May 28, 2021
A rare bipartisan bill aims to help Minnesota lower emissions while offering significant savings for low-income families, including many people of color.
Governor Tim Walz signed the Energy Conservation and Optimization (ECO) Act into law May 25. The bill modernizes the state’s Conservation Improvement Program, a long-term energy- efficiency policy that experts say has saved Minnesotans billions of dollars while avoiding millions of tons in carbon emissions since it began in the 1980s.
The bill increases the amount investor-owned utilities, like Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power, and municipal providers are required to spend on programs benefiting low-income customers. It increases annual energy savings goals for utilities across the state. And it implements a pathway for residents to switch fuel sources from natural gas to electricity, which increasingly comes from renewable energy like wind and solar.
“It’s better for the environment but it’s also better for their bank accounts,” Minnesota Commerce Department Commissioner Grace Arnold told Sahan Journal.
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