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S.F. No. 2989 - Energy Assurance and Emergency Conservation Plan Establishment; Petroleum End User Program Authorization; Energy Auditor Standards and Modifications
Author: Senator John Marty
Prepared By: Carlon D. Fontaine, Senate Counsel (651/296-4395)
Stephanie James, Senate Counsel (651/296-0103)
Date: March 31, 2016


SF No. 2989 repeals the current Emergency Energy Conservation and Allocation Plan and establishes an Energy Assurance and Emergency Energy Conservation Plan.

Section 1 [Energy assurance and emergency conservation plan]

Subdivision 1 [Plan requirements] requires the commissioner of commerce to develop a plan that outlines the state’s energy risks, establishes priorities for long-term preparedness, and establishes response protocols in the event of an energy supply emergency. Requires the plan to be updated at least every five years. Requires certain revisions to the plan to be made through rulemaking.

Subdivision 2 [Long-term preparedness] lists preparedness goals, including reducing energy demand and increasing the utilization of Minnesota energy sources.

Subdivision 3 [Emergency energy conservation protocols] requires the commissioner of commerce to establish protocols for responding to an energy supply emergency.  The guidelines must be consistent with the state's emergency management laws, the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan, the Minnesota All-Hazard Mitigation Plan, and guidelines issued by the National Association of State Energy Officials.

Subdivision 4 [Emergency energy allocation protocols] requires the commissioner of commerce to establish guidelines to allocate energy supplies to critical facilities and priority users during an energy emergency. Requires facilities requesting emergency allocations to have developed their own emergency conservation plan.

Subdivision 5 [Declaration of energy supply emergency] authorizes the Governor or Executive Council to declare an energy supply emergency.  Specifies the criteria for a declaration of an energy supply emergency.  Authorizes the Executive Council to terminate an emergency.

Section 2 [Purpose] narrows the purpose of the state petroleum set-aside program to apply to prolonged petroleum shortages and dislocations.

Section 3 [Establishment] narrows commissioner of commerce's authority under the set-aside system for gasoline and middle distillates to apply only during a prolonged petroleum shortage and supply dislocation.

Section 4 [Petroleum end user program] authorizes the commissioner of commerce to implement a program to allocate  certain fuels during a supply emergency. Provides definitions. Authorizes the commissioner to certify priority end users. Authorizes the commissioner to order suppliers of gasoline, middle distillates, and propane to supply these fuels to certified priority end users. Establishes a process to appeal decisions of the commissioner as to certification and supply requirements.

Section 5 [Energy audit programs] allows the commissioner to approve programs for energy auditors.

Section 6 [Cost-effective energy improvements] modifies the definition of cost-effective energy improvements calculations.

Sections 7, 9, and 10 add a definition for “qualified professional” and standardize references to “qualified professional” for purposes of energy audits.

Section 8 [Energy improvement] adds installation of infrastructure, machinery, and appliances that will allow natural gas to be used as a heating fuel to the definition of “energy improvement.”

Sections 11 and 12 make technical modifications to the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program to reflect current implementation and requirements of the program more accurately.

Section 13 [Large electric power generating plant] specifies that a solar energy generating system of 10 MW or greater is defined as a “large electric power generating plant” under this chapter, which governs the Public Utilities Commission’s issuance of project site permits.

Section 14 [Solar energy system size determination] specifies that an application to a county for a site permit for a solar energy generating system with a capacity of 1 MW or greater must have undergone a size determination under this section.

Section 15 [Application] specifies that an applicant for a site permit for a solar energy generating system must propose only one site, not two or more, as other large electric generating projects are required to do.

Section 16 [Applicable projects] prohibits solar energy generating systems from seeking approval to construct projects from local units of government.

Section 17 [Solar facility permit authority; assumption by counties] adds a new section of law, Minnesota Statutes, section 216E.055, allowing a county to assume responsibility for processing applications for solar energy generating systems up to 25 MW, provided that it is authorized by the county board and notice is given to the Public Utilities Commission. Allows a county electing to do so to approve, revoke, or set conditions upon site permits. Requires the commission to, by order, establish general permit standards for solar energy generating systems that apply to permits issued by a county. Allows counties, by resolution, to adopt more stringent standards than the commission’s, and those more stringent standards must be applied by the commission unless it finds good cause not to do so. Requires the PUC and the commissioner of commerce to provide technical assistance to counties with respect to processing site permit applications.

Section 18 [Repealer] repeals section 216C.15, which governs the state’s existing emergency energy conservation and allocation plan.


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