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   Senate   
State of Minnesota
 
 
 
 
 
H.F. No. 2208 - Omnibus Jobs, Economic Development, Commerce, and Energy Bill (First Unofficial Engrossment)
 
Author: Senator Eric R. Pratt
 
Prepared By: Carlon D. Fontaine, Senate Counsel (651/296-4395)
 
Date: May 1, 2019



 

Article 1 - Appropriations

,Section 1.  Jobs and economic development appropriations.  Specifies definitions of fiscal years.

Section 2.  Department of Employment and Economic Development.  Provides appropriations for the Department of Employment and Economic Development. See spreadsheet for details.

Section 3.  Department of Labor and Industry. Provides appropriations for the Department of Labor and Industry. See spreadsheet for details.

Section 4.  Bureau of Mediation Services.  Provides appropriations for the Bureau of Mediation Services.  See spreadsheet for details.

Section 5.  Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals.  Provides appropriations for the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals.  See spreadsheet for details.

Section 6.  Department of Commerce. Provides appropriations to the Department of Commerce. See spreadsheet for details.

Section 7.  Public Utilities Commission.  Provides appropriations for the Public Utilities Commission. See spreadsheet for details.

Section 8. Reduction in appropriations for unfilled positions. Requires the commissioner of management and budget to reduce general fund and non-general fund appropriations to the Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Department of Labor and Industry as a result of unfilled positions. Requires the commissioner to report to the legislature on the amount of reductions.

Article 2 - Jobs Policy

Section 1. Monitoring pass-through grant recipients. Reduces the amount that the commissioner may retain for administrative costs for monitoring programs funded by legislative appropriations and administered by the department on a pass-through basis from five percent to two percent.

Section 2.  Airport infrastructure renewal (AIR) grant program. Establishes a grant program to be administered by the commissioner of employment and economic development (DEED) for grants to counties, airport authorities, or cities to provide up to 50 percent of the capital costs of redevelopment of an existing facility or construction of a new facility; and for public or private infrastructure costs, including broadband infrastructure costs, necessary for an eligible airport infrastructure renewal economic development project. Allows grants to be for manufacturing, technology, warehousing and distribution, or research and development projects. Prohibits grants for retail or office space development, except as incidental to an eligible purpose. Specifies that the maximum grant amount is $250,000 in two years for one or more projects. This is from S.F. 2163 (Jasinski).

Section 3. Inventory of workforce development programs. Requires DEED to provide an inventory of all workforce development programs provided by or overseen by any state agency. Provides the elements that must be included in the report. Specifies that a program is ineligible to receive state funding in the following biennium if the organization does not submit the required information.

Section 4. Meetings by telephone or other electronic means.  Authorizes port authorities to conduct meetings by telephone or other electronic means.

Section 5. TERO extension. Provides an extension of an appropriation to the Bois Forte Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) for a pilot project until June 30, 2019. This is from S.F. 384 (Bakk).

Section 6. Onetime exception to restrictions on use of Minnesota investment fund local government loan repayment funds. Allows a onetime exception to the restrictions on use of Minnesota investment funds (MIF) for a home rule charter or statutory city, county, or town that has uncommitted money received from repayment of awarded MIF funds. Provides that if the local government transfers 20 percent of the balance of the money to the general fund before June 30, 2020, the local government may use the remaining funds for any lawful expenditure. A similar exception was allowed for MIF in 2017. Requires a report on the use of funds. This is from S.F. 1815 (Pratt).

Section 7.  Repealer.  Repeals the specific authorization for the St. Paul Port Authority to conduct meetings by telephone or other means because section 4 would now authorize all port authorities to conduct meetings via telephone or other electronic means.

Article 3 - Labor and Industry Policy

Section 1.  Retainage.  Current law permits a public contracting agency to reserve up to five percent from any progress payment to a contractor on a contract for a public improvement.  This withheld amount is "retainage."  Under current law, the agency may hold the retainage until work is complete.  Section 1 proposes new requirements and prohibitions on public construction contracts related to retainage, including the following:

Paragraph (b) requires, for construction contracts over $5,000,000, the public contracting agency to reduce retainage to no more than 2.5 percent if the work is 75 percent or more complete and contract requirements are being met.

Paragraph (c) requires a contracting agency to release any remaining retainage no later than 60 days after substantial completion.

Paragraph (d) requires a contractor to pay out any remaining retainage to its subcontractors no later than ten days after receiving retainage from the public contracting agency, unless there is a dispute about the subcontracted work. If there is a dispute, the contractor must pay out retainage to a subcontractor not involved in the dispute, and provide a written statement about the reason for the withholding to the affected subcontractor and the public agency.

Paragraph (e) prohibits a contractor from reserving retainage from a subcontractor in excess of the amount allowed to be reserved by the public contracting agency. Requires a public contracting agency, upon written request, to notify a subcontractor about a progress payment, retainage payment, or final payment made to the contractor. Requires a contractor to include public contracting agency contact information in any contract with a subcontractor.

Paragraph (f) specifies that after substantial completion of a project, a public contracting agency may withhold no more than: (1) 250 percent of the value of incomplete or defective work; and (2) one percent of the value of the contract or $500, whichever is greater, not to exceed $10,000, pending submission of all final paperwork by a contractor. Requires written notification of any basis for withholding to the contractor and any requesting subcontractor. Requires any amounts withheld for incomplete or defective to be paid within 45 days after the completion of the work.

Paragraph (g) provides a definition of “substantial completion.”

Paragraph (h) provides that the maximum retainage percentage allowed is the retainage percentage withheld by the public contracting agency from the contractor.

Paragraph (i) prohibits withholding retainage for warranties or warranty work.

Effective date. Provides that the section applies to agreements entered into on or after August 1, 2019.

Sections 1 and 5 are from S.F. 947 (Rarick).

Sections 2 and 3. Youth skills training. Modifies the youth skills training program. Specifies that grant awards may not exceed $100,000 per local partnership grant. This is from S.F. 1265 (Anderson, P.)

Section 4. Residential building contractor, remodeler, and roofer education. Requires residential building contractors, remodelers, and roofers to obtain one hour of business management education applicable to the construction business during each continuing education reporting period. This is from S.F. 2182 (Howe).

Section 5.  Progress payments and retainage.  Adds similar requirements as in section 1 pertaining to use of retainage in other building and construction contracts.  This existing section of law also caps the amount that can be held back at five percent. The amendment proposes new requirements and prohibitions on construction contracts related to retainage, including the following:

Paragraph (b) requires, for construction contracts over $5,000,000, the owner or agent to reduce retainage to no more than 2.5 percent if the work is 75 percent or more complete and contract requirements are being met.

Paragraph (c) requires the owner or agent to release any remaining retainage no later than 60 days after substantial completion. Provides a definition of “substantial completion.”

Paragraph (d) requires an owner or agent to reduce the retainage at the same rate reduced by the owner or agent and pay out any remaining retainage to its subcontractors no later than ten days after receiving retainage from the owner or agent, unless there is a dispute about the subcontracted work. If there is a dispute, the contractor must pay out retainage to a subcontractor not involved in the dispute.

Paragraph (e) specifies that after substantial completion of a project, an owner or agent may withhold no more than: (1) 250 percent of the value of incomplete or defective work; and (2) one percent of the value of the contract or $500, whichever is greater, not to exceed $10,000, pending submission of all final paperwork by a contractor. Requires written notification of any basis for withholding to the contractor and any requesting subcontractor. Requires any amounts withheld for incomplete or defective to be paid within 45 days after the completion of the work.

Paragraph (f) provides that the maximum retainage percentage allowed is the retainage percentage withheld by the public contracting agency from the contractor.

Paragraph (g) prohibits withholding retainage for warranties or warranty work.

Paragraph (h) prohibits retainage from being used as collateral.

Paragraph (i) clarifies that the provisions of this section do not apply to public contracts where a public agency has entered into a contract for improvements to public property.

Effective date. Provides that the section applies to agreements entered into on or after August 1, 2019.

Sections 6 to 8. Combative sports. Reduces certain fees for combative sports licenses and eliminates licensing requirements for combative sports managers and ring announcers.

Section 9. Contractor recovery fund; consumer awareness campaign. Allows the commissioner of labor and industry to spend up to an unspecified amount from the contractor recovery fund for a statewide consumer awareness campaign to highlight the importance of hiring licensed contractors instead of unlicensed contractors. This is from S.F. 2339 (Howe).

Article 4 - Employment Policy

Section 1.  Employee.  Amends the definition of “employee” for purposes of minimum wage and overtime requirements, to exclude individuals employed on a seasonal basis under contract to play minor league baseball. This change would make the law consistent with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which was amended in 2018 to provide for the exclusion, as well as St. Paul’s Minimum Wage Ordinance, which exempts employers in St. Paul from paying minimum wage to baseball players if the player is under contract and on the team roster. This is from S.F. 1526 (Goggin).

Section 2.  Examination of records.  In addition to requiring that there may be a potential violation of a Minnesota law, order, or rule, specifies that an employee making a wage claim or complaint provides a written demand for payment to the employer at least five days prior to the commissioner of labor and industry initiating an investigation.

Section 3. Misdemeanors. Provides that an employer who commits wage theft is guilty of a misdemeanor. Specifies that an employer who commits wage theft after previously being convicted of committing wage theft is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. Provides that prosecutions and punishment for conduct that constitutes other crimes are not precluded.  Applies to crimes committed on or after August 1, 2019.

Section 4. Information provided to employee by employer. Changes the requirement that certain notices to employees must be in the employee’s “native language” to a requirement that the notice be in a language the “employee speaks fluently,” if requested by the employee. Allows translation or interpretation of the information required to be provided through telephone or Internet services.

Section 5.  Prohibited practices.  Provides a definition of wage theft. Specifies that there must be intent to commit wage theft. Includes failure to pay all wages to which an employee was entitled and retaliation against an employee for asserting rights under the section to the prohibited practices that constitute wage theft.

Section 6.  Enforcement.  Gives enforcement authority over section 181.03 to the commissioner of labor and industry.

Section 7.  Effect on other laws.  Provides that section 181.03 should not be construed to limit application of federal or other state laws. Sections 3 and 5 to 7 are from S.F. 1816 (Pratt).

Section 8. Recruiting; required disclosure. Changes the requirement that certain notices to workers being recruited into the food processing industry be read aloud upon request by the employee if the employee cannot read the disclosure. Allows translation or interpretation of the information required to be provided through telephone or Internet services.

Section 9. Express preemption; uniformity of private employer mandates.   

Subdivision 1.  Definitions.  Provides definitions of “employer” and “local government.”

Subdivision 2. Express preemption. Prohibits local governments from adopting or enforcing four types of regulations: (1) a minimum wage higher than the state minimum wage; (2) a requirement that a private employer provide paid or unpaid leave; (3) a regulation relating private employee work hours or scheduling; and (4) a requirement that a private employer provide particular benefits or terms of employment.

Subdivision 3. Local governments as employers and contractors. Clarifies that the section does not prohibit local governments from regulating wages, hours, paid or unpaid leave, attendance policies, or other terms of employment for: (1) its own employees; (2) an employer providing goods or services to the local government and applicable for the work performed to the local government; or (3) an employer for which the local government provides financial assistance.

Effective date. Provides an effective date for the act of the day following final enactment and makes the prohibition applicable to local government policies enacted on or after January 1, 2017. This is from S.F. 2321 (Koran).

Article 5 - Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council Recommendations

Section 1. Filing and review. Provides that the department of labor and industry is not required to approve entry of a new employer into the Union Construction Workers’ Compensation Program (UCWCP), which is a program for a group of employers and unions who have bargained for certain obligations and procedures relating to workers’ compensation. Under the proposal, the employer need only notify the department within 30 days of joining or leaving the UCWCP. Requires the UCWCP to submit claim-specific dispute resolution data, rather than aggregate group data, to the department.

Section 2. Time limitation. Requires insurers and self-insured employers to report whether a claim is covered by the UWCWP at the same time that they submit a first report of injury to the department of labor and industry. Both sections 1 and 2 are from S.F. 2378 (Utke) and were approved by the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council.

Article 6 - Commerce

Section 1 adds fees from money transmitters and mortgage loan originators to the financial institutions account.

Section 2 limits assessments for examinations for financial institutions for a fiscal period from exceeding 100 percent of the assessments levied for a preceding fiscal year.

Article 7 – Real Estate Appraiser Regulations

Sections 1, 2, and 4 are technical updates.

Section 3 authorizes per diem compensation for members of the Real Estate Appraisal Advisory Board under section 15.059.

Section 5 provides that the requirements to obtain specified appraiser licenses are those of the Appraiser Qualifications Board of the Appraisal Foundation.

Section 6 denotes the scope of practice for a trainee real property appraiser.

Section 7 removes language related to a federally-related transaction for purposes of qualifying for a license for temporary practice.

Section 8 is a conforming change.

Section 9 removes an obligation to disclose whether the appraiser has previously been to the property.

Section 10 deletes references to performance of limited appraisal for classification of services.

Section 11 repeals current real estate appraiser statutes that relate to subjects otherwise addressed in this bill.

Section 12 makes the article effective January 1, 2020.

Article 8 - Energy Policy

Section 1Solar energy incentive program. Changes the type of current allowed when calculating the aggregate nameplate capacity from “direct” to “alternating” current.

Section 2. Construction work in progress. Address costs related to any new nuclear generating plant constructed after June 1, 2019. Prohibits costs associated with owning, operating, maintaining, or financing the plant from approval by the Public Utilities Commission or from being recovered from customers, either in rate base or through any other means, before it is fully operational and used for service.

Section 3.  Community solar gardens.  Modifies the statute governing community solar gardens, which was enacted in 2013, by making the following changes:

Paragraph (a) requires the public utility subject to the statute (Xcel Energy) to file a new community solar garden plan for approval by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) by September 30, 2019. After the new plan is approved by the PUC, the previous program would cease operations. A community solar garden application deemed complete under the prior program would continue to operate under the parameters of the previous program. The public utility would review qualified community solar garden proposals yearly. The public utility is allowed to submit qualified proposals to the program.

Paragraph (b) requires the public utility to make recommendations to the PUC, which makes the final selection of the proposals the public utility must accept. The qualified proposals with the lowest cost to the public utility's customers must be selected. The total nameplate capacity for qualified proposals selected is capped at 25 megawatts per year.

Paragraph (c) maintains the maximum amount for any one community solar garden at one megawatt, but requires the nameplate capacity of the community solar garden to be combined with the nameplate capacity of any other community solar garden that: (1) is constructed within the same 12-month period as the community solar garden; and (2) exhibits characteristics indicating a single development with the community solar garden, such as ownership structure, shared interconnection, revenue sharing arrangements, and common debt or equity financing.

Paragraph (e) eliminates the value of solar method of calculating the rate paid for energy from a community solar garden and instead allows a rate to be proposed by the public utility in their plan submitted to the PUC. Prohibits the PUC from increasing the rate from the amount contained in the proposal. Deletes a reference to the Made in Minnesota solar incentive program, which was repealed in 2017.

Paragraph (f) lists additional elements to be included with any community solar garden plans approved by the PUC. The additional elements include:

  • certification that estimates of the annual generation of electricity by the community solar garden and the length of time to fully recover a subscriber’s initial lump-sum payments are contained in promotional materials. Requires the estimates to be provided to prospective subscribers at least 15 days prior to the date a contract is entered into by the subscriber and the community solar garden owner;
  • certification that the utility and the solar garden owner submit copies of marketing and promotional material and sample contracts to the PUC;
  • certification that the solar garden owner has placed sufficient financial resources into an escrow account to reimburse subscribers for financial losses incurred if the project fails;
  • requiring a mechanism for subscribers to transfer subscriptions to other new or current subscribers, or to cancel subscriptions for a full refund;
  • requiring a solar garden owner and the utility purchasing electricity generated by the solar garden to forward customer complaints to the PUC;
  • requiring that the contract between a subscriber and the solar garden owner contains a warranty for a minimum level of electricity to be delivered to the subscriber from the community garden; and
  • reflecting the PUC's determination that the plan is financially viable; and the contract between a subscriber and the solar garden owner is fair, reasonable, and not discriminatory.

Paragraph (i) requires a community solar garden subscriber checklist to be developed.

Paragraph (j) requires community solar garden developers to submit a registration form to the PUC.

Paragraph (k) provides a definition of "qualified proposal" for purposes of the community solar garden program approved by the PUC. A qualified proposal must: (i) provide evidence the proposer is able to construct, own, and operate the community solar garden for its proposed life; (ii) deliver at least 60 percent of the energy generated by the community solar garden facility to residential customers; (iii) include a plan to seek low-income residential customers; (iv) provide a firm rate that customers of the public utility must pay for energy from the community solar garden; and (v) describe the benefits the community solar garden provides.

Paragraphs (l and m) require the PUC, by July 30, 2019, to develop a formula to estimate the annual amount of electricity generated by a solar garden and another formula to estimate the length of time required to fully recover a subscriber's up front lump-sum payments.

[Effective date] makes the changes applicable to any plan submitted to the PUC for approval on or after the effective date. Section 3 comes from S.F. 1193 (Osmek) and S.F. 488 (Osmek).

Section 4. Recognition of beneficial habitat. Requires an owner of a solar site implementing solar site management practices and making a beneficial habitat claim to report on its site management practices to the Board of Water and Soil Resources, by June 1, 2020, and every third June 1 after that. 

Section 5. Definitions. Removes the capacity cap for hydroelectric power from the definition of “eligible energy technology,” so that projects with a capacity of 100 megawatts or more would qualify under the renewable energy standard. Currently, only hydropower generated from a facility with less than a 100 megawatt capacity can be treated as renewable power. This is from S.F. 1372 (Mathews).

Section 6. Additional storage of spent nuclear fuel. Abolishes the prohibition that the Public Utilities Commission may not issue a certificate of need for the construction of a new nuclear-powered electric generating plant. This is from S.F. 633 (Osmek).

Sections 7 and 8. PACE loan program definitions. Amends the definitions of “cost-effective energy improvements” and “qualifying commercial real property” applicable to the PACE loan program to include application to new construction.

Section 9. Financing terms. Requires financing under the commercial PACE program to have a principal amount not to exceed the lesser of the greater of 20 percent of the assessed value of the real property or 20 percent of the real property's appraised value.

Section 10. Improvements; real property or fixture. Provides that a cost-effective energy improvement financed under a commercial PACE loan program is deemed real property or a fixture attached to the real property. Sections 4 to 7 are from S.F. 1779 (Pratt).

Section 11. Damage to Property of Critical Public Service Facilities, Utilities, and Pipelines. Adds a new felony (statutory maximum of seven years/$20,000 fine) for a person who alters the equipment or physical operations of a pipeline with intent to disrupt services and without consent. Specifies that the section does not prohibit activities related to a labor dispute or labor-organizing activity. Exempts employers of employees who detain a person violating this section from criminal and civil liability. Authorizes restitution.

Section 12. Trespass on Critical Public Service Facility; Utility; or Pipeline. Provides that a person who enters the site or worksite of a critical public service facility, utility, or pipeline with the intent to disrupt the operation or provision of services is guilty of a five-year felony. Specifies that the section does not prohibit activities related to a labor dispute or labor-organizing activity. Exempts employers of employees who detain a person violating this section from criminal and civil liability. Authorizes restitution.

Sections 11 and 12 are from S.F. 2011 (Utke) and are effective the day following final enactment and applicable to crimes committed on or after June 15, 2019.

Sections 13 and 14. C-LEAF. Corrects the misnaming of the renewable development account in two sections of session law enacted in 2017. This is from S.F. 2066 (Osmek).

Section 15. Department of Commerce; use of appropriations; prohibition. Prohibits the commissioner of commerce from using money appropriated to the Department of Commerce to fund any activities related to an appeal before the Minnesota Court of Appeals or Minnesota Supreme Court concerning the certificate of need issued by the Public Utilities Commission to Enbridge Energy for the Line 3 pipeline replacement project. This is from S.F. 1757 (Utke).

Section 16.  Legislative Energy Commission; Minnesota energy goals.  Requests the Legislative Energy Commission (LEC) to examine the opportunities and challenges of increasing either the state's renewable energy standard or the greehouse gas emissions-reductions goals.  Requests the LEC to complete the analysis by January 15, 2020.

Article 9 - Conservation Improvement Programs

Section 1, subdivision 1. Definitions. Provides definitions, including the definition of a “consumer-owned utility” subject to the new section, “efficient electrification and conversion improvements,” “energy conservation and energy conservation improvements,” “fuel,” “fuel neutral,” and “source energy.” Other definitions are recodifications of terms found in existing statute at section 216B.241, subd. 1.

Subd. 2. Applicability. Provides that the conservation improvement program (CIP) requirements apply only to certain cooperative electric associations (providing electricity to more than 5,000 members), municipalities (providing retail service to more than 1,000 retail customers), and a municipality with more than 1,000,000,000 cubic feet in annual throughput sales to natural gas customers. This is also a recodification of the language that currently exists in section 216B.241, subd.1b.

Subd. 3. Savings goal. Specifies that consumer-owned utilities (COUs) subject to this section have an annual energy savings goal of 1.5 percent of gross annual retail energy sales. This is the current energy savings goal for municipal utilities and cooperative electric associations. Allows certain activities, including energy savings from efficient electrification and conversion improvements to be counted toward 0.5 percent of the goal for COUs.

Subd. 4. Consumer-owned utility; energy conservation and optimization plans. Requires COUs subject to the section to develop and submit their new CIP plans to the commissioner of Commerce by June 1, 2021.  Allows plans to cover a five-year period. Requires annual updates to the plan to be filed with the commissioner.  Establishes a formula for capturing the value of efficient electrification.

Subd. 5. Low-income programs. Recodification of current law requiring COUs to develop programs for low-income customers, but clarifies that COUs can aggregate resources to develop a more beneficial program.

Subd. 6. Recovery of expenses. Recodifies current law for COUs allowing cooperative electric associations to recover expenses related to their CIP plan through rate adjustments.

Subd. 7. Ownership of energy conservation improvement.  Recodifies current law for COUs regarding ownership of energy conservation improvements.

Subd. 8. Criteria for efficient electrification or conversion improvements and load management.  Allows a COU to form a technical working group to design programs for efficient electrification or conversion improvements and load management and file rate schedules for recovering costs related to those activities. Provides criteria for utilizing benefits resulting from those efficient electrification and related efforts.

Subd. 9. Criteria for CIP solar rebates. Allows a COU to claim energy saving credits equal to the amount of solar energy produced for which the COU has issued a CIP solar rebate. Provides a definition of “CIP solar rebate.”

Subd. 10. Manner of filing and service. Recodifies current law for COUs regarding use of the Department of Commerce’s e-filing system.

Subd. 11. Assessments. Modifies the assessments that must be paid by a COU for activities related to administration of the program by the Department of Commerce or Public Utilities Commission to allow a COU to opt out of certain assessments for certain activities (applied research and development grants and facilities energy efficiency) that may not apply to a COU.

Subd. 12. Waste heat recovery. Recodifies current law for COUs regarding waste heat recovery.

Subd. 13. Large customer facilities. Recodifies current law for COUs regarding the authority of certain large customers to opt out of CIP.

Sections 2 to 7. Clarify that these sections now apply only to “public” utilities and not municipal utilities and cooperative electric associations and removes obsolete language.

Section 6. Ownership of energy conservation improvement. Clarifies that a preweatherization measure installed in a building under the section is the property of the owner of the building.

Section 7. Low-income programs. Increases the amount a public utility must spend on low-income programs from 0.4 percent to 0.8 percent of the public utility’s most recent three-year average gross operating revenue from residential customers for a gas utility and from 0.1 to 0.4 percent of the public utility’s gross operating revenue from residential customers for an electric utility. Provides definitions for “multifamily building” and “preweatherization measures.”

Section 8. Repealer. Repeals the current conservation improvement requirements found in section 216B.241, subdivision 1b, applicable to cooperative associations and municipalities, which are codified as modified in new section 216B.2402. Article 9 is from S.F. 1915 (Rarick).

Article 10 - Renewable Development

Section 1.  Renewable development account. Beginning in 2020, fixes the annual contribution to the renewable development account required for Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear generating plants at $33,000,000 in fiscal year 2020; $31,000,000 in fiscal year 2021; and $20,000,000 in fiscal year 2022 and thereafter. Once both nuclear plants are closed, the amount collected would be fixed at $12,750,000 per year ($7,500,000 attributed to the Prairie Island plant and $5,250,000 for the Monticello plant). Clarifies that recovery of funds withheld shall be done through a rate rider. Directs Xcel to select members of the advisory group. Allows Xcel Energy to pay the third party evaluator from money withheld from the transfer to the renewable development account. Provides a mechanism for determining when sufficient funds are in the account to require a grant cycle. Makes other technical, clarifying, and conforming changes. Sections 1, 9 to 11 and 14 are from S.F. 1039 (Goggin).

Section 2. Community energy transitions grants.  

Subdivision 1.  Definitions.  Provides definitions for terms including “commissioner” and “eligible community.” "Commissioner" means the commissioner of employment and economic development (DEED). "Eligible community" means a county, municipality, or tribal government that hosts an investor-owned electric generating plant powered by coal, nuclear energy, or natural gas.

Subd. 2.  Establishment. Requires the commissioner of employment and economic development to establish a community energy transition grant program.

Subd. 3.  Funding.  Creates a community energy transition account. Appropriates money in the account to the commissioner for community energy transition grants. Transfers $500,000 from the renewable development account on July 1, 2019, and $1 million each July 1, thereafter from the renewable development account for deposit in the community energy transition account. Specifies that grants to eligible communities with a plant that has not been scheduled for retirement or decommissioning is limited to $1 million and grants to eligible communities with a plant that has been scheduled for retirement or decommissioning is capped at $5 million. Allows DEED to retain five percent for administrative costs.

Subd. 4Cancellation of grant; return of grant money.  Requires money for a project that has been granted but not completed within five years must be returned to DEED for additional grants.

Subd. 5.  Grants to eligible communities.  Provides for a competitive process for grants to eligible communities for use to plan for or address the economic and social impact on the community of plant retirement or transition. Specific uses may include research, planning, studies, capital improvements, and incentives for businesses to open, relocate, or expand.

Subd. 6.  Priorities.  Lists the priorities that the advisory council must consider when evaluating projects.

Subd. 7.  Advisory council.  Creates the community energy transition grant advisory council, consisting of the following members: the commissioner of employment and economic development, or a designee; the commissioner of transportation, or a designee; the commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, or a designee; the commissioner of natural resources, or a designee; the commissioner of commerce, or a designee; the commissioner of administration, or a designee; one representative of the Prairie Island Indian community; two representatives of workers at investor-owned electric generating plants powered by coal, nuclear energy, or natural gas; and four representatives of eligible communities, of which, two must be counties, two must be municipalities, at least one must host a coal plant, and at least one must host a nuclear plant. Provides for other specifics for the administration of the advisory council.

Subd. 8.  Reports to the legislature.  Requires an annual report to the legislature beginning in 2021, detailing the use of grant funds, including any economic impact data. This section is from S.F. 1888 (Housley).

Section 3. Energy storage system pilot projects. Allows a public utility to petition the Public Utilities Commission to recover costs associated with implementation of an energy storage system pilot project. Sections 3 to 5, and 13, and are from S.F. 100 (Osmek).

Section 4.  Definitions. Provides a definition for “energy storage system” within the resource planning statute.

Section 5.  Energy storage systems assessment. Requires investor-owned utilities to include an assessment of energy storage systems in any integrated resource plan or plan modification filed by an investor-owned utility. Provides considerations for the Public Utilities Commission in approving a plan with respect to an energy storage system assessment submitted by an investor-owned utility.

Section 6. Solar for schools program. Establishes a solar for schools program within the Department of Commerce for the purpose of providing grants to stimulate the installation of solar energy systems on or adjacent to school buildings.

Section 7. Solar for schools program for certain utility service territory. Establishes a solar for schools program to be operated by Xcel Energy to supplement with additional funding financial arrangements that allow schools to benefit from state and federal tax and other financial  incentives that schools are ineligible to receive directly to install and operate solar energy systems. Requires the utility to file a plan with the commissioner of commerce. Provides specifics for system eligibility and the application process for schools seeking financial assistance. Sections 6 and 7 are from S.F. 1424 (Dibble).

Section 8.  Electric vehicle charging station revolving loan program.

Subdivision 1.  Definitions.  Provides definitions.

Subd. 2.  Revolving loan fund.  Requires the commissioner of commerce to establish an electric vehicle charging station revolving loan fund to make loans for charging station projects installed in Minnesota.

Subd. 3.  Administration.  Specifies that the minimum interest rates established by the commissioner must not exceed one percent interest for the state, other governmental entity, or a nonprofit organization; or three percent interest for private businesses. Requires 40 percent of a loan repayment to be returned to the renewable development account until the returned amount totals $1.5 million.

Subd. 4.  Applications.  Requires an applicant to submit the following information to the commissioner: (1) the estimated cost of the project and the loan amount; (2) other sources of funding; (3) sources of funds to repay loans received; and (4) ability of the borrower to repay loans.

Subd. 5.  Use of loan funds.  Allows loan funds to be used to design, develop, purchase, and install electric vehicle charging stations at locations in Minnesota. Requires an electric vehicle charging station project receiving loan funds to be available for public use.

Subd. 6.  Evaluation of projects.  Requires the commissioner to consider when evaluating a project:

  • the need for the project and why it is in the public interest;
  • the relationship of the project to the local area's needs;
  • the estimated project cost and the loan amount sought;
  • proposed sources of funding;
  • the need for the project as part of the overall transportation system; and
  • the overall economic impact of the project.

Allows the commissioner to consult with the commissioner of transportation regarding the electric vehicle charging needs throughout the state.

Subd. 7.  Maximum loan amount.  Provides a per project maximum loan amount of $30,000.

Subd. 8.  User fees.  Requires a borrower to charge a per hour fee for use of a charging station. Requires a borrower to use at least 25 percent of the fees collected to repay the loan and pay for expenses associated with operating and maintaining the electric vehicle charging station funded by the loan.

Subd 9.  Report to legislature.  Requires a report regarding the revolving loan program. Specifies that the report must include (1) a description of the projects and an account of loans made, (2) the revolving loan fund balance, and (3) an explanation of administrative expenses. This section is from S.F. 2342 (Osmek).

Section 9. Prairie Island Net Zero Project.  Establishes the Prairie Island Net Zero Project with the goal of having the Prairie Island Indian Community develop an energy system implementing renewable energy projects that results in net zero emissions. Requires the Prairie Island Indian Community to file a plan with the commissioner of employment and economic development by July 1, 2019, and updated annually until the program is complete, describing the project elements and implementation strategy.

Section 10Biomass Business Compensation.

Subdivision 1.  Definitions.  Provides definitions for “biomass plant,” “early termination,” and “operating income” as used in the bill.

Subd. 2.  Office of Administrative Hearings; claims process.  Requires the chief administrative law judge of the Office of Administrative Hearings to name an administrative law judge to administer a claims award process to compensate businesses negatively affected by the sale and closure of a biomass plant located in the city of Benson.  Allows the administrative law judge to create a process to consider claims for affected businesses and issue awards to eligible businesses.  Provides that awards are final and not subject to judicial review.  Specifies that an award does not constitute an admission of liability by the state.

Subd. 3.  Eligibility.  Establishes the eligibility threshold for compensation.  Requires an affected business to verify that as of May 1, 2017, it was operating under the terms of a valid contract or provide other documentation demonstrating an ongoing business relationship with the biomass plant or the fertilizer plant integrated within the biomass plant.

Subd. 4.  Types of claims.   Allows an eligible business to make claims based on either or both decreased operating income or the loss of value of investment in real or personal property.  Provides the information to be presented for each type of claim.

Subd. 5.  Limitations on awards.  Provides the limitations for a compensation award for decreased operating income claim.  Requires the use, sales, salvage, or scrap value of the property to be deducted from a compensation award for a loss of value of investments in real or personal property claim.  Requires any related payment received from business interruption insurance policies, settlements, or other forms of compensation to be deducted from any compensation award.

Subd. 6.  Priority.  Allows the administrative law judge to give priority to claims by eligible businesses that demonstrate a significant effort to pursue other business opportunities or mitigate losses resulting from the closure of the biomass plant.

Subd. 7.  Awarding claims.  Specifies that awards must be awarded proportionally if the amount provided for compensation in the biomass business compensation account is insufficient to fully award all eligible claims.

Subd. 8.  Deadlines.  Establishes deadlines for filing claims and for issuing orders on award determinations.

Subd. 9Expiration. Sets a section expiration date of June 30, 2022.

Section 11.  Biomass business compensation account.

Subdivision 1.  Account established.  Establishes a biomass business compensation account in the special revenue fund in the state treasury.

Subd. 2.  Funding for the special account.  Requires $40,000,000 to be transferred on July 1, 2019, from the renewable development account to the biomass business compensation account and appropriated for payment of eligible obligations under the biomass business compensation program.

Subd. 3.  Payment of expenses.  Provides a mechanism for the chief administrative law judge to certify costs incurred to administer the biomass business compensation claims process.  Specifies that the transfer of certified costs will come from the renewable development account, not to exceed $200,000 total.

Subd. 4Expiration. Sets a section expiration date of June 30, 2022.

Section 12. Green Roof Advisory Task Force; report.

Subdivision 1. Definition. Provides a definition of a "green roof."

Subd. 2. Membership. Paragraph (a) specifies membership of the Green Roof Advisory Task Force consisting of:  (1) the state building official or a designee; (2) a representative of the Building Owners and Managers Association Greater Minneapolis; (3) up to three representatives from Minnesota companies with extensive experience installing green roofs, appointed by the commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency; (4) a co-chair of the Committee on the Environment of the American Institute of Architects Minnesota or a designee; (5) a horticultural expert from the University of Minnesota Extension; (6) a representative of the University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research; (7) a representative of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association; (8) a representative from the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association; (9) a representative of the Minnesota State Building Trades Council; (10) the commissioner of commerce or a designee; and (11) other members as appointed by the advisory task force.

Paragraph (b) provides that members of the task force are not compensated for task force activities. Requires the Department of Commerce to serve as staff to the advisory task force.

Subd. 3. Duties. Requires the advisory task force to review and evaluate laws relating to green roofs; estimates of the effects of operating green roofs on energy use in buildings and any associated reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, roof replacement costs, and storm water management costs; and  any other relevant information.

Subd. 4. Report. Requires the task force to submit a report by March 1, 2020, containing the task force's findings and recommendations, including discussion of the benefits and problems associated with requiring buildings of a certain type and size to install green roofs.

Subd. 5. Sunset. Sunsets the advisory task force on April 1, 2020. This section is from S.F. 297 (Dziedzic).

Section 13. Cost-benefit analysis of energy storage systems. Requires the commissioner of commerce to contract with an independent consultant selected through a request for proposal process to produce a report analyzing the potential costs and benefits of energy storage systems. Requires the study to be submitted to the Legislature by December 31, 2019.

Section 14. Appropriation; Prairie Island Net Zero Project.  Awards a grant over five years from the renewable development account to the Prairie Island Indian Community to develop a net zero emissions energy system as follows: $20,000,000 in fiscal year 2020; $7,500,000 in fiscal years 2021, 2022, and 2023; and $3,700,000 in fiscal year 2024.

Section 15.  Appropriation; energy storage cost-benefit analysis.  Appropriates $150,000 in fiscal year 2019 from the renewable development account for an energy storage systems cost-benefit analysis.

Section 16. Appropriation; green roof task force. Appropriates $55,000 in fiscal year 2020 from the renewable development account to the commissioner of commerce to complete the green roof report required under section 12.

Section 17. Appropriation; solar for schools. Appropriates $1,000,000 in fiscal year 2020 and $1,000,000 in fiscal year 2021 from the renewable development account to the commissioner of commerce for transfer to Xcel Energy for awarding grants and financial assistance to schools under the solar for schools program.

Section 18.  Appropriation; electric vehicle charging station revolving loan program. Appropriates $1,500,000 from the renewable development account to the commissioner of commerce for the loan program. Specifies that loans be made only for electric vehicle charging station projects in Xcel Energy service territory. Allows the commissioner to use up to three percent of this amount for administration.

CDF/syl

 
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