Minnesota Governor Creates Office of Energy Security, Announces Energy Initiatives

January 21, 2008

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed an executive order on January 17 creating the Minnesota Office of Energy Security within the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which serves as the state's energy office. Pawlenty also signed an executive order creating a collaborative that will guide the state in meeting its renewable energy goals. He also proposed two initiatives that will require approval by the legislature — one that will plan for carbon credit trading and another to assist homeowners, farmers, and businesses in implementing small-scale renewable energy generation.

The Office of Energy Security will give the public easier access to energy information and technical assistance. The new office will be housed in and receive administrative support from the Department of Commerce, a change which Pawlenty says will incur no fiscal impact.

The governor appointed Commerce Department Deputy Commissioner Edward Garvey as director of the new office. Garvey is tasked with coordinating energy and climate issues throughout the administration.

The governor also created the Clean Energy Technology Collaborative (CETC) by executive order. This group of 15 members appointed by the governor will develop a Clean Energy Technology Roadmap to guide research and development. The roadmap will include a plan and milestones to help ensure Minnesota achieves its clean energy goals.

Among those goals are the 25 x '25 renewable energy standard that requires 25 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2025.

CETC members will include scientists from industry and academia. The Director of the Office of Energy Security and Commissioners of Agriculture, Employment and Economic Development, and the Pollution Control Agency will serve as ex officio members.

Pawlenty is also proposing two initiatives to the state legislature.

One of those initiatives is creation of the Carbon Market Planning Authority (CMPA) within the new Office of Energy Security. The CMPA would help plan for and foster opportunities created by the anticipated production of carbon credits. Such credits could be sold in developing regional, national, or global carbon trading programs.

"While it’s still too early to know exactly how the carbon credit market will develop, it’s not too early to prepare for the emergence of markets," Pawlenty said.

CMPA would be chaired by the Director of the Office of Energy Security and include six at-large members appointed by the governor, along with the Commissioners of the Pollution Control Agency, Employment and Economic Development, Finance, and Agriculture.

The second initiative the governor is proposing is the Minnesota Local Renewable Energy Initiative. Its goal is to assist homeowners, small businesses, farmers, and community institutions in utilizing solar, wind, and geothermal sources. The initiative would enable "micro-energy" technologies, such as solar collectors for hot water and electricity, small windmills, geothermal heating and cooling, and anaerobic gas digesters. The state would provide funding through revenue bonds for long-term, low-interest loans.

"Minnesotans want to play a greater role in the ownership and production of the energy they use in their homes, farms and small businesses," Governor Pawlenty said. "This effort will promote energy independence while providing local jobs and strengthening our economy."

For more information, see the governor's January 17 press release.

To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Minnesota, see: