes of paragraph (a), clauses (2) and (3), is not limited.
(c) For the purpose of this section, "commissioner" means the commissioner of management and budget.
(d) Revenue bonds may be issued from time to time in one or more series on the terms and conditions the commissioner determines to be in the best interests of the state at any price or percentages of par value, but the term on any series of revenue bonds may not exceed 25 years. The revenue bonds of each issue and series thereof shall be dated and bear interest, and may be includable in or excludable from the gross income of the owners for federal income tax purposes.
(e) Revenue bonds may be sold at either public or private sale. Any bid received may be rejected.
(f) The revenue bonds are not subject to chapter 16C.
(g) Notwithstanding any other law, revenue bonds issued under this section shall be fully negotiable.
(h) Revenue bond terms must be no longer than the term of any corresponding loan made under section 216C.145.
The commissioner may sell and issue the bonds on the terms and conditions the commissioner determines to be in the best interests of the state. The bonds may be sold at public or private sale. The commissioner may enter into any agreements or pledges the commissioner determines necessary or useful to sell the bonds that are not inconsistent with section 216C.145. Sections 16A.672 to 16A.675 apply to the bonds. The proceeds of the bonds issued under this section must be credited to the community energy efficiency and renewable energy loan account created under section 216C.145.
The debt service on the bonds is payable only from the following sources:
(1) revenue credited to the community energy efficiency and renewable energy loan account from the sources identified in section 216C.145 or from any other source; and
(2) other revenues pledged to the payment of the bonds, including reserves established by a local government unit.
The commissioner may issue bonds to refund outstanding bonds issued under subdivision 1, including the payment of any redemption premiums on the bonds and any interest accrued or to accrue to the first redemption date after delivery of the refunding bonds. The proceeds of the refunding bonds may, at the discretion of the commissioner, be applied to the purchases or payment at maturity of the bonds to be refunded, or the redemption of the outstanding bonds on the first redemption date after delivery of the refunding bonds and may, until so used, be placed in escrow to be applied to the purchase, retirement, or redemption. Refunding bonds issued under this subdivision must be issued and secured in the manner provided by the commissioner.
Bonds issued under this section are not public debt, and the full faith, credit, and taxing powers of the state are not pledged for their payment. The bonds may not be paid, directly in whole or in part from a tax of statewide application on any class of property, income, transaction, or privilege. Payment of the bonds is limited to the revenues explicitly authorized to be pledged under this section. The state neither makes nor has a moral obligation to pay the bonds if the pledged revenues and other legal security for them is insufficient.
The commissioner may contract with and appoint a trustee for bondholders. The trustee has the powers and authority vested in it by the commissioner under the bond and trust indentures.
A pledge made by the commissioner is valid and binding from the time the pledge is made. The money or property pledged and later received by the commissioner is immediately subject to the lien of the pledge without any physical delivery of the property or money or further act, and the lien of the pledge is valid and binding as against all parties having claims of any kind in tort, contract, or otherwise against the commissioner, whether or not those parties have notice of the lien or pledge. Neither the order nor any other instrument by which a pledge is created need be recorded.
The commissioner, subject to agreements with bondholders that may then exist, may, out of any money available for the purpose, purchase bonds of the commissioner at a price not exceeding (1) if the bonds are then redeemable, the redemption price then applicable plus accrued interest to the next interest payment date thereon, or (2) if the bonds are not redeemable, the redemption price applicable on the first date after the purchase upon which the bonds become subject to redemption plus accrued interest to that date.
The state pledges and agrees with the holders of any bonds that the state will not limit or alter the rights vested in the commissioner to fulfill the terms of any agreements made with the bondholders, or in any way impair the rights and remedies of the holders until the bonds, together with interest on them, with interest on any unpaid installments of interest, and all costs and expenses in connection with any action or proceeding by or on behalf of the bondholders, are fully met and discharged. The commissioner may include this pledge and agreement of the state in any agreement with the holders of bonds issued under this section.
Any of the following entities may legally invest any sinking funds, money, or other funds belonging to them or under their control in any revenue bonds issued under this section:
(1) the state, the investment board, public officers, municipal corporations, political subdivisions, and public bodies;
(2) banks and bankers, savings and loan associations, credit unions, trust companies, savings banks and institutions, investment companies, insurance companies, insurance associations, and other persons carrying on a banking or insurance business; and
(3) personal representatives, guardians, trustees, and other fiduciaries.
The commissioner shall maintain an emergency conservation and allocation plan. The plan shall provide a variety of strategies and staged conservation measures to reduce energy use and, in the event of an energy supply emergency, shall establish guidelines and criteria for allocation of fuels to priority users. The plan shall contain alternative conservation actions and allocation plans to reasonably meet various foreseeable shortage circumstances and allow a choice of appropriate responses. The plan shall be consistent with requirements of federal emergency energy conservation and allocation laws and regulations, shall be based on reasonable energy savings or transfers from scarce energy resources and shall:
(1) give priority to individuals, institutions, agriculture, businesses, and public transit under contract with the commissioner of transportation or the Metropolitan Council which demonstrate they have engaged in energy-saving measures and shall include provisions to insure that:
(i) immediate allocations to individuals, institutions, agriculture, businesses, and public transit be based on needs at energy conservation levels;
(ii) successive allocations to individuals, institutions, agriculture, businesses, and public transit be based on needs after implementation of required action to increase energy conservation; and
(iii) needs of individuals, institutions, and public transit are adjusted to insure the health and welfare of the young, old and infirm;
(2) insure maintenance of reasonable job safety conditions and avoid environmental sacrifices;
(3) establish programs, controls, standards, priorities or quotas for the allocation, conservation, and consumption of energy resources; and for the suspension and modification of existing standards and the establishment of new standards affecting or affected by the use of energy resources, including those related to the type and composition of energy sources, and to the hours and days during which public buildings, commercial and industrial establishments, and other energy-consuming facilities may or are required to remain open;
(4) establish programs to control the use, sale or distribution of commodities, materials, goods or services;
(5) establish regional programs and agreements for the purpose of coordinating the energy resources, programs and actions of the state with those of the federal government, of local governments, and of other states and localities;
(6) determine at what level of an energy supply emergency situation the Pollution Control Agency shall be requested to ask the governor to petition the president for a temporary emergency suspension of air quality standards as required by the Clean Air Act, United States Code, title 42, section 7410f; and
(7) establish procedures for fair and equitable review of complaints and requests for special exemptions regarding emergency conservation measures or allocations.
At least once every five years and whenever construction of a new large energy facility is completed which affects the supply of energy in Minnesota, the commissioner shall review and if necessary revise the emergency conservation and allocation plan. Revisions of the emergency conservation and allocation plan shall be adopted pursuant to the rulemaking procedures in chapter 14 and reviewed by the appropriate standing committees of the legislature.
The Executive Council or the legislature may declare an energy supply emergency when an acute shortage of energy exists by issuing a declaration which indicates the nature of the emergency, the area or areas threatened if less than the whole state is threatened, and the conditions causing the emergency. The declaration shall be disseminated promptly by means calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the general public and shall be promptly filed with the commissioner, the Division of Emergency Management and the secretary of state. Upon a declaration of an energy supply emergency by the Executive Council or the legislature, the governor and the Division of Emergency Management, in consultation with the commissioner, shall implement and enforce the emergency conservation and allocation plan or any part thereof. Revisions of the plan shall be made by the commissioner in accordance with subdivision 2. The Executive Council or the legislature may terminate an energy supply emergency at any time by issuing a declaration which terminates the energy supply emergency and indicates the conditions which make possible termination of the emergency, but no energy supply emergency may continue for longer than 30 days unless renewed by the legislature. Each renewed energy supply emergency may not continue for longer than 30 days, unless otherwise provided by law. Each person shall carry out the responsibilities specified in the emergency conservation allocation plan, and violation of any provision of such emergency conservation or allocation requirements shall be deemed a violation of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30 and the rules promulgated thereunder for purposes of enforcement pursuant to section 216C.30.
1974 c 307 s 9; 1974 c 428 s 5; Ex1979 c 2 s 16-18; 1981 c 356 s 133-135,248; 1982 c 424 s 130; 1984 c 640 s 32; 1987 c 71 s 2; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 10 subd 1; 1993 c 83 s 4; 1994 c 628 art 3 s 16; 1996 c 305 art 2 s 41
The purpose of this section is to grant to the commissioner authority to exercise specific power to deal with shortages of refined petroleum products. Authority granted shall be exercised for the purpose of minimizing the adverse impacts of shortages and dislocations upon the citizens and the economy of the state and nation.
The commissioner shall establish and is responsible for a state set-aside system for motor gasoline and middle distillates to provide emergency petroleum requirements and thereby relieve the hardship caused by shortage, supply dislocations, or other emergencies. The commissioner, for purposes of administration, may exercise all of the powers granted by this chapter.
As used in this section:
(a) "Middle distillates" means distillates obtained between kerosene and lubricating oil fractions in the refining process, including but not limited to, kerosene, number one and number two heating oil and diesel fuel.
(b) "Motor gasoline" means a liquid mixture of hydrocarbons produced by the distillation of petroleum and used chiefly as a fuel in internal combustion engines.
(c) "Prime supplier" means the producer or supplier now or hereafter making the first sale of middle distillates or motor gasoline subject to the state set-aside for consumption within the state.
(d) "State set-aside" means the amount of middle distillates or motor gasoline required to be made available by a prime supplier for utilization by the commissioner to resolve or mitigate emergencies or hardships due to shortages of supply.
Every prime supplier shall allocate for sale or exchange monthly upon order of the commissioner a volume of motor gasoline and middle distillate not exceeding the monthly set-aside amount. The amount of gasoline subject to monthly set-aside shall be an amount equal to three percent of the prime supplier's monthly supply estimate. The amount of middle distillate subject to monthly set-aside shall be an amount equal to four percent of the prime supplier's monthly supply estimate.
Every prime supplier shall file with the commissioner a monthly report of its estimated volume of gasoline and middle distillate deliveries. The report shall be in a form prescribed by the commissioner and shall be submitted by the 25th day of the month preceding the month covered by the report. Each prime supplier shall allocate monthly for sale or exchange upon order of the commissioner three percent of estimated motor gasoline supplies and four percent of estimated middle distillate supplies as shown by the report.
Each prime supplier shall designate a representative to act for and on behalf of the prime supplier in respect to department state set-aside orders to be issued to the prime supplier. A prime supplier shall provide the amount of allocated product stated in the energy state set-aside order.
The commissioner shall adopt rules to govern the administration of the set-aside system. Rules shall cover matters such as the form and procedure for applications for set-aside allocations by dealers of bulk purchasers, reports on available gasoline and middle distillate supplies, orders and procedure for set-aside allocation and distribution and other rules deemed necessary or desirable in the implementation and administration of the set-aside system, including monthly reports of anticipated deliveries and actual sales of gasoline, middle distillates, propane, aviation fuels, and residual oils.
In order to further the purposes of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30, the commissioner shall develop and maintain an effective program of collection, compilation, and analysis of energy statistics. The statistical program shall be developed to insure a central state repository of energy data and so that the state may coordinate and cooperate with other governmental data collection and record-keeping programs.
Except as provided in subdivision 3, in addition to supplying the current statistical and short-range forecasting information the commissioner requires, each utility, coal supplier, petroleum supplier and large energy facility in the state shall prepare and transmit to the commissioner by July 1 of each year, a report specifying in five-, ten-, and 15-year forecasts the projected demand for energy within their respective service areas and the facilities necessary to meet the demand.
The report shall be in a form specified by the commissioner and contain all information deemed relevant by the commissioner.
The commissioner shall, to the maximum extent feasible, provide that forecasts required under this section be consistent with material required by other state and federal agencies in order to prevent unnecessary duplication. Electric utilities submitting advance forecasts as part of an integrated resource plan filed pursuant to section 216B.2422 and Public Utilities Commission rules are excluded from the annual reporting requirement in subdivision 2.
Reports issued pursuant to this section, other than individual corporate reports classified as nonpublic data in section 13.68, shall be available for public inspection in the office of the department during normal business hours.
The commissioner shall review and evaluate forecasts of energy demands and resources as they relate to the most current population growth and development estimates, statewide and regional land use, transportation, and economic development programs and forecasts.
By July 1 of 1988 and every four years thereafter, the commissioner shall issue a comprehensive report designed to identify major emerging trends and issues in energy supply, consumption, conservation, and costs. The report shall include the following:
(1) projections of the level and composition of statewide energy consumption under current government policies and an evaluation of the ability of existing and anticipated facilities to supply the necessary energy for that consumption;
(2) projections of how the level and the composition of energy consumption would be affected by new programs or new policies;
(3) projections of energy costs to consumers, businesses, and government;
(4) identification and discussion of key social, economic, and environmental issues in energy;
(5) explanations of the department's current energy programs and studies; and
The energy policy and conservation report shall include a section prepared by the Public Utilities Commission. The commission's section shall be prepared in consultation with the commissioner and shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:
(1) a description and analysis of the commission's rate design policy as it pertains to the goals stated in sections 216B.164, 216B.241, and 216C.05, including a description of all energy conservation improvements ordered by the commission; and
Prior to the preparation of a final report, the commissioner shall issue a draft report to the Environmental Quality Board and any person, upon request, and shall hold a public meeting. Notice of the public meeting shall be provided to each regional development commission.
The commissioner shall distribute the final report to any person upon request.
1974 c 307 s 11; 1975 c 271 s 6; Ex1979 c 2 s 19; 1981 c 356 s 138,248; 1982 c 561 s 3; 1982 c 563 s 8; 1983 c 179 s 2; 1983 c 231 s 3; 1983 c 289 s 115 subd 1; 1984 c 654 art 2 s 100; 1987 c 186 s 15; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 10 subd 1
After consultation with the commissioner and the commissioner of public safety, the commissioner of transportation shall adopt rules under chapter 14 establishing minimum energy efficiency standards for street, highway, and parking lot lighting. The standards must be consistent with overall protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. No new highway, street, or parking lot lighting may be installed in violation of these rules. Existing lighting equipment, excluding roadway sign lighting, with lamps with initial efficiencies less than 70 lumens per watt must be replaced when worn out with light sources using lamps with initial efficiencies of at least 70 lumens per watt.
Beginning July 1, 1980, the use of outdoor display lighting shall be limited as provided in subdivision 3. For purposes of this section, "outdoor display lighting" shall include building facade lighting, other decorative lighting, and all billboards and advertising signs except those which identify a commercial establishment which is open for business at that hour.
The commissioner shall adopt rules, pursuant to chapter 14, setting standards covering permissible hours of operation, quantity, and efficiency of outdoor display lighting and defining "outdoor display lighting."
The commissioner may investigate promotional practices by energy suppliers and, pursuant to chapter 14, may promulgate rules to limit such practices in order to reduce the rate of growth of energy demand.
After July 1, 1974, no new natural gas outdoor lighting shall be installed in the state. However, the installation and use of natural gas outdoor lighting that is equipped with either an automatic daytime shutoff device or is otherwise capable of being switched on and off, is permitted.
Beginning April 20, 1977, no person shall use a decorative gas lamp in Minnesota except as provided in this subdivision and in subdivisions 5 and 7. The commissioner shall grant a permanent variance allowing a homeowner who received a variance in 1977 to operate a decorative gas lamp or lamps at the homeowner's principal place of residence. The variance shall be valid for the life of the recipient. The commissioner shall not issue a variance to any other person to use a decorative gas lamp or lamps.
Gas lamps installed prior to April 20, 1977, by or at the request of a municipality, on a public street or right-of-way, may be used as street lighting.
The commissioner shall conduct studies and make recommendations concerning the purchase and use by the state and its political subdivisions of supplies, motor vehicles and equipment having a significant impact on energy use in order to determine the potential for energy conservation. The commissioner may adopt rules pursuant to chapter 14 to insure that energy use and conservation will be considered in state purchasing and, where appropriate, to require certain minimum energy efficiency standards in purchased products and equipment. No state purchasing of equipment or material use shall occur that is not in conformity with these rules.
No new room air conditioner shall be sold or installed or transported for resale into Minnesota unless it has an energy efficiency ratio equal to or greater than the values required by applicable federal laws and the United States Department of Energy regulations codified in Code of Federal Regulations, title 10, including applicable interpretations of the regulations issued by that department.
No new residential
(1) forced-air-type central furnace;
(2) cooking appliance manufactured with an electrical supply cord; or
(3) clothes-drying equipment,
that is designed to burn natural gas shall be sold or installed in Minnesota, unless it meets or exceeds the efficiency standards required by applicable federal laws and the United States Department of Energy regulations codified in Code of Federal Regulations, title 10, including applicable interpretations of the regulations issued by that department.
No person may sell or install a fluorescent lamp ballast in this state that does not comply with the energy efficiency standards for fluorescent lamp ballasts adopted by the commissioner under subdivision 8.
No new lamp may be sold in Minnesota unless it meets or exceeds the minimum efficiency standards required by applicable federal laws and the United States Department of Energy regulations codified in Code of Federal Regulations, title 10, including applicable interpretations of the regulations issued by that department.
No new motor covered by this subdivision, excluding those sold as part of an appliance, may be sold or installed in Minnesota unless its nominal efficiency meets or exceeds the values adopted under section 326B.106.
(a) This subdivision applies to electrically operated unitary and packaged terminal air conditioners and heat pumps, electrically operated water-chilling packages, gas- and oil-fired boilers, and warm air furnaces and combination warm air furnaces and air conditioning units installed in buildings housing commercial or industrial operations.
(b) No commercial heating, air conditioning, or ventilating equipment covered by this subdivision may be sold or installed in Minnesota unless it meets or exceeds the minimum performance standards established by ASHRAE standard 90.1.
No new showerhead, kitchen faucet or kitchen replacement aerator, or lavatory faucet or lavatory replacement aerator may be sold or installed in Minnesota unless it meets or exceeds the efficiency standards required by applicable federal laws and the United States Department of Energy regulations codified in Code of Federal Regulations, title 10, including applicable interpretations of the regulations issued by that department.
The commissioner shall adopt rules to implement subdivisions 13 and 16 to 19, including rules governing testing of products covered by those sections. The rules must make allowance for wholesalers, distributors, or retailers who have inventory or stock which was acquired prior to July 1, 1993. The rules must consider appropriate efficiency requirements for motors used infrequently in agricultural and other applications.
1974 c 307 s 12; 1975 c 65 s 1; 1976 c 166 s 7; 1976 c 333 s 5-7; 1977 c 381 s 11-14; Ex1979 c 2 s 20-24; 1980 c 579 s 8; 1981 c 85 s 3,4; 1981 c 356 s 139-145,248; 1981 c 365 s 9; 1982 c 424 s 130; 1982 c 563 s 9; 1984 c 544 s 89; 1984 c 654 art 2 s 101; 1985 c 50 s 1; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 10 subd 1; 1988 c 617 s 3,4; 1992 c 597 s 4-10; 1995 c 161 s 1-5; 1997 c 191 art 1 s 8; 1998 c 350 s 4; 1999 c 135 s 5; 2009 c 86 art 1 s 32
The rules concerning heat loss, illumination, and climate control standards adopted pursuant to section 326B.106, subdivision 1, shall include standards for all existing buildings heated by oil, coal, gas, or electric units which are owned by the state, the University of Minnesota, any city, any county, or any school district. Compliance with standards adopted pursuant to this section shall not be mandatory for buildings owned by any city, county, or school district, except as otherwise provided by this section.
The illumination standards promulgated pursuant to subdivision 1, are mandatory for all public buildings where economically feasible. For the purposes of this subdivision, "public building" means any building which is open to the public during normal business hours and which exceeds 5,000 square feet in gross floor area. The commissioner shall specify the formula for determining economic feasibility.
No enclosed structure or portion of an enclosed structure constructed after January 1, 1978, and used primarily as a commercial parking facility for three or more motor vehicles shall be heated. Incidental heating resulting from building exhaust air passing through a parking facility shall not be prohibited, provided that substantially all useful heat has previously been removed from the air.
The commissioner of administration in consultation with the commissioner shall adopt rules concerning quality and performance standards which are in reasonable conformance with the Interim Performance Criteria for Solar Heating and Combined Heating/Cooling Systems and Dwellings, National Bureau of Standards, January 1, 1975; and the Interim Performance Criteria for Commercial Solar Heating and Combined Heating/Cooling Systems and Facilities, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, February 28, 1975, to insure that within the existing state of development, solar energy systems as defined in section 216C.06, subdivision 17, which are sold or installed within this state, are effective and represent a high standard of quality of material, workmanship, design, and performance. The commissioner of administration in consultation with the energy commissioner shall amend the rules as new technology and materials become available, or as standards are revised by the federal government.
Manufacturers or retailers of solar energy systems shall disclose to each bona fide potential purchaser of a system the extent to which the system meets or exceeds each quality standard.
The commissioner shall continuously identify, monitor, and evaluate in terms of potential direct benefit to, and possible implementation in Minnesota, research studies and demonstration projects of alternative energy and energy conservation systems and methodologies currently performed in Minnesota and other states and countries including:
(1) solar energy systems for heating and cooling;
(2) energy systems using wind, agricultural wastes, forestry products, peat, and other nonconventional energy resources;
(3) devices and technologies increasing the energy efficiency of energy-consuming appliances, equipment, and systems;
(4) hydroelectric power; and
(5) other projects the commissioner deems appropriate and of direct benefit to Minnesota and other states of the upper midwest.
To further the development of indigenous energy resources and energy conservation, the commissioner shall establish an alternative energy engineering activity. The activity shall facilitate the development of specific projects in the public and private sectors and provide a broad range of information, education, and engineering assistance services necessary to accelerate energy conservation and alternative energy development in the state.
The alternative energy engineering activity shall:
(1) provide on-site technical assistance for alternative energy and conservation projects;
(2) develop information materials and educational programs to meet the needs of engineers, technicians, developers, and others in the alternative energy field;
(3) conduct feasibility studies when the results of the studies would be of benefit to others working in the same area;
(4) facilitate development of energy projects through assistance in finding financing, meeting regulatory requirements, gaining public and private support, limited technical consultation, and similar forms of assistance; and
(5) work with and use the services of Minnesota design professionals.
The department is the state agency to apply for, receive, and disburse money made available to the state by federal law for the purpose of weatherizing the residences of low-income persons. The commissioner must coordinate available federal money with state money appropriated for this purpose.
The commissioner must make grants of federal and state money to community action agencies and other public or private nonprofit agencies for the purpose of weatherizing the residences of low-income persons.
In the case of any grant made to an owner of a rental dwelling unit for weatherization, the commissioner must require that (1) the benefits of weatherization assistance in connection with the dwelling unit accrue primarily to the low-income family that resides in the unit; (2) the rents on the dwelling unit will not be raised because of any increase in value due solely to the weatherization assistance; and (3) no undue or excessive enhancement will occur to the value of the dwelling unit.
The commissioner must distribute supplementary state grants in a manner consistent with the goal of producing the maximum number of weatherized units. Supplementary state grants are provided primarily for the payment of additional labor costs for the federal weatherization program, and as an incentive for the increased production of weatherized units.
Criteria for the allocation of state grants to local agencies include existing local agency production levels, emergency needs, and the potential for maintaining or increasing acceptable levels of production in the area.
An eligible local agency may receive advance funding for 90 days' production, but thereafter must receive grants solely on the basis of program criteria.
To the extent allowed by federal regulations, the commissioner must ensure that the same income eligibility criteria apply to both the weatherization program and the energy assistance program.
(a) The definitions in this subdivision apply to this section.
(b) "Energy provider" means a person who provides heating fuel, including natural gas, electricity, fuel oil, propane, wood, or other form of heating fuel, to residences at retail.
(c) "Fuel fund" means a fund established by an energy provider, the state, or any other entity that collects and distributes money for low-income emergency energy assistance and meets the minimum criteria, including income eligibility criteria, for receiving money from the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the program's Incentive Fund for Leveraging Non-Federal Resources.
Each energy provider may solicit contributions from its energy customers for deposit in a fuel fund established by the energy provider, a fuel fund established by another energy provider or other entity, or the statewide fuel account established in subdivision 3, for the purpose of providing emergency energy assistance to low-income households that qualify under the federal eligibility criteria of the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Solicitation of contributions from customers may be made at least annually and may provide each customer an opportunity to contribute as part of payment of bills for provision of service or provide an alternate, convenient way for customers to contribute.
The commissioner must establish a statewide fuel account. The commissioner may develop and implement a program to solicit contributions, manage the receipts, and distribute emergency energy assistance to low-income households, as defined in the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, on a statewide basis. All money remitted to the commissioner for deposit in the statewide fuel account is appropriated to the commissioner for the purpose of developing and implementing the program. No more than ten percent of the money received in the first two years of the program may be used for the administrative expenses of the commissioner to implement the program and no more than five percent of the money received in any subsequent year may be used for administration of the program.
The commissioner must appoint an advisory council to advise the commissioner on implementation of this section. At least one-third of the advisory council must be composed of persons from households that are eligible for emergency energy assistance under the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The remaining two-thirds of the advisory council must be composed of persons representing energy providers, customers, local energy assistance providers, existing fuel fund delivery agencies, and community action agencies. Members of the advisory council may receive expenses, but no other compensation, as provided in section 15.059, subdivision 3. Appointment and removal of members is governed by section 15.059.
Data on individuals collected, maintained, or created because an individual applies on behalf of a household for benefits or services provided by the energy assistance and weatherization programs are private data on individuals and must not be disseminated except pursuant to section 13.05, subdivisions 3 and 4, or as provided in this section.
The commissioner may disseminate to the commissioner of human services the name, telephone number, and last four digits of the Social Security number of any individual who applies on behalf of a household for benefits or services provided by the energy assistance program if the household is determined to be eligible for the energy assistance program.
Data disseminated to the commissioner of human services under subdivision 2 may be disclosed to a person other than the subject of the data only for the purpose of determining a household's eligibility for the telephone assistance program pursuant to section 13.46, subdivision 2, clause (23).
The commissioner may use the name, telephone number, and last four digits of the Social Security number of any individual who applies on behalf of a household for benefits or services provided by the energy assistance program for the purpose of determining whether the household is eligible for the telephone assistance program if the household is determined to be eligible for the energy assistance program.
[Repealed, 2007 c 136 art 3 s 7]
[Repealed, 2007 c 136 art 3 s 7]
[Repealed, 2007 c 136 art 3 s 7]
[Repealed, 2007 c 136 art 3 s 7]
[Repealed, 2007 c 136 art 3 s 7]
[Repealed, 2007 c 136 art 3 s 7]
The commissioner shall have the power, for the purposes of sections 216C.05 to 216C.30, to issue subpoenas for production of books, records, correspondence and other information and to require attendance of witnesses. The subpoenas may be served anywhere in the state by any person authorized to serve processes of courts of record. If a person does not comply with a subpoena, the commissioner may apply to the District Court of Ramsey County and the court shall compel obedience to the subpoena by a proper order. A person failing to obey the order is punishable by the court as for contempt.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or section 325F.20 or 325F.21, or any rule promulgated thereunder, or knowingly submits false information in any report required by this chapter or section 325F.20 or 325F.21 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.
The provisions of this chapter and sections 325F.20 and 325F.21, or any rules promulgated hereunder may be enforced by injunction, action to compel performance or other appropriate action in the district court of the county wherein the violation takes place. The attorney general shall bring any action under this subdivision upon the request of the commissioner, and the existence of an adequate remedy at law shall not be a defense to an action brought under this subdivision.
When the court finds that any person has violated any provision of this chapter or section 325F.20 or 325F.21, or any rule thereunder, has knowingly submitted false information in any report required by this chapter or section 325F.20 or 325F.21, or has violated any court order issued under this chapter or section 325F.20 or 325F.21, the court may impose a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation. These penalties shall be paid to the general fund in the state treasury.
The commissioner shall develop state programs of energy audits of residential and commercial buildings including the training and qualifications necessary for the auditing of residential and commercial buildings under the auspices of a program created under section 216B.241.
The commissioner shall carry out the following energy economic analysis duties:
(1) provide continued analysis of alternative energy issues for the biennial report, certificates of need, and legislative requests;
(2) provide alternative energy information to consumers and business;
(3) assist in the maintenance and improvement of alternative energy input-output multipliers and market penetration models;
(4) provide analysis of alternative energy data.
The commissioner shall develop a program to provide information and training to persons in the state who influence the energy efficiency of new buildings, including contractors, engineers, and architects on techniques and standards for the design and construction of buildings which maximize energy efficiency. The program may include the production of printed materials and the development of training courses.
The commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of agriculture, may organize a Minnesota Biomass Center.
The center shall be the focus of biomass energy activities for the state. To the maximum extent possible, the center shall coordinate its activities and the use of its staff and facilities with those of other entities involved in biomass energy projects.
The center shall:
(1) coordinate existing education and training programs for biomass energy production and use within the state and develop new programs where necessary. Educational programs shall cover all types of biomass energy production use, including but not limited to production from grain, biowaste, and cellulosic materials;
(2) serve as a central information resource in conjunction with existing agencies and academic institutions in order to provide information to the public on the production and use of biomass energy. The center shall obtain and analyze available information on biomass energy topics and prepare it for distribution to ensure that the public receives the most accurate and up-to-date information available;
(3) participate in necessary research projects to assist in technological advancement in areas of biomass energy production, distribution, and use. The center shall also study the environmental and safety aspects of biomass energy use;
(4) support and coordinate financing activities for biomass energy production, including providing technical assistance and manuals to individuals and groups seeking private, local, state or federal funding. The center shall be responsible for evaluating projects for any state assistance that may become available;
(5) develop consumer information and protection programs for all aspects of biomass energy production and use;
(6) investigate marketing and distribution needs within the state;
(7) review state and federal laws and regulations affecting biomass energy production and use, and evaluate regulatory incentives in order to provide the legislature with legislative proposals for the encouragement of biomass energy production and use within the state.
Money to pay part or all of the actual costs of mini-audits, maxi-audits, and energy conservation measures performed by or for schools and governing bodies shall be available from legislative appropriations made for that purpose in accordance with the priorities established in section 216C.35. Money appropriated pursuant to this section is available to school districts and local governmental units that submitted acceptable mini-audits or maxi-audits after April 9, 1976, and before July 1, 1979.
All applications for funding shall be made to the commissioner. Applications shall be accompanied by a report on the energy-using characteristics of the building and any other information the commissioner may reasonably require.
In this section:
(a) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of commerce.
(b) "Energy conservation investments" means all capital expenditures that are associated with conservation measures identified in an energy project study, and that have a ten-year or less payback period.
(c) "Municipality" means any county, statutory or home rule charter city, town, school district, or any combination of those units operating under an agreement to jointly undertake projects authorized in this section.
(d) "Energy project study" means a study of one or more energy-related capital improvement projects analyzed in sufficient detail to support a financing application. At a minimum, it must include one year of energy consumption and cost data, a description of existing conditions, a description of proposed conditions, a detailed description of the costs of the project, and calculations sufficient to document the proposed energy savings.
The commissioner shall approve loans to municipalities for energy conservation investments. A loan may be made to a municipality that has demonstrated that it has complied with all the appropriate provisions of this section and has made adequate provisions to assure proper and efficient operation of the municipal facilities after improvements and modifications are completed.
Application for a loan to be made pursuant to this section shall be made by a municipality to the commissioner on a form the commissioner prescribes by rule. The commissioner shall review each application to determine:
(1) whether or not the municipality's proposal is complete;
(2) whether the calculations and estimates contained in the energy project study are appropriate, accurate, and reasonable;
(3) whether the project is eligible for a loan;
(4) the amount of the loan for which the project is eligible; and
(5) the means by which the municipality proposes to finance the project including:
(i) a loan authorized by this section;
(ii) a grant of money appropriated by state law;
(iii) a grant to the municipality by an agency of the federal government within the amount of money then appropriated to that agency; or
(iv) the appropriation of other money of the municipality to an account for the construction of the project.
During application review, the commissioner may request additional information about a proposed energy conservation investment, including information on project cost. Failure to provide information requested disqualifies a loan applicant.
Data contained in an application submitted to the commissioner for a loan to be made pursuant to this section, including supporting technical documentation, is classified as "public data not on individuals" under section 13.02, subdivision 14.
The commissioner shall approve loans to municipalities on the following conditions:
(a) A municipality must demonstrate that the project is economically feasible, and that it has made adequate provisions to assure proper and efficient operation of the facility once the project is completed.
(b) A loan made pursuant to this section is repayable over a period of not more than ten years from the date the loan is made. Interest shall accrue from the date the loan is made, but the first payment of interest or principal shall not be due until one year after the loan was made. The principal shall be amortized in equal periodic payments over the remainder of the term of the loan. The accrued interest on the balance of the loan principal shall be due with each payment. Interest attributable to the first year of deferred payment shall be paid in the same manner as principal.
(c) Public schools shall receive funding priority whenever approvable loan applications exceed available funds.
The commissioner shall not approve payment to a municipality pursuant to an approved loan until the commissioner has determined that financing of the project is assured by an irrevocable undertaking, by resolution of the governing body of the municipality, to annually levy or otherwise collect an amount of money sufficient to pay the principal and interest due on the loan as well as any of the commissioner of management and budget's administrative expenses according to the terms of the loan.
The commissioner of management and budget shall deposit in the state treasury all principal and interest payments received in repayment of the loans authorized by this section. These payments shall be credited to the bond proceeds fund and are appropriated to the commissioner of management and budget for the purposes of that account.
The commissioner shall adopt rules necessary to implement this section. The rules shall contain as a minimum:
(1) procedures for application by municipalities;
(2) criteria for reviewing loan applications; and
(3) procedures and guidelines for program monitoring, closeout, and evaluation.
1983 c 289 s 115 subd 1; 1983 c 323 s 1; 1984 c 640 s 32; 1Sp1985 c 12 art 7 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 186 s 15; 1987 c 289 s 1; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 10 subd 1; 1987 c 386 art 3 s 16,17; 1989 c 271 s 31; 1993 c 163 art 1 s 28; 1993 c 327 s 15; 1994 c 616 s 2-5; 1996 c 305 art 2 s 42; 1Sp2001 c 4 art 6 s 51; 2009 c 101 art 2 s 109
The legislature finds that community-based energy programs are an effective means of implementing improved energy practices including conservation, greater efficiency in energy use, and the use of alternative resources. Further, community-based energy programs are found to be a public purpose for which public money may be spent.
Statutory and home rule charter cities, counties, or Indian tribal governments of federally recognized Minnesota-based bands or tribes, individually or through the exercise of joint powers agreements, may create community energy councils. Membership on a council shall include representatives of labor, small business, voluntary organizations, senior citizens, and low- and moderate-income residents, and may include city, county, and Indian tribal government officials, and other interested parties.
In order to develop and implement community-based energy programs, a community energy council may:
(1) analyze social and economic impacts caused by energy expenditures;
(2) plan, coordinate, advertise, and provide energy programs to minimize negative social and economic impacts;
(3) seek, accept, and disburse grants and other aids from public or private sources for purposes authorized in this subdivision; and
(4) exercise other powers and duties imposed on it by statute, charter, or by ordinance.
The commissioner may provide professional and financial assistance to communities to establish community energy councils, and develop and implement community energy programs, within available resources.
The legislature finds that community-based energy programs are an effective means of implementing improved energy practices including conservation, greater efficiency in energy use, and the production and use of renewable resources such as wind, solar, biomass, and biofuels. Further, community-based energy programs are found to be a public purpose for which public money may be spent.
The clean energy resource teams (CERT's) project is an innovative state, university, and nonprofit partnership that serves as a catalyst for community energy planning and projects. The mission of CERT's is to give citizens a voice in the energy planning process by connecting them with the necessary technical resources to identify and implement community-scale renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. In 2003, the Department of Commerce designated the CERT's project as a statewide collaborative venture and recognized six regional teams based on their geography: Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and West-Central. Membership of CERT's may include but is not limited to representatives of utilities; federal, state, and local governments; small business; labor; senior citizens; academia; and other interested parties. The Department of Commerce may certify additional clean energy resource teams by regional geography, including teams in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
In order to develop and implement community-based energy programs, a clean energy resource team may:
(1) analyze social and economic impacts caused by energy expenditures;
(2) analyze regional renewable and energy efficiency resources and opportunities;
(3) link community members and community energy projects to the knowledge and capabilities of the University of Minnesota, the State Energy Office, nonprofit organizations, and regional community members, among others;
(4) plan, set priorities for, provide technical assistance to, and catalyze local energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that help to meet state energy policy goals and maximize local economic development opportunities;
(5) provide a broad-based resource and communications network that links local, county, and regional energy efficiency and renewable energy project efforts around the state (both interregional and intraregional);
(6) seek, accept, and disburse grants and other aids from public or private sources for purposes authorized in this subdivision;
(7) provide a convening and networking function within CERT's regions to facilitate education, knowledge formation, and project replication; and
(8) exercise other powers and duties imposed on it by statute, charter, or ordinance.
The commissioner, via the clean energy resource teams, may provide professional, technical, organizational, and financial assistance to regions and communities to develop and implement community energy programs and projects, within available resources.
A rural wind energy development revolving loan fund is established as an account in the special revenue fund in the state treasury. The commissioner of management and budget shall credit to the account the amounts authorized under this section and appropriations and transfers to the account. Earnings, such as interest, dividends, and any other earnings arising from fund assets, must be credited to the account.
The rural wind energy development revolving loan fund is created to provide financial assistance, through partnership with local owners and communities, in developing community wind energy projects that meet the specifications of section 216B.1612, subdivision 2, paragraph (h).
Money in the fund is appropriated to the commissioner of commerce, and may be used to make loans to qualifying owners of wind energy projects, as defined in section 216B.1612, subdivision 2, paragraph (h), to assist in funding wind studies and transmission interconnection studies. The loans must be structured for repayment within 30 days after the project begins commercial operations or two years from the date the loan is issued, whichever is sooner. The commissioner may pay reasonable and actual costs of administering the loan program, not to exceed interest earned on fund assets.
A loan may not be approved for an amount exceeding $100,000. This limit applies to all money loaned to a single project or single entity, whether paid to one or more qualifying owners and whether paid in one or more fiscal years.
(a) Applications for a loan under this section must be made in a manner and on forms prescribed by the commissioner. Loans to eligible projects must be made in the order in which complete applications are received by the commissioner. Loan funds must be disbursed to an applicant within ten days of submission of a payment request by the applicant that demonstrates a payment due to the Midwest Independent System Operator. Interest payable on the loan amount may not exceed 1.5 percent per annum.
(b) A project is eligible for a loan under this program if:
(1) the project has completed an adequate interconnection feasibility study that indicates the project may be interconnected with system upgrades of less than ten percent of the estimated project costs;
(2) the project has a signed power purchase agreement with an electric utility or provides evidence that the project is under serious consideration for such an agreement by an electric utility;
(3) the ownership and structure of the project allows it to qualify as a community-based energy development (C-BED) project under section 216B.1612, and the developer commits to obtaining and maintaining C-BED status; and
(4) the commissioner has determined that sufficient funds are available to make a loan to the project.
(a) The definitions in this subdivision apply to this section.
(b) "Qualified hydroelectric facility" means a hydroelectric generating facility in this state that:
(1) is located at the site of a dam, if the dam was in existence as of March 31, 1994; and
(2) begins generating electricity after July 1, 1994, or generates electricity after substantial refurbishing of a facility that begins after July 1, 2001.
(c) "Qualified wind energy conversion facility" means a wind energy conversion system in this state that:
(1) produces two megawatts or less of electricity as measured by nameplate rating and begins generating electricity after December 31, 1996, and before July 1, 1999;
(2) begins generating electricity after June 30, 1999, produces two megawatts or less of electricity as measured by nameplate rating, and is:
(i) owned by a resident of Minnesota or an entity that is organized under the laws of this state, is not prohibited from owning agricultural land under section 500.24, and owns the land where the facility is sited;
(ii) owned by a Minnesota small business as defined in section 645.445;
(iii) owned by a Minnesota nonprofit organization;
(iv) owned by a tribal council if the facility is located within the boundaries of the reservation;
(v) owned by a Minnesota municipal utility or a Minnesota cooperative electric association; or
(vi) owned by a Minnesota political subdivision or local government, including, but not limited to, a county, statutory or home rule charter city, town, school district, or any other local or regional governmental organization such as a board, commission, or association; or
(3) begins generating electricity after June 30, 1999, produces seven megawatts or less of electricity as measured by nameplate rating, and:
(i) is owned by a cooperative organized under chapter 308A other than a Minnesota cooperative electric association; and
(ii) all shares and membership in the cooperative are held by an entity that is not prohibited from owning agricultural land under section 500.24.
(d) "Qualified on-farm biogas recovery facility" means an anaerobic digester system that:
(1) is located at the site of an agricultural operation; and
(2) is owned by an entity that is not prohibited from owning agricultural land under section 500.24 and that owns or rents the land where the facility is located.
(e) "Anaerobic digester system" means a system of components that processes animal waste based on the absence of oxygen and produces gas used to generate electricity.
(a) Incentive payments must be made according to this section to (1) a qualified on-farm biogas recovery facility, (2) the owner or operator of a qualified hydropower facility or qualified wind energy conversion facility for electric energy generated and sold by the facility, (3) a publicly owned hydropower facility for electric energy that is generated by the facility and used by the owner of the facility outside the facility, or (4) the owner of a publicly owned dam that is in need of substantial repair, for electric energy that is generated by a hydropower facility at the dam and the annual incentive payments will be used to fund the structural repairs and replacement of structural components of the dam, or to retire debt incurred to fund those repairs.
(b) Payment may only be made upon receipt by the commissioner of commerce of an incentive payment application that establishes that the applicant is eligible to receive an incentive payment and that satisfies other requirements the commissioner deems necessary. The application must be in a form and submitted at a time the commissioner establishes.
(c) There is annually appropriated from the renewable development account under section 116C.779 to the commissioner of commerce sums sufficient to make the payments required under this section, in addition to the amounts funded by the renewable development account as specified in subdivision 5a.
Payments may be made under this section only for:
(a) electricity generated from:
(1) a qualified hydroelectric facility that is operational and generating electricity before December 31, 2011;
(2) a qualified wind energy conversion facility that is operational and generating electricity before January 1, 2008; or
(3) a qualified on-farm biogas recovery facility from July 1, 2001, through December 31, 2017; and
(b) gas generated from a qualified on-farm biogas recovery facility from July 1, 2007, through December 31, 2017.
(a) A facility may receive payments under this section for a ten-year period. No payment under this section may be made for electricity generated:
(1) by a qualified hydroelectric facility after December 31, 2021;
(2) by a qualified wind energy conversion facility after December 31, 2018; or
(3) by a qualified on-farm biogas recovery facility after December 31, 2017.
(b) The payment period begins and runs consecutively from the date the facility begins generating electricity or, in the case of refurbishment of a hydropower facility, after substantial repairs to the hydropower facility dam funded by the incentive payments are initiated.
(a) An incentive payment is based on the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity generated. The amount of the payment is:
(1) for a facility described under subdivision 2, paragraph (a), clause (4), 1.0 cent per kilowatt-hour; and
(2) for all other facilities, 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.
For electricity generated by qualified wind energy conversion facilities, the incentive payment under this section is limited to no more than 200 megawatts of nameplate capacity.
(b) For wind energy conversion systems installed and contracted for after January 1, 2002, the total size of a wind energy conversion system under this section must be determined according to this paragraph. Unless the systems are interconnected with different distribution systems, the nameplate capacity of one wind energy conversion system must be combined with the nameplate capacity of any other wind energy conversion system that is:
(1) located within five miles of the wind energy conversion system;
(2) constructed within the same calendar year as the wind energy conversion system; and
(3) under common ownership.
In the case of a dispute, the commissioner of commerce shall determine the total size of the system, and shall draw all reasonable inferences in favor of combining the systems.
(c) In making a determination under paragraph (b), the commissioner of commerce may determine that two wind energy conversion systems are under common ownership when the underlying ownership structure contains similar persons or entities, even if the ownership shares differ between the two systems. Wind energy conversion systems are not under common ownership solely because the same person or entity provided equity financing for the systems.
The Department of Commerce shall authorize payment of the renewable energy production incentive to wind energy conversion systems that are eligible under this section or Laws 2005, chapter 40, to on-farm biogas recovery facilities, and to hydroelectric facilities. Payment of the incentive shall be made from the renewable energy development account as provided under section 116C.779, subdivision 2.
(a) For the purposes of subdivision 1, paragraph (c), clause (2), a wind energy conversion facility qualifies if it is owned at least 51 percent by one or more of any combination of the entities listed in that clause.
(b) A subsequent owner of a qualified facility may continue to receive the incentive payment for the duration of the original payment period if the subsequent owner qualifies for the incentive under subdivision 1.
(c) Nothing in this section may be construed to deny incentive payment to an otherwise qualified facility that has obtained debt or equity financing for construction or operation as long as the ownership requirements of subdivision 1 and this subdivision are met. If, during the incentive payment period for a qualified facility, the owner of the facility is in default of a lending agreement and the lender takes possession of and operates the facility and makes reasonable efforts to transfer ownership of the facility to an entity other than the lender, the lender may continue to receive the incentive payment for electricity generated and sold by the facility for a period not to exceed 18 months. A lender who takes possession of a facility shall notify the commissioner immediately on taking possession and, at least quarterly, document efforts to transfer ownership of the facility.
(d) If, during the incentive payment period, a qualified facility loses the right to receive the incentive because of changes in ownership, the facility may regain the right to receive the incentive upon cure of the ownership structure that resulted in the loss of eligibility and may reapply for the incentive, but in no case may the payment period be extended beyond the original ten-year limit.
(e) A subsequent or requalifying owner under paragraph (b) or (d) retains the facility's original priority order for incentive payments as long as the ownership structure requalifies within two years from the date the facility became unqualified or two years from the date a lender takes possession.
(a) A qualifying project is eligible for the incentive on the date the commissioner receives:
(1) an application for payment of the incentive;
(2) one of the following:
(i) a copy of a signed power purchase agreement;
(ii) a copy of a binding agreement other than a power purchase agreement to sell electricity generated by the project to a third person; or
(iii) if the project developer or owner will sell electricity to its own members or customers, a copy of the purchase order for equipment to construct the project with a delivery date and a copy of a signed receipt for a nonrefundable deposit; and
(3) any other information the commissioner deems necessary to determine whether the proposed project qualifies for the incentive under this section.
(b) The commissioner shall determine whether a project qualifies for the incentive and respond in writing to the applicant approving or denying the application within 15 working days of receipt of the information required in paragraph (a). A project that is not operational within 18 months of receipt of a letter of approval is no longer approved for the incentive. The commissioner shall notify an applicant of potential loss of approval not less than 60 days prior to the end of the 18-month period. Eligibility for a project that loses approval may be reestablished as of the date the commissioner receives a new completed application.
1994 c 643 s 71; 1995 c 245 s 4-8; 1997 c 216 s 124; 1999 c 223 art 2 s 34,35; 2000 c 488 art 2 s 15; 2001 c 212 art 5 s 1-3; 1Sp2001 c 4 art 2 s 21; 2002 c 398 s 6; 2003 c 128 art 3 s 44; 1Sp2003 c 11 art 2 s 9-15; 2004 c 228 art 1 s 35,76 subd 10; 2005 c 40 s 1; 2005 c 97 art 9 s 1; 1Sp2005 c 1 art 4 s 51-53; 2006 c 281 art 4 s 12,13; 2006 c 282 art 11 s 10,11; 2007 c 57 art 2 s 29; 2008 c 363 art 6 s 6,7; 2009 c 110 s 31; 2014 c 254 s 14
(a) "Made in Minnesota" means the manufacture in this state of solar photovoltaic modules:
(1) at a manufacturing facility located in Minnesota that is registered and authorized to manufacture and apply the UL 1703 certification mark to solar photovoltaic modules by Underwriters Laboratory (UL), CSA International, Intertek, or an equivalent UL-approved independent certification agency;
(2) that bear UL 1703 certification marks from UL, CSA International, Intertek, or an equivalent UL-approved independent certification agency, which must be physically applied to the modules at a manufacturing facility described in clause (1); and
(3) that are manufactured in Minnesota:
(i) by manufacturing processes that must include tabbing, stringing, and lamination; or
(ii) by interconnecting low-voltage direct current photovoltaic elements that produce the final useful photovoltaic output of the modules.
A solar photovoltaic module that is manufactured by attaching microinverters, direct current optimizers, or other power electronics to a laminate or solar photovoltaic module that has received UL 1703 certification marks outside Minnesota from UL, CSA International, Intertek, or an equivalent UL-approved independent certification agency is not "Made in Minnesota" under this paragraph.
(b) "Solar photovoltaic module" has the meaning given in section 116C.7791, subdivision 1, paragraph (e).
A "Made in Minnesota" solar energy production incentive account is established as a separate account in the special revenue fund in the state treasury. Earnings, such as interest, dividends, and any other earnings arising from account assets, must be credited to the account. Funds remaining in the account at the end of a fiscal year do not cancel to the general fund but remain in the account. There is annually appropriated from the account to the commissioner of commerce money sufficient to make the incentive payments under section 216C.415, the transfers under section 216C.416, and to administer sections 216C.412 to 216C.415.
(a) Beginning January 1, 2014, and each January 1 thereafter, through 2023, for a total of ten years, each electric public utility subject to section 216B.241 must annually pay to the commissioner of commerce five percent of the minimum amount it is required to spend on energy conservation improvements under section 216B.241, subdivision 1a. Payments under this subdivision must be included in the calculation of whether a utility's other spending on generation exceeds the limits authorized for spending on generation under section 216B.2411, subdivision 1, for investments proposed for commissioner of commerce approval after July 1, 2013. The limits on spending in section 216B.2411 do not limit or apply to payments required by this subdivision. Payments made under this paragraph count toward satisfying expenditure obligations of a public utility under section 216B.241, subdivision 1a. The commissioner shall, upon receipt of the funds, deposit them in the account established in subdivision 1. A public utility subject to this paragraph must be credited energy savings for the purpose of satisfying its energy savings requirement under section 216B.241, subdivision 1c, based on its payment to the commissioner.
(b) Notwithstanding section 116C.779, subdivision 1, paragraph (g), beginning January 1, 2014, and continuing through January 1, 2023, for a total of ten years, the public utility that manages the account under section 116C.779 must annually pay from that account to the commissioner an amount that, when added to the total amount paid to the commissioner of commerce under paragraph (a), totals $15,000,000 annually. The commissioner shall, upon receipt of the payment, deposit it in the account established in subdivision 1.
A manufacturer of solar photovoltaic modules seeking to qualify those modules as eligible to receive the "Made in Minnesota" solar energy production incentive must submit an application to the commissioner of commerce on a form prescribed by the commissioner. The application must contain:
(1) a technical description of the solar photovoltaic module and the processes used to manufacture it, excluding proprietary details;
(2) documentation that the solar photovoltaic module meets all the required applicable parts of the "Made in Minnesota" definition in section 216C.411, including evidence of the UL 1703 right to mark for all solar photovoltaic modules seeking to qualify as "Made in Minnesota";
(3) any additional nonproprietary information requested by the commissioner of commerce; and
(4) certification signed by the chief executive officer of the manufacturing company attesting to the truthfulness of the contents of the application and supporting materials under penalty of perjury.
If the commissioner determines that a manufacturer's solar photovoltaic module meets the definition of "Made in Minnesota" in section 216C.411, the commissioner shall issue the manufacturer a "Made in Minnesota" certificate containing the name and model numbers of the certified solar photovoltaic modules and the date of certification. The commissioner must issue or deny the issuance of a certificate within 90 days of receipt of a completed application. A copy of the certificate must be provided to each purchaser of the solar photovoltaic module.
The commissioner may revoke a certification of a module as "Made in Minnesota" if the commissioner finds that the module no longer meets the requirements to be certified. The revocation does not affect incentive payments awarded prior to the revocation.
Within 90 days of a module being certified as "Made in Minnesota" the commissioner of commerce shall set a solar energy production incentive amount for that solar photovoltaic module for the purpose of the incentive payment under section 216C.415. The incentive is a performance-based financial incentive expressed as a per kilowatt-hour amount. The amount shall be used for incentive applications approved in the year to which the incentive amount is applicable for the ten-year duration of the incentive payments. An incentive amount must be calculated for each module for each calendar year through 2023.
(a) The commissioner shall set the incentive payment amount by determining the average amount of incentive payment required to allow an average owner of installed solar photovoltaic modules a reasonable return on their investment. In setting the incentive amount the commissioner shall consider:
(1) an estimate of the installed cost per kilowatt-direct current, based on the cost data supplied by the manufacturer in the application submitted under section 216C.413, and an estimate of the average installation cost based on a representative sample of Minnesota solar photovoltaic installed projects;
(2) the average insolation rate in Minnesota;
(3) an estimate of the decline in the generation efficiency of the solar photovoltaic modules over time;
(4) the rate paid by public utilities to owners of solar photovoltaic modules under section 216B.164 or other law;
(5) applicable federal tax incentives for installing solar photovoltaic modules; and
(6) the estimated levelized cost per kilowatt-hour generated.
(b) The commissioner shall annually, for incentive applications received in a year, revise each incentive amount based on the factors in paragraph (a), clauses (1) to (6), general market conditions, and the availability of other incentives. In no case shall the "Made in Minnesota" incentive amount result in the "Made in Minnesota" incentives paid exceeding 40 percent, net of average applicable taxes on the ten-year incentive payments, of the average historic installation cost per kilowatt. The commissioner may exceed the 40 percent cap if the commissioner determines it is necessary to fully expend funds available for incentive payments in a particular year.
A public utility must, at the expense of a customer, provide a meter to measure the production of a solar photovoltaic module system that is approved to receive incentive payments. The public utility must furnish the commissioner with information sufficient for the commissioner to determine the incentive payment. The information must be provided on a calendar year basis by no later than March 1. The commissioner shall provide a public utility with forms to use to provide the production information. A customer must attest to the accuracy of the production information.
Payments must be made no later than July 1 following the year of production.
Renewable energy credits associated with energy provided to a public utility for which an incentive payment is made belong to the utility.
Incentive payments may be made under this section only to an owner of grid-connected solar photovoltaic modules with a total nameplate capacity below 40 kilowatts direct current who:
(1) has submitted to the commissioner, on a form established by the commissioner, an application to receive the incentive that has been approved by the commissioner;
(2) has received a "Made in Minnesota" certificate under section 216C.413 for the module; and
(3) has installed on residential or commercial property solar photovoltaic modules that are generating electricity and has received a "Made in Minnesota" certificate under section 216C.413.
Applications for an incentive payment must be received by the commissioner between January 1 and February 28. The commissioner shall by a random method approve the number of applications the commissioner reasonably determines will exhaust the funds available for payment for the ten-year period of incentive payments. Applications for residential and commercial installations shall be separately randomly approved.
The commissioner must approve an application for an incentive for an owner to be eligible for incentive payments. The commissioner must not approve an application in a calendar year if the commissioner determines there will not be sufficient funding available to pay an incentive to the applicant for any portion of the ten-year duration of payment. The commissioner shall annually establish a cap on the cumulative capacity for a program year based on funds available and historic average installation costs. Receipt of an incentive is not an entitlement and payment need only be made from available funds in the "Made in Minnesota" solar production incentive account.
(a) Payments may be made under this section only for electricity generated from new solar photovoltaic module installations that are commissioned between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2023.
(b) The payment eligibility window of the incentive begins and runs consecutively from the date the solar system is commissioned.
(c) An owner of solar photovoltaic modules may receive payments under this section for a particular module for a period of ten years provided that sufficient funds are available in the account.
(d) No payment may be made under this section for electricity generated after December 31, 2033.
(e) An owner of solar photovoltaic modules may not first begin to receive payments under this section after December 31, 2024.
(a) If there are sufficient applications, approximately 50 percent of the incentive payment shall be for owners of eligible solar photovoltaic modules installed on residential property, and approximately 50 percent shall be for owners of eligible solar photovoltaic modules installed on commercial property.
(b) The commissioner shall endeavor to distribute incentives paid under this section to owners of solar photovoltaic modules installed in a manner so that the amount of payments received in an area of the state reasonably approximates the amount of payments made by a utility serving that area.
(c) For purposes of this subdivision:
(1) "residential property" means residential real estate that is occupied and used as a homestead by its owner or by a renter and includes "multifamily housing development" as defined in section 462C.02, subdivision 5, except that residential property on which solar photovoltaic modules (i) whose capacity exceeds 10 kilowatts is installed; or (ii) connected to a utility's distribution system and whose electricity is purchased by several residents, each of whom own a share of the electricity generated, shall be deemed commercial property; and
(2) "commercial property" means real property on which is located a business, government, or nonprofit establishment.
The commissioner of commerce shall operate a program to provide rebates for the installation of "Made in Minnesota" solar thermal systems in the state. "Solar thermal system" means a flat plate or evacuated tube that meets the requirements of section 216C.25 with a fixed orientation that collects the sun's radiant energy and transfers it to a storage medium for distribution as energy to heat or cool air or water. A solar thermal system is "Made in Minnesota" if components of the system are manufactured in Minnesota and the solar thermal system is certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation. The solar thermal system may be installed in residential and commercial facilities for, among other purposes, hot water, space heating, or pool heating purposes.
(a) The solar thermal system rebate account is created as a separate account in the special revenue fund in the state treasury. Earnings, such as interest, dividends, and any other earnings arising from account assets, must be credited to the account. Funds in the account are appropriated to the commissioner of commerce for the purpose of making the rebate payments under this section and administering this section.
(b) Beginning January 1, 2014, and each January 1 thereafter to January 1, 2023, the commissioner of commerce shall annually transfer $250,000 from the account created in section 216C.412 for deposit in the account created in this subdivision.
(c) To the extent there are sufficient applications, the commissioner shall annually spend for rebates under this section from 2014 to 2023, for a total of ten years, approximately $250,000 per year. If sufficient applications are not received to spend the money available for rebates in a year under this section, the unspent money must be returned to the account from which it was transferred, provided that funds available for 2014 applications shall remain available for 2015 applications.
The maximum rebate for a single family residential dwelling installation is the lesser of 25 percent of the installed cost of a complete system or $2,500. The maximum rebate for a multiple family residential dwelling installation is the lesser of 25 percent of the installed cost of a complete system or $5,000. The maximum rebate for a commercial installation is the lesser of 25 percent of the installation cost of the complete system or $25,000. The system must be installed by a factory authorized installer. The commissioner shall allocate approximately 50 percent of the rebates in each year to solar thermal hot water and 50 percent to solar thermal air projects if sufficient applications are made for each.
Applications for incentives must be made to the commissioner of commerce on forms provided by the commissioner. The commissioner shall use a random process for the selection of recipients of incentives except to the extent necessary to allocate rebates as required by this section.
For the purpose of this section and section 216C.43, the terms defined in this section have the meanings given them.
"Energy improvement project" means a project to improve energy efficiency in a building or facility, including the design, acquisition, installation, construction, and commissioning of equipment or improvements to a building or facility, and training of building or facility staff necessary to properly operate and maintain the equipment or improvements.
"Energy project study" means a technical and financial study of one or more energy improvement projects, including:
(1) an analysis of historical energy consumption and cost data;
(2) a description of existing equipment, structural elements, operating characteristics, and other conditions affecting energy use;
(3) a description of the proposed energy improvement projects;
(4) a detailed budget for the proposed project;
(5) calculations sufficient to demonstrate the expected energy savings; and
(6) if a geothermal energy improvement, whether the project is calculated to produce savings in terms of nongeothermal energy and costs.
"Financing agreement" means a tax-exempt lease-purchase agreement entered into by a local government and a financial institution under a standard project financing agreement offered under section 216C.43, subdivision 6.
"Local government" means a Minnesota county, statutory or home rule charter city, town, school district, park district, or any combination of those units operating under an agreement to exercise powers jointly.
"Program" means the energy improvement financing program for local governments authorized by section 216C.43.
"Supplemental cash flow agreement" means an agreement by the commissioner to lend funds to a local government up to an amount necessary to ensure that the cumulative payments made by the local government under a financing agreement minus the amount loaned by the commissioner do not exceed the actual energy and operating cost savings attributable to the energy improvement project for the term of the supplemental cash flow agreement.
The commissioner shall administer this section. A local government may enter into contracts for the purposes of this section with the commissioner, the primary contractor, other contracted technical service providers, and participating financial institutions.
A local government may elect to participate in the program. The commissioner may prioritize and target technical services offered under subdivision 4 to local governments that the commissioner determines offer the greatest potential for cost-effective energy improvement projects.
The commissioner may enter into a contract for the delivery of technical services, financial management, marketing, and administrative services necessary for implementation of the program.
The commissioner shall offer technical services to targeted local governments to conduct energy project studies. The commissioner may contract with one or more qualified technical service providers to conduct energy project studies for targeted local governments. The commissioner may require full or partial reimbursement of costs for technical services provided to a local government, subject to terms and conditions specified and agreed to by contract before the delivery of technical services. A local government may independently procure technical services to conduct an energy project study, but the energy project study must be reviewed and approved by the commissioner to qualify an energy improvement project for a financing agreement under subdivision 6 or a supplemental cash flow agreement under subdivision 7.
Program activities must be implemented to encourage statewide participation of engineers, architects, energy auditors, contractors, and other technical service providers. The commissioner may provide training on energy project study requirements and procedures to technical service providers.
The commissioner shall solicit proposals from private financial institutions and may enter into a standard project financing agreement with one or more financial institutions. A standard project financing agreement must specify terms and conditions uniformly available to all participating public entities for financing to implement energy improvement projects under this section. A local government may choose to finance an energy improvement project by means other than a standard project financing agreement, but a supplemental cash flow agreement under subdivision 7 must not be offered unless the commissioner determines that the other financing means creates no greater potential obligation under a supplemental cash flow agreement than would be created through a standard project financing agreement.
(a) The commissioner may offer a supplemental cash flow agreement to a participating local government for qualifying energy improvement projects. The term of a supplemental cash flow agreement may not exceed 15 years. Terms and conditions of a supplemental cash flow agreement must be agreed to by contract prior to a local government entering into a financing agreement.
(b) A supplemental cash flow agreement must include, but is not limited to:
(1) specification of methods and procedures to measure and verify energy cost savings;
(2) obligations of the local government to operate and maintain the energy improvements;
(3) procedures to modify the supplemental cash flow agreement if the local government modifies operating characteristics of its building or facility in a manner that adversely affects energy cost savings;
(4) interest charged on the loan, which may not exceed the interest on the related financial agreement; and
(5) procedures for resolution of disputes.
(c) The commissioner must limit aggregate exposure to liability for payments under existing supplemental cash flow agreements to an amount no more than the appropriation available to make those payments.
A local government may submit to the commissioner, on a form prescribed by the commissioner, an application for a financing agreement authorization and supplemental cash flow agreement for energy improvement projects. The commissioner shall approve an energy improvement project for a supplemental cash flow agreement and authorize eligibility for a financing agreement if the commissioner determines that:
(1) the application has been approved by the governing body or agency head of the local government;
(2) the project is technically and economically feasible;
(3) the local government has made adequate provision for the operation and maintenance of the project;
(4) the project proposer has fully explored the use of conservation investment plan opportunities under section 216B.241 with the utilities providing gas and electric service to the project;
(5) the project is calculated to result in a positive cash flow in each year the financing agreement is in effect; and
(6) adequate money will be available to the commissioner to fulfill the supplemental cash flow agreement.
Energy improvement projects under this section are not subject to section 123B.71.
Program costs incurred by the commissioner or a public entity that are not direct costs to implement energy improvement projects may be paid with program money appropriated under subdivision 10.
Petroleum violation escrow funds appropriated to the commissioner by Laws 1988, chapter 686, article 1, section 38, for state energy loan programs for schools, hospitals, and public buildings, and reappropriated by Laws 2007, chapter 57, article 2, section 30, are appropriated to the commissioner for the purposes of this section and are available until spent. The commissioner may transfer up to $1,000,000 of this appropriation to the commissioner of administration for the purposes of section 16B.322.
A utility or association may count toward its energy-savings goals under section 216B.241, subdivision 1c, the energy savings resulting from its investment in an energy improvement project.
Beginning January 15, 2009, and each year thereafter, the commissioner shall submit to the chairs and ranking minority members of the senate and house of representatives committees on energy finance a report containing, at a minimum, the following information regarding projects implemented under this section:
(1) the total number of projects;
(2) the amount of calculated and, if available, actual energy savings for each project;
(3) the cost of each project; and
(4) the total amount paid for technical services provided under subdivision 4 for each project.
For the purposes of this section and section 216C.436, the terms defined in this section have the meanings given them.
"Authority" means a housing and redevelopment authority or economic development authority created pursuant to section 469.003, 469.004, or 469.091, a port authority pursuant to section 469.049, 469.1082, or special law, or another entity authorized by law to exercise the powers of an authority created pursuant to one of those sections.
"City" means a home rule charter or statutory city.
"Cost-effective energy improvements" mean energy improvements that have been identified in an energy audit or renewable energy system feasibility study as repaying their purchase and installation costs in 20 years or less, based on the amount of future energy saved and estimated future energy prices.
"Energy audit" means a formal evaluation of the energy consumption of a building by a certified energy auditor, whose certification is approved by the commissioner, for the purpose of identifying appropriate energy improvements that could be made to the building and including an estimate of the length of time a specific energy improvement will take to repay its purchase and installation costs, based on the amount of energy saved and estimated future energy prices.
"Energy improvement" means:
(1) any renovation or retrofitting of a building to improve energy efficiency that is permanently affixed to the property and that results in a net reduction in energy consumption without altering the principal source of energy;
(2) permanent installation of new or upgraded electrical circuits and related equipment to enable electrical vehicle charging; or
(3) a renewable energy system attached to, installed within, or proximate to a building that generates electrical or thermal energy from a renewable energy source.
"Implementing entity" means the local government or an authority designated by the local government by resolution to implement and administer programs described in section 216C.436.
"Local government" means a city, county, or town.
"Qualifying real property" means a single-family or multifamily residential dwelling, or a commercial or industrial building, that the implementing entity has determined, after review of an energy audit or renewable energy system feasibility study, can be benefited by installation of cost-effective energy improvements.
"Renewable energy" means energy produced by means of solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, wind, or geothermal resources.
"Renewable energy system feasibility study" means a written study, conducted by a contractor trained to perform that analysis, for the purpose of determining the feasibility of installing a renewable energy system in a building, including an estimate of the length of time a specific renewable energy system will take to repay its purchase and installation costs, based on the amount of energy saved and estimated future energy prices. For a geothermal energy improvement, the feasibility study must calculate net savings in terms of nongeothermal energy and costs.
An implementing entity may establish a program to finance energy improvements to enable owners of qualifying real property to pay for cost-effective energy improvements to the qualifying real property with the net proceeds and interest earnings of revenue bonds authorized in this section. An implementing entity may limit the number of qualifying real properties for which a property owner may receive program financing.
A financing program must:
(1) impose requirements and conditions on financing arrangements to ensure timely repayment;
(2) require an energy audit or renewable energy system feasibility study to be conducted on the qualifying real property and reviewed by the implementing entity prior to approval of the financing;
(3) require the inspection of all installations and a performance verification of at least ten percent of the energy improvements financed by the program;
(4) not prohibit the financing of all cost-effective energy improvements not otherwise prohibited by this section;
(5) require that all cost-effective energy improvements be made to a qualifying real property prior to, or in conjunction with, an applicant's repayment of financing for energy improvements for that property;
(6) have energy improvements financed by the program performed by licensed contractors as required by chapter 326B or other law or ordinance;
(7) require disclosures to borrowers by the implementing entity of the risks involved in borrowing, including the risk of foreclosure if a tax delinquency results from a default;
(8) provide financing only to those who demonstrate an ability to repay;
(9) not provide financing for a qualifying real property in which the owner is not current on mortgage or real property tax payments;
(10) require a petition to the implementing entity by all owners of the qualifying real property requesting collections of repayments as a special assessment under section 429.101;
(11) provide that payments and assessments are not accelerated due to a default and that a tax delinquency exists only for assessments not paid when due; and
(12) require that liability for special assessments related to the financing runs with the qualifying real property.
Energy generated by an energy improvement may not be sold, transmitted, or distributed at retail and may not provide for end use of the electrical energy from an off-site facility. On-site generation is allowed to the extent provided for in section 216B.1611.
Financing provided under this section must have:
(1) a cost-weighted average maturity not exceeding the useful life of the energy improvements installed, as determined by the implementing entity, but in no event may a term exceed 20 years;
(2) a principal amount not to exceed the lesser of 20 percent of the assessed value of the real property on which the improvements are to be installed or the actual cost of installing the energy improvements, including the costs of necessary equipment, materials, and labor, the costs of each related energy audit or renewable energy system feasibility study, and the cost of verification of installation; and
(3) an interest rate sufficient to pay the financing costs of the program, including the issuance of bonds and any financing delinquencies.
A financing program must include cooperation and coordination with the conservation improvement activities of the utility serving the qualifying real property and other public and private energy improvement programs.
Upon completion of a project, an implementing entity shall provide a borrower with a certificate stating participation in the program and what energy improvements have been made with financing program proceeds.
An implementing entity that finances an energy improvement under this section must:
(1) secure payment with a lien against the qualifying real property; and
(2) collect repayments as a special assessment as provided for in section 429.101 or by charter, provided that special assessments may be made payable in up to 20 equal annual installments.
If the implementing entity is an authority, the local government that authorized the authority to act as implementing entity shall impose and collect special assessments necessary to pay debt service on bonds issued by the implementing entity under subdivision 8, and shall transfer all collections of the assessments upon receipt to the authority.
(a) An implementing entity may issue revenue bonds as provided in chapter 475 for the purposes of this section, provided the revenue bond must not be payable more than 20 years from the date of issuance.
(b) The bonds must be payable as to both principal and interest solely from the revenues from the assessments established in subdivision 7.
(c) No holder of bonds issued under this subdivision may compel any exercise of the taxing power of the implementing entity that issued the bonds to pay principal or interest on the bonds, and if the implementing entity is an authority, no holder of the bonds may compel any exercise of the taxing power of the local government. Bonds issued under this subdivision are not a debt or obligation of the issuer or any local government that issued them, nor is the payment of the bonds enforceable out of any money other than the revenue pledged to the payment of the bonds.
(a) An implementing entity is authorized to establish, acquire, and use additional or alternative funding sources for the purposes of this section.
(b) For the purposes of this subdivision, additional or alternative funding sources do not include issuance of general obligation bonds.