Governor Walz Signs Bipartisan Energy Legislation, ECO Act

Source: RL Martin

On May 26, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed the Energy Conservation and Optimization Act of 2021, which will strengthen Minnesota’s energy conservation programs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs throughout the state.

The ECO Act updates and expands Minnesota’s Conservation Improvement Program; a utility-administered program with oversight by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which houses the Minnesota State Energy Office . CIP will further help Minnesotans conserve energy and reduce emissions by more efficiently using electricity and natural gas. Important changes to the program include allowing the inclusion of load management and efficient fuel switching programs, expanding eligibility for low-income households, doubling the low-income spending requirement, and requiring utilities to include improvements for public schools in their plans, increasing conservation goals for electric investor-owned utilities, and providing greater planning flexibility for cooperative and municipal utilities in meeting their conservation requirements.

"The ECO Act represents bipartisan work and the culmination of three years of intense work with many stakeholders from across the state, including big and small utility companies, clean energy and consumer advocates, and trade unions," said Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Grace Arnold. "We know from Commerce's experience administering the Conservation Improvement Program that conservation has saved $6 billion in net benefits. In one year, CIP reduced 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to emissions of 350,000 vehicles. ECO will deliver even more dollars in savings for Minnesotans."

For more information on the Conservation Improvement Program, click here.