Minnesota governor announces goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050

Minnesota governor announces goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050
© Greg Nash

Minnesota Gov. Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzGun debate back in focus for states after mass shootings Minnesota program will pay homeowners to transform lawns into bee gardens as species inches closer to extinction Minnesota governor signs law making marital rape illegal MORE (D) on Monday introduced a proposal that would require the state's electricity providers to shift to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. 

“The new policies will ensure reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity in Minnesota," Walz said, according to the Star Tribune. “They’ll also give the state a cleaner, healthier environment and a strong clean energy economy.”

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State lawmakers in Minnesota recently introduced a similar measure that would mandate companies to reach a series of benchmarks before relying solely on clean energy. But Walz's proposal is different in that it would require companies to reach clean energy by 2050 but not certain benchmarks beforehand. 

Walz is optimistic that electrical providers can achieve the goal, the Star Tribune noted. 

The newspaper added that Minnesota's largest energy provider, Xcel Energy, has already committed to relying solely on clean energy by the date. The company did, however, raise concerns about state lawmakers' proposal in a hearing last month. 

Under the legislators' bill, Xcel would be required to go carbon-free by 2045. Walz's proposal does not include that stipulation. 

State Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R) voiced concern about what he called an "extreme" proposal from the governor. 

“Governor Walz’s extreme energy proposals would cause Minnesotans’ energy bills to skyrocket, force the closure of reliable and cost-effective power plants, and puts Minnesota all-in on technology that simply cannot provide the reliable power you need to keep the lights on and heat your home in the winter,” said Swedzinski, the Republican leader on the House Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Division Committee, according to the Star Tribune. 

The proposal from Walz comes as Democrats around the nation call for more urgent action to combat climate change. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Green New Deal resolution last month calling for sweeping reforms in order to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. 

The non-binding legislation has been hailed by progressives. But conservatives have decried it, citing its high costs.