Governor Mark Dayton has called for the elimination of coal as a source of energy in Minnesota. Doing so is, clearly, essential. Having a governor call for it is a new thing; we are only seeing this sort of policy being developed recently.
From MPR News, Dayton said to a group of energy policy ad business leaders:
"Tell us what a timeline would look like, what has to happen for that timeline to be met and what kind of incentives or inducements do we need to provide to make that happen," ...
Dayton's comments came during the state's first-ever Clean Energy Economy Summit. He said converting coal plants to users of natural gas should continue, along with investments in renewable energy.
Only 46% of the state's electricity is currently generated by coal, and alternative energy sources have been growing in their contribution. Over 14,000 Minnesotans are employed in the clean energy business, much of that in the area of energy efficiency.
Refocusing on clean energy is good business sense.
David Mortenson, president of Mortenson Construction, said his company and others are embracing renewable energy as a cost-competitive solution. He said the cost of wind and solar has dropped while coal and natural gas markets become increasingly volatile.
"And when you can guarantee the price of delivering a kilowatt 20 years from today, because that's what you can do with solar and wind, you have a competitive advantage because coal, natural gas, they can't tell you want the cost to produce power in six months will be," he said
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Some interesting information on Minnesota's energy policies, and this:
"Minnesota has enjoyed some lucky breaks, notably a fleeting bipartisan moment in 2007 when the Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty proposed far-reaching energy overhauls — including the renewable energy and carbon-emissions standards — that legislators in both parties readily voted into law.
Good news for once!
The arguement for renewables based on volatility of fossil fuel prices is a good one. But this is the first I've heard of volatility of coal prices. One would expect that as coal becomes less and less welcome as an energy source, its price would decrease in an attempt to find buyers. If this is not occurring, then we can rejoice that market forces are helping spell the end of coal as an energy source.