|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|216C.051||Subdivisions renumbered, repealed, or no longer in effect|
|216C.052||Subdivisions renumbered, repealed, or no longer in effect|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|216C.14||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|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|216C.195||[Repealed, 2000 c 297 s 5]|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|216C.21||[Repealed, 1996 c 310 s 1]|
|216C.22||[Repealed, 1996 c 310 s 1]|
|216C.23||[Repealed, 1996 c 310 s 1]|
|216C.24||[Repealed, 1996 c 310 s 1]|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|216C.262||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|
|216C.263||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|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|216C.27||Subdivisions renumbered, repealed, or no longer in effect|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|216C.36||[Repealed, 1993 c 327 s 24]|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|216C.373||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|
|216C.38||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|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|216C.39||[Repealed, 2016 c 189 art 6 s 16]|
|216C.40||[Expired, 1993 c 254 s 6]|
|216C.41||RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION INCENTIVE.|
|216C.411||MS 2016 [Repealed, 2017 c 94 art 10 s 30]|
|216C.412||MS 2016 [Repealed, 2017 c 94 art 10 s 30]|
|216C.413||MS 2016 [Repealed, 2017 c 94 art 10 s 30]|
|216C.414||MS 2016 [Repealed, 2017 c 94 art 10 s 30]|
|216C.415||MS 2016 [Repealed, 2017 c 94 art 10 s 30]|
|216C.416||MS 2016 [Repealed, 2017 c 94 art 10 s 30]|
|216C.417||PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION; "MADE IN MINNESOTA" SOLAR ENERGY PRODUCTION INCENTIVES.|
|216C.42||DEFINITIONS; ENERGY IMPROVEMENTS FOR BUILDINGS.|
|216C.43||ENERGY IMPROVEMENT FINANCING PROGRAM FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT.|
|216C.435||DEFINITIONS; PACE LOAN PROGRAMS.|
|216C.436||COMMERCIAL PACE LOAN PROGRAM.|
|216C.437||RESIDENTIAL PACE LOAN PROGRAM; AUTHORITY; CONSUMER PROTECTIONS.|
|216C.44||[Repealed, 2014 c 222 art 1 s 58]|
|216C.50||PROPANE EDUCATION AND RESEARCH COUNCIL.|
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;
(3) 25 percent of the total energy used in the state be derived from renewable energy resources by the year 2025; and
(4) retail electricity rates for each customer class be at least five percent below the national average.
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 commerce may grant an exemption from this subdivision if the commercial parking is integrated within a facility that has both public and private uses, the benefits of the exemption to taxpayers exceed the costs, and all appropriate energy efficiency measures have been considered.
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) 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
Payment of a "Made in Minnesota" solar energy production incentive to an owner whose application was approved by the commissioner of commerce under section 216C.415, by May 1, 2017, must be administered under the provisions of Minnesota Statutes 2016, sections 216C.411; 216C.413; 216C.414, subdivisions 1 to 3 and 5; and 216C.415. No incentive payments may be made under this section to an owner whose application was approved by the commissioner after May 1, 2017.
(a) Unspent money remaining in the account established under Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216C.412, on July 1, 2017, must be transferred to the renewable development account in the special revenue fund established under Minnesota Statutes, section 116C.779, subdivision 1.
(b) There is annually appropriated from the renewable development account in the special revenue fund established in Minnesota Statutes, section 116C.779, to the commissioner of commerce money sufficient to make the incentive payments required under Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216C.415. Any funds appropriated under this paragraph that are unexpended at the end of a fiscal year cancel to the renewable development account.
(c) Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216C.412, subdivision 1, none of this appropriation may be used for administrative costs.
(a) Payments may be made under this subdivision only for solar photovoltaic module installations that meet the requirements of subdivision 1 and that first begin generating electricity between January 1, 2014, and October 31, 2018.
(b) The payment eligibility window of the incentive begins and runs consecutively from the date the solar photovoltaic modules first begins generating electricity.
(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 October 31, 2028.
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.
"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. Authority does not include a residential PACE administrator.
"City" means a home rule charter or statutory city.
"Cost-effective energy improvements" mean:
(1) any renovation or retrofitting of:
(i) qualifying commercial real property to improve energy efficiency that is permanently affixed to the property, results in a net reduction in energy consumption without altering the principal source of energy, and has been identified in an energy audit as repaying the purchase and installation costs in 20 years or less, based on the amount of future energy saved and estimated future energy prices; or
(ii) qualifying residential real property that is permanently affixed to the property and is eligible to receive an incentive through a program offered by the electric or natural gas utility that provides service under section 216B.241 to the property or is otherwise determined to be a cost-effective energy improvement by the commissioner under section 216B.241, subdivision 1d, paragraph (a);
(2) permanent installation of new or upgraded electrical circuits and related equipment to enable electrical vehicle charging; or
(3) a solar voltaic or solar thermal energy system attached to, installed within, or proximate to a building that generates electrical or thermal energy from a renewable energy source that has 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.
"Commercial PACE loan contractor" means a person or entity that installs cost-effective energy improvements financed under a commercial PACE loan program.
"Commercial PACE loan program" means a financing program established under section 216C.436.
"Commissioner" means the commissioner of commerce.
"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.
"Homeowner" means an owner of qualifying residential real property. Homeowner includes all the persons on the deed having a legal interest in the property and all persons on the mortgage or note.
"Implementing entity" means the local government or an authority designated by the local government by resolution to implement and administer programs described in sections 216C.436 and 216C.437. Implementing entity does not include a residential PACE administrator.
"Local government" means a city, county, or town.
"Multifamily residential dwelling" means a residential dwelling containing five or more units intended for use as a residence by tenants or lessees of the owner.
"PACE" means property assessed clean energy.
"Qualifying commercial real property" means a 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.
"Qualifying residential real property" means a single-family residential dwelling, or other residential dwelling of four or fewer units, that the implementing entity has determined 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.
"Residential PACE administrator" means an entity with which the implementing entity contracts to administer all or part of a residential PACE loan program. For purposes of this subdivision, "administer" includes, but is not limited to, the performance of any or all of the following acts, whether directly or through an agent:
(1) marketing, offering, selling, facilitating, or financing, in whole or in part, a residential PACE loan;
(2) facilitating, arranging, or contracting for the installation of the cost-effective energy improvements financed through a residential PACE loan; or
(3) offering any other service to an implementing entity in connection with the offering or provision of a residential PACE loan or operating a residential PACE program.
"Residential PACE loan contract" means the legal agreement for the financing and installation of cost-effective energy improvements under the residential PACE program.
"Residential PACE contractor" means a person or entity that installs cost-effective energy improvements financed, in whole or in part, by a PACE loan.
"Residential PACE lien" means the encumbrance on the qualifying residential real property created by the special assessment as provided in section 216C.437, subdivision 28.
"Residential PACE loan" means the extension of financing that is offered to pay for the installation of cost-effective energy improvements on a homeowner's qualifying residential real property and is repayable by the homeowner through a special assessment as provided under section 216C.437, subdivision 28.
"Residential PACE loan program" means the financing program established under section 216C.437.
"Solar thermal" has the meaning given to "qualifying solar thermal project" in section 216B.2411, subdivision 2, paragraph (e).
"Vulnerable adult" means any person 18 years of age or older who:
(1) receives services from a home care provider required to be licensed under sections 144A.43 to 144A.482, or from a person or organization that offers, provides, or arranges for personal care assistance services under the medical assistance program as authorized under section 256B.0625, subdivision 19a, 256B.0651, 256B.0653, 256B.0654, 256B.0659, or 256B.85;
(2) possesses a physical or mental infirmity or other physical, mental, or emotional dysfunction that impairs the individual's ability to provide adequately for the individual's own care without assistance, including the provision of food, shelter, clothing, health care, or supervision;
(3) possesses a physical or mental infirmity or other physical, mental, or emotional dysfunction that impairs the individual's ability to knowingly contract or otherwise protect the individual's own self-interest; or
(4) identifies as having dementia or Alzheimer's disease, or who exhibits behaviors that a reasonable person would suspect indicates the adult has Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.
An implementing entity may establish a commercial PACE loan program to finance cost-effective energy improvements to enable owners of qualifying commercial real property to pay for the 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 commercial real properties for which a property owner may receive program financing.
Unless otherwise specified, this section applies only to programs established under subdivision 1 that are offered to an owner of qualifying commercial real property.
A commercial PACE loan 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 commercial 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 cost-effective 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 commercial real property prior to, or in conjunction with, an applicant's repayment of financing for cost-effective energy improvements for that property;
(6) have cost-effective energy improvements financed by the program performed by a licensed contractor 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 commercial 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 commercial 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 commercial 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 commercial PACE loan program must include cooperation and coordination with the conservation improvement activities of the utility serving the qualifying commercial real property under section 216B.241 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 commercial 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 and section 216C.437, 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 and section 216C.437, subdivision 28.
(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 and section 216C.437.
(b) For the purposes of this subdivision and section 216C.437, additional or alternative funding sources do not include issuance of general obligation bonds.
This section applies only to programs established under subdivision 2 that are offered to a homeowner.
(a) An implementing entity may establish a residential PACE loan program to finance cost-effective energy improvements to enable homeowners to pay for the cost-effective energy improvements to qualifying residential real property with the net proceeds and interest earnings of revenue bonds authorized in section 216C.436, subdivision 8. The program must serve a public purpose and not primarily be for the benefit of private entities or private investors even though private benefit may result incidentally.
(b) An implementing entity may limit the number of qualifying residential real properties for which a homeowner may receive program financing.
(c) No implementing entity or residential PACE administrator may:
(1) provide, offer, or facilitate financing to a homeowner who is not current on mortgage or real property tax payments; or
(2) permit a homeowner to have more than one residential PACE loan outstanding at a time or a combination of a residential PACE loan and one or more other loan products offered by the administrator or any affiliate or related entity of the administrator.
(d) Upon completion of a project, an implementing entity shall provide a homeowner with a certificate stating participation in the program and identify what cost-effective energy improvements have been made with financing program proceeds.
(a) An implementing entity shall ensure that financing provided under this section has:
(1) a cost-weighted average maturity not exceeding the useful life of the cost-effective energy improvements installed, as determined by the commissioner, but in no event may a term exceed 20 years; and
(2) a principal amount not to exceed:
(i) for a residential PACE loan for energy efficiency improvements only, the lesser of ten percent of the estimated market value of the property on which the improvements are to be installed or the actual cost of installing the cost-effective energy improvements; and
(ii) for a residential PACE loan for a renewable energy system or a combination of a renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvements, the lesser of 20 percent of the estimated market value of the property on which the improvements are to be installed or the actual cost of installing the cost-effective energy improvements.
For the purposes of this clause, the "actual cost of installing cost-effective energy improvements" includes the costs of necessary equipment, materials and labor, and the cost of verification of installation.
(b) The combined debt of existing mortgages, the residential PACE lien, and all other liens on the qualified residential real property may not exceed 90 percent of the estimated market value of the property.
(a) Notwithstanding any statute or ordinance to the contrary, a residential PACE lien shall be:
(1) subordinate to all liens on the qualifying residential real property recorded prior to the time the PACE lien is recorded;
(2) subordinate to a first mortgage on the qualifying property recorded after the PACE lien is recorded; and
(3) superior to any other lien on the qualifying residential real property recorded after the PACE lien is recorded.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, in the event of a foreclosure sale or a sale pursuant to the exercise of a power of sale under a mortgage relating to a qualifying residential real property, the holders of any mortgages or other liens, including delinquent annual assessments secured by PACE liens, shall receive proceeds in accordance with the priorities established under paragraph (a).
(a) An implementing entity or a residential PACE administrator may not enter into a residential PACE loan contract with a homeowner unless the implementing entity or the residential PACE administrator has provided written notice to each of the servicers of any mortgage or other lien on the qualifying residential real property that the homeowner intends to enter into a residential PACE loan contract.
(b) No residential PACE loan may be made unless the implementing entity or the residential PACE administrator obtains written, signed confirmation from the servicer of any mortgage or other lien on the qualifying residential real property that entering into the residential PACE loan contract does not constitute an event of default or give rise to any remedies under the terms of the mortgage loan or other contractual agreement.
(c) A notice of the PACE loan, containing the legal description of the property shall be recorded by the PACE administrator with the county recorder or registrar of titles as appropriate, within 30 days of the first date of funding of the PACE loan.
No residential PACE administrator may operate in this state without first obtaining a license from the commissioner. An administrator applying for a license must provide the following information in a form prescribed by the commissioner:
(1) the full name of each natural person who is a principal of the administrator;
(2) the mailing address, which must not be a post office box, the telephone number, and, if applicable, the e-mail address of the primary office of the administrator and any branch offices in this state;
(3) consent to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state;
(4) the name and address of the registered agent in this state authorized to accept service of process on behalf of the administrator;
(5) disclosure of:
(i) whether any controlling or affiliated party has ever been convicted of a crime or found civilly liable for an offense involving moral turpitude, including forgery, embezzlement, obtaining money under false pretenses, larceny, extortion, conspiracy to defraud, or any other similar offense or violation, or any violation of a federal or state law or regulation relating to any consumer fraud, false advertising, deceptive trade practices, or similar consumer protection law;
(ii) any judgments, private or public litigation, tax liens, written complaints, administrative actions, or investigations by any government agency against the administrator, or against any officer, director, manager, or shareholder of owning more than five percent interest in the administrator, unresolved or otherwise, filed or otherwise commenced within the preceding ten years;
(iii) whether the administrator, or any person employed by the administrator, has had a record of having defaulted in the payment of money collected for others, including the discharge of debts through bankruptcy proceedings; and
(iv) whether authority granted to the administrator to operate in any other state has ever been denied, revoked, or suspended; and
(6) any other information and material as the commissioner may require.
Licenses for residential PACE administrators issued under this chapter expire on December 31 and are renewable on January 1 of each year after that date.
(a) A person whose application is properly and timely filed and who has not received notice of denial of renewal is considered approved for renewal, and the person may continue to transact business as a residential PACE administrator whether or not the renewed license has been received on or before January 1 of the renewal year. An application for renewal of a license is considered timely filed if received by the commissioner by December 15 of the renewal year. An application for renewal is considered properly filed if made upon forms duly executed and sworn to, accompanied by fees prescribed by this chapter, and containing any information that the commissioner requires.
(b) A person who fails to make a timely application for renewal of a license and who has not received the renewal license as of January 1 of the renewal year is unlicensed until the renewal license has been issued by the commissioner and is received by the person.
Application for the renewal of an existing license must contain the request for renewal and any changes to the information specified in subdivision 6.
A licensee ceasing an activity or activities regulated by this chapter and desiring to no longer be licensed shall simultaneously inform the commissioner in writing and surrender the license and all other symbols or indicia of licensure. The licensee shall include a plan for the withdrawal from regulated business, including a timetable for the disposition of the business.
(a) The commissioner has under this section the same powers the commissioner has under section 45.027, including the authority to impose a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per violation.
(b) The commissioner may condition or refuse to renew a license for any of the reasons the commissioner may deny, suspend, or revoke a license.
(c) The commissioner may order restitution against persons subject to this section for violations of this section.
(d) The commissioner may issue orders or directives under this section as follows:
(1) order or direct persons subject to this chapter to cease and desist from conducting business, including immediate temporary orders to cease and desist;
(2) order or direct persons subject to this chapter to cease any harmful activities or violations of this chapter, including immediate temporary orders to cease and desist;
(3) enter immediate temporary orders to cease business under a license if the commissioner determines that the license was erroneously granted or the licensee is currently in violation of this chapter; and
(4) order or direct other affirmative action the commissioner considers necessary.
(e) Each violation or failure to comply with any directive or order of the commissioner is a separate and distinct violation or failure.
The following fees must be paid to the commissioner:
(1) for an initial license, $1,000; and
(2) for a renewal license, $500.
The commissioner shall have the power vested under section 46.04 to conduct financial examinations of licensees. Each residential PACE administrator must keep, and use in licensee's business, any books, accounts, and records, including electronic records, as will enable the commissioner to determine whether the licensee is complying with this section and any rules, orders, and directives adopted by the commissioner under this section. Every licensee must preserve the books, accounts, and records for at least six years after making the final entry on any transaction recorded. Examinations of the books, records, and method of operations conducted under the supervision of the commissioner shall be done at the cost of the licensee. The cost must be assessed as determined under section 46.131.
(a) An applicant for a residential PACE administrator license must file with the department a surety bond in the amount of $100,000, issued by an insurance company authorized to do so in this state. The bond must cover all persons who are employees or agents of the applicant. The bond must be available for the recovery of expenses, fines, and fees levied by the commissioner under this chapter and for losses incurred by homeowners as a result of a licensee's noncompliance with the requirements of this section, sections 325D.43 to 325D.48, 325F.67 to 325F.69, or breach of contract relating to activities regulated by this chapter.
(b) The bond must be submitted with the administrator's license application and evidence of continued coverage must be submitted with each renewal. Any change in the bond must be submitted for approval by the commissioner within ten days of its execution. The bond or a substitute bond shall remain in effect during all periods of licensing.
(c) A licensee shall maintain or increase its surety bond to reflect the total dollar amount of the residential PACE loans made in this state in the preceding year according to the table in this paragraph. A licensee may decrease its surety bond according to the table in this paragraph if the surety bond required is less than the amount of the surety bond on file with the department.
|Dollar Amount of Residential PACE Loans||Surety Bond Required|
|$0 to $5,000,000||$100,000|
|$5,000,000.01 to $10,000,000||$125,000|
|$10,000,000.01 to $25,000,000||$150,000|
Residential PACE administrators shall file reports by March 31 of each year on forms supplied by the commissioner and containing information required by the commissioner.
(a) A residential PACE loan contract must:
(1) be in writing and must be signed by:
(i) the homeowner;
(ii) all other persons on the deed, mortgage, or note having a legal interest in the property;
(iii) the residential PACE contractor; and
(iv) the residential PACE administrator;
(2) contain all the terms and conditions of a residential PACE loan and the installation of cost-effective energy improvements;
(3) be written in English and the primary language of the homeowner:
(i) at the homeowner's request;
(ii) if the residential PACE loan is advertised in that language; or
(iii) if the residential PACE loan contract was described, discussed, or negotiated in that language, regardless of whether the residential PACE loan is advertised in that language;
(4) conspicuously display both the verbatim statement that "[insert name of the residential PACE administrator] is licensed with the Minnesota Department of Commerce" and the license number of the administrator;
(5) conspicuously display both the verbatim statement that "[insert name of the residential PACE contractor] is licensed by [insert name of agency]" and the license number of the contractor;
(6) offer a fixed, simple interest rate;
(7) charge an interest rate that does not exceed the interest rate limit set forth under section 334.01, subdivision 1, unless the residential PACE administrator is otherwise authorized to make loans under section 47.20;
(8) fully amortize the debt obligation;
(9) at any time, permit prepayment of some or all of the residential PACE loan balance; and
(10) include the right to rescind, as provided under subdivision 19.
(b) If a homeowner is requested to provide an electronic signature on the residential PACE loan contract:
(1) the residential PACE contractor and residential PACE administrator must comply with United States Code, title 15, chapter 96; and
(2) the residential PACE contractor or residential PACE administrator shall deliver a paper copy of the residential PACE loan contract to the homeowner no later than five business days following receipt from the homeowner of the electronically signed contract.
(c) A residential PACE loan may not:
(1) result at any time in negative amortization;
(2) charge any interest upon interest or upon fees;
(3) notwithstanding section 429.061, subdivision 1, contain any provision under which the homeowner is prohibited or restricted from making a prepayment or requiring a penalty, fee, premium, or other charge for prepayment of some or all of the residential PACE loan;
(4) contain any provision requiring forced arbitration or restricting class actions; or
(5) be entered into with a contract for deed vendee or vendor for the otherwise qualifying residential real property that is subject to the contract for deed.
(d) It shall be unlawful for a residential PACE administrator or a residential PACE contractor to enter into a residential PACE loan contract financed through a residential PACE loan with a homeowner who the administrator or contractor knew or should have known:
(1) is a vulnerable adult;
(2) is a homeowner who is not sufficiently competent to understand the terms of the loan; or
(3) does not have the ability to repay the loan, as provided under subdivision 17.
(a) No residential PACE loan may be executed by a residential PACE administrator or a residential PACE contractor unless the administrator has first verified the ability of the homeowner to repay the residential PACE loan by:
(1) determining that the ratio of the homeowner's total monthly debt to total monthly income at the time the loan is executed does not exceed 43 percent;
(2) determining that the homeowner has sufficient residual income to meet basic living expenses;
(3) considering whether reductions in income or increases in debt that could adversely impact the ability of the homeowner to repay the residential PACE loan are reasonably anticipated to occur following the execution of the residential PACE loan; and
(4) considering any other factors, including credit reports and credit scores, that indicate that the homeowner may not have the ability to repay the residential PACE loan.
(b) For the purposes of this subdivision:
(1) "total monthly income" means the sum of the homeowner's current or reasonably expected income. Income may not be derived from temporary sources of income, illiquid assets, or proceeds derived from the equity the homeowner has in the qualifying residential real property;
(2) "total monthly debt" means the sum of the homeowner's monthly debt obligations including but not limited to mortgage-related obligations that include all mortgage principal and interest payments; other secured debt; mortgage guaranty insurance; any other insurance; property taxes; preexisting fees and assessments on the property, including the PACE assessment; unsecured debt; alimony; and child support;
(3) "residual income" means the homeowner's remaining income after subtracting the homeowner's total monthly debt obligations from the homeowner's total monthly income;
(4) "basic living expenses" include but are not limited to food and other household necessities; medical expenses, including premiums, co-pays, and the cost of prescriptions and over-the-counter remedies; transportation costs such as fuel, auto insurance, and maintenance; public transit costs; and utility expenses; and
(5) "current or reasonably expected income" includes income from assets and excludes the value of the qualifying residential real property, including any attached real property, that secures the residential PACE loan.
(c) The residential PACE administrator must use only reliable documents and records to verify the homeowner's ability to repay the residential PACE loan. Reliable documents and records include Internal Revenue Service Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) or other similar Internal Revenue Service forms that are used for reporting wages or tax withholding, tax returns, payroll receipts and statements, and financial institution records and statements. A statement by the homeowner to the residential PACE administrator of the homeowner's income is not sufficient to establish the existence of the income or resources when verifying the homeowner's ability to repay the residential PACE loan.
(a) Prior to the execution by the homeowner of a residential PACE contract and prior to the commencement of any installation of any energy improvement, the residential PACE administrator must orally, in a live, recorded telephone conversation with the homeowner:
(1) confirm the key terms of the agreement and the scope of energy improvement work, including, at a minimum, the measures to be installed that are financed by a residential PACE loan, the total estimated annual payment, the date the first tax payment will be due, the interest rate expressed as an annual percentage rate, the term of the loan, and that repayments will be made through the homeowner's property taxes;
(2) verify that the homeowner understands:
(i) the key terms of the agreement;
(ii) that if taxes are escrowed, by how much the escrowed amounts will increase or, if taxes are not escrowed, that the homeowner should consider saving enough money during the year to cover the additional residential PACE assessment;
(iii) that the residential PACE loan becomes a PACE lien on the homeowner's property and will likely need to be paid off when the house is sold;
(iv) the monetary penalty that accompanies a homeowner delinquency or default on property tax payments; and
(v) that the homeowner has the right to rescind a residential PACE loan contract, as provided in subdivision 19; and
(3) communicate that:
(i) energy savings are not guaranteed and the risk that energy savings from the cost-effective energy improvements may not equal or exceed the residential PACE loan payments that will be added to the homeowner's property taxes;
(ii) refinancing a home encumbered by a residential PACE lien will likely be more difficult or impossible;
(iii) selling a home encumbered by a residential PACE lien will likely be more difficult; and
(iv) the homeowner risks tax forfeiture or foreclosure upon default.
(b) At the commencement of the oral confirmation, the administrator must ask if the homeowner would prefer to communicate during the oral confirmation primarily in a language other than English. If the preferred language is supported by the residential PACE administrator, the oral confirmation shall be given in the preferred language, except where the homeowner on the call chooses to communicate through an interpreter chosen by the homeowner. If the preferred language is not supported and an interpreter is not chosen by the homeowner on the call, the administrator shall terminate the call and no residential PACE loan contract may be executed.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (b), the oral confirmation must be conducted in the primary language of the homeowner if the PACE contract was explained, discussed, or negotiated in that language.
(d) A voice mail message does not meet the requirements of this subdivision.
(e) For purposes of this subdivision, "an interpreter chosen by the homeowner" means a person 18 years of age or older who is able to speak fluently and read with full understanding both the English language and the preferred language of the homeowner, and:
(1) who is not employed by the residential PACE administrator or the residential PACE contractor or an affiliate or related entity of the administrator or contractor; or
(2) whose services are not made available through the administrator or the contractor.
(a) A homeowner shall have the right to rescind, without penalty or obligation, a residential PACE loan contract until midnight on the third calendar day following execution of the contract by the homeowner. For the purposes of this subdivision, the rescission period begins at 12:01 a.m. of the day following the day the contract was executed by the homeowner.
(b) The homeowner shall notify the offering party of the rescission by:
(1) mail or other written communications delivered to the offeror's physical address; or
(2) by electronic means if the residential PACE administrator or residential PACE contractor has previously communicated with the homeowner via electronic means. Service by mail is effective upon deposit in the United States mail.
(c) Any payments made by the homeowner in connection with the residential PACE loan or a home improvement contract for cost-effective energy improvements financed with a residential PACE loan must be returned to the homeowner within 20 business days after receipt by the administrator or the contractor by any means of notification of rescission.
(d) When more than one homeowner in a transaction has the right to rescind, the exercise of the right by one consumer shall be effective as to all homeowners.
(a) A residential PACE administrator and a residential PACE contractor shall furnish the buyer with the following rescission notice and form, which must be in a writing separate from the residential PACE loan contract and shall not be considered substantive law under this section:
RESCISSION RIGHT AND FORM
Your right to cancel
You have the right to rescind (cancel) this contract without penalty until midnight on [insert day and date].
To rescind (cancel): Mail or otherwise deliver a signed and dated copy of this form to [insert name of the residential PACE administrator] at [insert physical or, if the residential PACE administrator accepts electronic rescission, the e-mail address of the residential PACE administrator].
You do not have to use this form, but must notify [insert the name of the residential PACE administrator] in writing at the address listed in the previous sentence of your intention to rescind (cancel).
If you rescind (cancel), any payments made by you under this contract will be returned within 20 business days after the residential PACE administrator receives this form.
Notice of Rescission Form
I HEREBY RESCIND (CANCEL) THIS CONTRACT.
|(Print your name)|
|(Sign your name)|
(b) The document containing the rescission right and form must be provided to the homeowner at the time the homeowner executes the residential PACE loan contract.
(c) When a homeowner rescinds a residential PACE loan, the homeowner shall not be liable for any amount, including any finance charge, fees, or other charges.
(a) Without exception and notwithstanding section 326B.805, subdivision 6, cost-effective energy improvements financed through a residential PACE loan must be installed by a residential PACE contractor who is licensed by the commissioner of labor and industry as a residential building contractor or residential remodeler. Mechanical contractors, plumbing contractors, electrical contractors, and technology system contractors properly registered or licensed under chapter 326B may act as subcontractors in order to perform installation of energy improvements that fall completely within the scope of their registration or license.
(b) A residential PACE contractor may not commence work to install cost-effective energy improvements financed with a residential PACE loan prior to the expiration of the rescission period provided under subdivision 19. A residential PACE contractor who violates this paragraph:
(1) is not entitled to compensation for that work;
(2) must restore the property to its original condition at no cost to the homeowner; and
(3) immediately and without condition return all money, property, and other consideration given by the homeowner.
(c) A residential PACE contractor may not charge a homeowner a different price for the cost-effective energy improvements and their installation that the contractor would charge for the same or similar installations that are not financed through a residential PACE loan.
(d) An implementing entity must inspect all installations and conduct a performance verification of at least ten percent of the cost-effective energy improvements financed by the program.
(e) A residential PACE loan program shall 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 cost-effective energy improvements for that property.
A residential PACE loan program must include cooperation and coordination with the conservation improvement activities of the utility serving the qualifying residential real property under section 216B.241 and other public and private energy improvement programs identified by the commissioner or the commissioner's designee.
(a) 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.
(a) No residential PACE administrator or residential PACE contractor may:
(1) in any form of communication, make any statement or implication that is false, unfair, unlawful, deceptive, abusive, or misleading, or make any material omission, regardless of reliance on the statement or omission by the homeowner, in connection with a residential PACE loan or the marketing or offering of cost-effective energy improvements financed through a residential PACE loan;
(2) indicate or imply that the cost-effective energy improvements will pay for themselves or offset or exceed the amount of the residential PACE loan, unless the residential PACE administrator or residential PACE contractor guarantees in writing that the improvements will pay for themselves or offset or exceed the amount of the residential PACE loan, and a provision for sufficient consideration to the homeowner is included in the residential PACE loan contract in the event that the guarantee does not materialize;
(3) indicate or imply that the residential PACE loan is free, a form of public assistance, or a government program;
(4) indicate or imply that the residential PACE loan will be repaid, in whole or in part, by a subsequent homeowner;
(5) engage in any false, deceptive, or misleading advertising, act, or practice;
(6) use an implementing entity's logo, city seal, or other graphic in marketing materials or representations;
(7) steer or otherwise direct a homeowner to a residential PACE loan;
(8) offer or provide any tax advice or information, unless the offeror or provider is a tax expert, provided that a residential PACE administrator or residential PACE contractor may:
(i) indicate to a homeowner that tax benefits may be available to certain homeowners who obtain residential PACE loans; and
(ii) direct the homeowner to seek the advice of an expert regarding tax matters related to the residential PACE loan;
(9) offer or provide direct or indirect monetary payments or any other form of compensation, incentive, kickback, inducement, or any other thing of value to a homeowner to enter into a residential PACE loan;
(10) engage in practices prohibited under section 47.605;
(11) engage in practices prohibited under section 332.37;
(12) engage in practices prohibited under section 326B.84;
(13) enter into any residential PACE loan unless both the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Federal Housing Administration will purchase, refinance, or insure mortgages encumbered by subordinate PACE liens;
(14) violate state or federal do-not-call or telemarketing restrictions or prohibitions; or
(15) violate any other state or federal law or rule.
(b) No residential PACE administrator may:
(1) offer or provide direct or indirect monetary payments or any other form of compensation, incentive, kickback, inducement, or any other thing of value to a residential PACE contractor to offer, favor, or refer a homeowner to a residential PACE loan over other forms of financing or credit; and
(2) disclose or permit disclosure to a residential PACE contractor the amount of PACE loan financing for which a homeowner is eligible.
(a) A residential PACE administrator must comply with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, United States Code, title 50, section 3901, et seq., except that, for the purposes of this section, the rights granted under the act may not be waived.
(b) A residential PACE administrator is subject to section 582.043.
(a) Neither a residential PACE administrator nor a residential PACE contractor may enter into a residential PACE loan contract with a homeowner unless the administrator first screens the homeowner for eligibility for, and, if eligible, refers the homeowner to, the free low-income weatherization assistance program and low-income home energy assistance programs, relevant programs offered by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, relevant programs offered by the electric and gas utility company or companies serving the homeowner, and any other relevant no- or low-cost programs known to the administrator or contractor.
(b) For the purposes of this subdivision:
(1) "low-income" means income qualifying a homeowner for assistance under the low-income home energy assistance program;
(2) "low-income home energy assistance program" has the meaning given under section 256J.08, subdivision 52; and
(3) "low-income weatherization assistance program" means the program described under section 216C.264.
(a) The following verbatim disclosure must be provided to a homeowner on a one-page document, separate from any other, and in 14-point type:
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS LOAN
1. This loan is called a PACE loan. PACE stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy Loan.
2. This is not a typical loan. You pay it back through your property taxes. Property taxes are paid annually or twice a year, not monthly, like most loans.
3. You are putting up your house as a guarantee of repayment (collateral) for this loan. You could lose your house in foreclosure or tax forfeiture if you fall behind or cannot meet the tax payments necessary to repay the loan.
4. This PACE loan will increase your property tax bill by [$ insert annual amount] per year for [insert duration of the loan] years, unless you pay the loan back early.
5. Having a PACE loan on the house will likely make it harder to sell your house because you will have to pay off the PACE loan or reduce the price of the house by the amount of the remaining PACE loan balance.
6. Having a PACE loan on the house will likely make it more difficult to refinance your mortgage or get a loan modification. It may also delay a closing on a sale.
7. To learn about the benefits and risks of a PACE loan, contact the Minnesota Homeownership Center at 651-659-9336 or 866-462-6466 (toll-free) to get the name and location of a local certified housing counseling organization. You might also consider talking to a lawyer.
(b) A residential PACE administrator or a residential PACE contractor shall give the disclosure in paragraph (a) to the homeowner five days prior to the execution by the homeowner of a residential PACE loan contract at the first in-person encounter with the homeowner at which a residential PACE loan or the installation of energy measures to be financed by a residential PACE loan is discussed.
No other disclosures or papers may be proffered with the disclosures and annual statement required under this subdivision. The administrator must ensure that the contact information for the referral provided in the disclosure is up to date.
(c) In addition to the disclosure required under paragraph (a), the residential PACE administrator must provide, before the execution of a PACE loan contract, a disclosure that is approved by the commissioner that includes information specified by the commissioner. The disclosure must include:
(1) the total amount of the assessment;
(2) the annual assessment payments and a payment schedule;
(3) the term of the assessment;
(4) the interest rate and annual percentage rate of the PACE loan, and all applicable fees;
(5) the improvements to be installed;
(6) that no penalty shall be assessed or collected for prepayment of the assessment;
(7) that any potential utility savings are not guaranteed and may not be equal to or greater than the assessment payments or total assessment amount;
(8) that the payments will be added to the homeowner's property tax bill; and
(9) the amount by which escrowed property taxes will increase.
(d) A residential PACE administrator must provide an annual statement of the status of the residential PACE loan, including, at a minimum, the amount paid to date and the remaining balance of the loan.
(e) All legally required and voluntary disclosures made in connection with a residential PACE loan must be provided in the primary language of the homeowner if:
(1) requested by the homeowner;
(2) the residential PACE loan is advertised in that language; or
(3) the residential PACE loan contract was explained, discussed, or negotiated in that language, regardless of whether the residential PACE loan is advertised in that language.
(a) An implementing entity that finances an energy improvement under this section must:
(1) secure payment with a lien against the qualifying real property;
(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;
(3) impose requirements and conditions on financing arrangements to ensure timely repayment;
(4) require a petition to the implementing entity by all homeowners of the qualifying real property requesting collections of repayments as a special assessment under section 429.101;
(5) provide that payments and assessments are not accelerated due to a default and that a tax delinquency for assessments not paid shall be subordinate to all other assessments on the property existing at the time. Payments made by the homeowner for unpaid special charges collected as a special assessment shall first be credited to any outstanding charge under section 429.021, subdivision 1, clauses (1) to (20), before applying any payment to unpaid special charges collected as a special assessment imposed under this section; and
(6) require that liability for special assessments related to the financing runs with the qualifying real property.
(b) 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 section 216C.436, subdivision 8, and shall transfer all collections of the assessments upon receipt to the authority.
(c) All residential PACE administrators must develop, offer, and implement binding residential PACE loan forbearance, modification, and forgiveness mechanisms for homeowners of residential real property who are facing economic hardship. The mechanisms may not result in an increase in monthly payments and must restructure or forgive debt in cases of permanent hardship, including loss of income due to death or disability.
A homeowner may prepay a residential PACE loan, in whole or in part, at any time or from time to time without penalty or premium by paying the principal amount to be prepaid together with accrued interest to the date of prepayment.
A homeowner or subsequent homeowner of, a successor in interest to, or any person obligated to pay the property taxes on qualifying residential real property encumbered by a PACE lien may assert all claims and defenses against a subsequent residential PACE administrator that the homeowner who originally entered into the residential PACE loan could assert against the original residential PACE administrator or servicer of a residential PACE loan.
(a) Residential PACE administrators, residential PACE contractors, subcontractors of the residential PACE contractor, and agents thereof shall act in good faith toward and in the best interests of the homeowners.
(b) For the purposes of this section, a residential PACE contractor, a subcontractor of the residential PACE contractor, and any other agent of the contractor is an agent of a residential PACE administrator. The performance of any act related to a residential PACE loan contract by a residential PACE contractor, a subcontractor of the residential PACE contractor, or any agent of the contractor is considered an act of the administrator, provided the act was within the contractual scope work.
(a) Any homeowner aggrieved by a person or entity violating this section is entitled in an action to:
(1) actual, incidental, and consequential damages;
(2) statutory damages of either:
(i) $5,000; or
(ii) $10,000 if the defendant violated subdivision 17 or 24, paragraph (a), clause (1);
(3) reasonable attorney fees; and
(4) investigative and court costs.
(b) A homeowner of qualified residential real property who is a vulnerable adult is entitled, in addition to any other relief available under this section, to the civil relief available under section 626.557, subdivision 20, if the homeowner prevails in any claim that the defendant:
(1) did not possess a license as required under subdivision 6; and
(2) violated subdivision 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, or 31.
(c) The remedies provided under this subdivision are cumulative, not exclusive, and do not restrict any remedy that is otherwise available to a homeowner at law or in equity.
The parties to a residential PACE loan contract may not waive any of the rights or requirements set forth or any provision contained in this section. Any waiver of any right, requirement, or provision in a residential PACE loan contract or home improvement contract for cost-effective energy improvements financed with a residential PACE loan is void and unenforceable as contrary to public policy.
Propane producers and propane retail marketers, as defined by United States Code, title 15, section 6402, may form a propane education and research council for the purpose of establishing, supporting, or conducting research, training, and education programs concerning the safe and efficient use of propane.
Organization and membership of the council shall be in compliance with United States Code, title 15, sections 6403, subsections (a) and (b), and 6404, subsection (c), and must abide by the requirements of United States Code, title 15, section 6409. The council is established upon certification by the commissioner of public safety that the council has been organized in compliance with United States Code, title 15, sections 6403, subsections (a) and (b), and 6404, subsection (c).
A propane education and research council, established and certified pursuant to subdivision 2, may assess propane producers and retail marketers an amount not to exceed the maximum assessment authorized in United States Code, title 15, section 6405(a), per gallon of odorized propane in a manner established by the council in compliance with United States Code, title 15, section 6405, subsections (a) to (c). Propane producers and retail marketers shall be responsible for the amounts assessed.
A propane education and research council collecting assessments pursuant to subdivision 3 shall annually report to the commissioner of public safety, detailing collections and expenditures made pursuant to this section.
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