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Minnesota legisletion

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Four wind demonstration projects would be funded to the tune of $1 million total under powerful wind legislation being introduced in the Minnesota state senate. Under the law, wind would become the most preferred energy source, along with solar. The legislation, considered a long-shot to be passed this session, was introduced in early March.

The draft bill, unveiled by long-time wind backer Sen Janet Johnson in early February, lists conservation as the highest priority in the mid-western state, and coal and nuclear as the lowest. Wind and solar get top bidding. The demonstration projects, funded to a maximum of $250,000 each, would be built at post-secondary schools and colleges, says John Dunlop, American Wind Energy Association representative for the region. The training of windsmiths would be undertaken at the institutions and earnings reinvested in the schools, he says. The bill would also boost small wind grid-connected systems by providing net billing for preferred sources up to 80 kW in capacity. In addition, it would require a utility to pay 90% of its average retail rate for wind and solar equipment between 80 kW and 500 kW in size.

Johnson says the bill would remedy the fact that Minnesota is not properly moving towards its stated goal of energy efficiency and renewables. She also says present consumers should pay the cost of the energy they consume, including pollution and waste of power.

A second bill, which includes provision for a $6/ton assessment on carbon contained in coal, natural gas, waste to energy and non-exempt liquid fuels, is being reintroduced this session, which started February 22. The Sustainable Energy Transition Act was first introduced by Sen Steve Morse.

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