Rebecca's RenewMN Vision, Part I

The Minnesota-Powered Plan

A clean energy plan that creates thousands of jobs A universal health plan that puts the provider-patient relationship at the center and saves costs An economic plan that meets the workforce needs of this century as it lifts Minnesota from a low-wage to a high-wage economy

Rebecca Otto's plan to get Minnesota out ahead of the Clean Energy Economy is the state's biggest economic opportunity in a generation

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Rebecca Otto's article in Scientific American


Rebecca Otto has traveled the state for the last 12 years. She's driven down country roads and paved roads and met with leaders in cafes, town halls, and convention centers. In all these conversations, she's heard a consistent theme from Democrats and Republicans alike: we need equality of opportunity and we need to start solving problems again. Tweet This

One of the largest of those unsolved problems is climate change. We've all seen it in our daily lives, as fires, floods, severe droughts and storms damage our communities and drain our public budgets as the need for costly disaster response grows. The impact of climate change is hitting far sooner and much closer to home than many of us ever imagined Tweet This , and we have a moral obligation to protect our children.

At the same time, we've seen depopulation increasing across Greater Minnesota and underemployment across the state, coupled with an erosion of union jobs and bargaining power. Without good-paying jobs, it's harder to attract young families, and without young families, it's hard to keep schools open, and if you lose a school, you lose your community center, and with fewer residents, it gets harder to keep businesses open on Main Street and you get a snowball effect.

The Minnesota-Powered Plan turns protecting our kids from climate change into a huge economic opportunity for Minnesota. The Plan positions Minnesota to become a clean energy leader, growing Minnesota's private economy by billions of dollars. The plan will place a carbon price on fossil fuel companies and use the money to help Minnesotans take charge of their own energy Tweet This instead of importing it, producing tens of thousands of good-paying local jobs all over the state, stimulating wage increases and reducing household expenses in every Minnesota community, and reducing the negative health and environmental impacts from burning fossil fuels. The price point has now arrived to make all this possible. Taking charge of our own energy is now economically one of the smartest things we can do as a state.

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A roadmap to prosperity

Rebecca's Minnesota-Powered Clean Energy Economic Stimulus Plan

Solar industry growth 2010-2016Solar farms can be planted with wildflowers to support pollinators

The Topline: Rebecca Otto's Minnesota-Powered Plan has 3 parts: Tweet This

  1. Places a carbon price on fossil fuel companies. This way the cost of fossil fuel air pollution is included fairly in the price of fossil fuels up front, encouraging the switch to cleaner, cheaper, fossil-fuel-free energy.
  2. 75% of the carbon price revenue will fund Quarterly Clean Energy Cash Dividends of an estimated $600 annually, paid to every Minnesota resident of any age.
  3. 25% of the carbon price revenue will fund Clean Energy Refundable Tax Credits available to every Minnesotan that will cover 30% of the cost of switching to new and used EV cars, installing solar panels, changing out water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners for heat pumps, and installing triple-pane windows and insulation. This will create tens of thousands of good-paying new private-sector jobs—often paying more than $80,000 per year—in every community across Minnesota, and in many cases the work will be able to be financed with no money down.

The increased demand created by The Minnesota-Powered Plan will increase wages, drive down living expenses Tweet This , improve Minnesotans' health, clean up our environment, provide access to clean power, and rejuvenate Main Streets as it creates thousands of new local small businesses. Tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs will be created, not only be in the residential clean energy sector, but in large-scale commercial generation as businesses and utilities make the switch to clean energy. The Minnesota-Powered Plan is a win-win, growing the private economy and helping to usher in a new era of statewide prosperity as we take charge of our own energy. To learn how, read on.

Press the plus sign or category heading of each section to open it and see the details.

A giant opportunity for Minnesotans

The clean energy economy is booming

Rebecca's Minnesota-Powered Plan will create an estimated 70,000-235,000 permanent, good-paying jobs Tweet This in construction, sales, administration, engineering, distribution, R&D, maintenance, and related fields in Greater Minnesota and the Metro area alike. It will create thousands of new local small businesses, helping to renew Main Streets in communities across Minnesota.


In 2016, the energy sector added 300,000 new jobs, roughly 14% of all jobs created in America, thanks to clean energy:


  • Solar energy jobs increased by 25 percent and now employ the largest share of workers in the energy sector (42 percent), mostly in construction.
  • Wind energy jobs increased by 32 percent; Wind Energy Technician is the fastest growing profession in America.
  • Alternative fuel vehicles, including hybrids and electric cars, added 69,000 jobs in 2016—a 36% increase.
  • Energy Efficiency products and services added 133,000 jobs in 2016, up to 2.2 million.
  • 860,869 construction workers are now building renewable energy projects, up 13 percent from the previous year.
  • Roughly 26 percent of all clean energy economy jobs are in manufacturing, compared to just 9 percent in the broader economy.
  • Two Minnesota companies currently build 2/3 of all wind farms nationwide—because we started here first with the first wind farm between California and Denmark. By starting here first with the Minnesota-Powered Plan, we will see many new national clean energy companies like these emerge.

These numbers are powerful indicators of gains across the following industries:

  • renewable energy technology
  • construction
  • electric vehicles
  • heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
As referenced in the above graph, the clean energy economy produces good-paying jobs which traditionally use union workers. The wages can support a family and with the Minnesota-Powered Plan these jobs will be created statewide.

Taking Charge of Our Own Energy

Investing in clean energy means investing in our own communities and taking charge of our own energy. Instead of subsidizing big oil, we invest in wind turbines on farms, solar on our roofs, and schools that use less energy—creating local jobs, stronger communities, and a more stable climate.

The need for clean energy upgrades is in every community across the state. Rebecca has crafted a plan that will stimulate the Minnesota economy, adding an estimated 70,629 permanent, good-paying jobs, creating thousands of new small businesses, and revitalizing Main Streets. The Minnesota-Powered Plan puts money in the pocket of every Minnesota household, and positions the State to lead the clean energy revolution.

NOTE: job creation estimate based on economic research published by the World Bank, estimating direct, indirect, and induced jobs created per $1 million spent in solar, HVAC, and efficiency improvements. Zero job additions were calculated for EV sales and maintenance, assuming these jobs will be done by existing automotive sector workers. To be conservative, job creation numbers have been calculated using only projected tax incentive dollars, ie 30% of the full cost of projected improvements in solar, HVAC, and efficiency, plus operation and maintenance. If the full cost is used, job creation estimates could be as high as 235,429 permanent new jobs. This does not include further mostly union job creation as utilities choose to switch to clean energy and construct further utility-scale clean energy projects.

The threat of doing nothing is real

With Rebecca's plan, We can have the best of both worlds

The threat of doing nothing to address climate change is real. We've all seen the effects, and we all know they are rapidly getting worse. We can solve the problem of climate change at the state level starting right here in Minnesota Tweet This , and we can do it by growing our economy.

Billions and billions of hard measurements from tens of thousands of scientists working in scores of different fields all around the world all point in the same direction: that human activities are disrupting the climate, and that this disruption is the greatest threat facing Minnesota and the planet.

Global Land-Ocean Temp AnomalyThe average global temperature has been rising steadily since the 1960s

Internationally, climate change is having major geopolitical effects. In Syria, for example, it caused the worst drought in at least 900 years—one that killed 80% of livestock—and the economic disruption helped spur the Syrian civil war. The resulting migration has destabilized Europe. 

Climate change is costing us big money - it's not worth it

We've all noticed the strange weather, the increasingly powerful storms and hurricanes, and the droughts that affect farmers. Hurricane Sandy alone, which was more powerful because of climate change, cost Americans $65 billion. As the following insurance industry chart shows, losses related to the climate have tripled in North America since 1980, while other forms of loss have remained relatively stable. Our economy was built on the presumption of a stable environment. The environment is no longer stable. That disruption is costing us all a lot of money.

Munich Re Nat Cat updateClimate, flooding and weather-related insurance losses have tripled since 1980

Climate change is affecting us right now in Minnesota

  • Extreme weather events have washed animals out of the zoo in Duluth, and have taken out roads and culverts.
  • Five hundred year floods are happening every few years, "juiced" by climate change.
  • June 11 2017 hail at Otto HouseA June 11, 2017 hail storm showered the North Metro with egg-size hail, causing millions in insurance claims
  • Heavy rains have increased by 35 percent.
  • In the last 44 years Minnesota has had ten "mega rain events"—1,000 square mile areas with maximum rainfall of at least 8 inches—four of them have been in the last 6 years.
  • Tornados, wind damage, and hail storms are bigger and badder, driving up insurance rates.
  • Our growing season flips between long droughts and intense rain, impacting our farm economy.
  • Lakes that used to stay clear all summer now warm and experience algae blooms in early August.
  • Rising lake and stream temperatures are causing declines in our favorite fish.
  • Animals and pests we've never had to worry about before are moving into our state.
  • Our Northern pines are threatened, our walleye are under stress, and our moose are vanishing.
  • Severe weather is driving up our insurance rates and overwhelming city infrastructure.
  • More polluted air means that asthma, COPD, and other health impacts are on the rise.
  • We have a moral obligation to protect our children from these problems by solving them. And now, with the Minnesota Powered Plan, we can. 

The Minnesota-Powered Plan is a win-win

Renewable Growth in MinnesotaIn 2007, Minnesota passed a Renewable Energy Standard with 186 lawmakers in favor and 13 opposed.

The problems are real, but now there's hope. Rebecca Otto's groundbreaking Minnesota-Powered Plan can spur large-scale economic growth and create tens of thousands of new jobs by tackling environmental challenges instead of avoiding them, moving Minnesota into the largest projected economy of the 21st century. We deserve to have both a clean environment and a powerful economy, and with the Minnesota-Powered Plan we can.

The fossil fuel industry's denial campaign

They spend millions per year to mislead voters

Fossil fuel interests spend billions to control our democracy and sow doubt and confusion. Tweet This They are protecting their profits at the expense of Americans. Rebecca says enough is enough.

US Climate Denial fundersFunding sources for the world's largest propaganda campaign.

If the problems created by climate change are so significant and the economic opportunity is so good, why aren't we doing something like the Minnesota-Powered Plan already? The main reason is the politics of greed. Fossil fuel interests have made a multi-million dollar annual investment in propaganda campaigns Tweet This to muddy the issue and cast doubt in order to to rig the system against clean energy solutions.

They use many of the same techniques - and even several of the same people - that big tobacco companies did to sow public doubt about the science that showed smoking causes cancer. They even send propaganda into our schools, trying to mislead teachers and our own children.

The rest of the world is moving on, and we don't have to stay captive to the fossil fuel industry denial campaign any longer. We need to break their stranglehold on our democracy and put people, not oil companies, back in charge. We can take charge of our own energy, and if we make timely, decisive steps, Minnesotans can ride the clean energy economic wave and reap the benefits.

How the carbon price works

Economists say it's about economic fairness

Rebecca's Minnesota-Powered Plan doesn't raise taxes a single penny or take any money out of the economy. It levies a carbon price on fossil fuel companies, and pays 100% of the revenue back to Minnesota residents, so we can take charge of our own energy. It protects critical internationally competitive industries like farming, paper milling, mining, trucking and aviation so we don't damage our economy. And it does much more. Here's how it works.

Industrial smokestacksA carbon price is now supported by energy companies and conservative groups

Here's how the Carbon Price grows the private sector, reduces air pollution, and slows climate change: Tweet This

The Minnesota Powered Plan is what economists call "revenue-neutral" in that it tackles the problem of carbon emissions without growing government revenue. The idea is supported by groups ranging from the Citizens' Climate Lobby to energy companies like Exxon Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total S.A., to the conservative Climate Leadership Council, and the World Bank, among others. Forty countries and 24 cities, states and provinces are now pricing carbon. Finland, which is about the size of Minnesota, was the first country to enact a carbon price in 1990. The United Kingdom’s carbon price has been credited for the steep drop in carbon emissions there to levels not seen since 1894.

Right now we burn fossil fuel and blow the exhaust into the atmosphere, treating it like a big free dumping ground. That air pollution is a large part of what’s causing climate disruption, as well as expensive health problems. The pollution is costing governments, individuals, and businesses increasingly more money. Economists call this an externality: the cost is not fully captured in the price of the product. A carbon price includes (or “internalizes”) the cost of that pollution into the product's price, so users pay their fair share.

The Minnesota-Powered Plan will first give three quarters of the carbon price revenue directly to Minnesota residents in Quarterly Clean Energy Cash Dividends of about an estimated $150/person each quarter, or $600/year. Everybody gets the same size dividend check, so if you use less fossil fuels than average you come out ahead, and if you use more you pay in.

The remaining quarter of the carbon price revenue will go back to Minnesota residents in the form of refundable tax credits covering 30 percent of the cost of clean energy improvements using Minnesota companies, including solar panels; heat pump heating, cooling and hot water systems; upgraded triple-pane windows, lighting and insulation; or buying new or used electric cars. A refundable tax credit is one that is paid to you in cash if your income is not sufficient to use the credit. This means the cost of clean energy improvements will be so low that in many cases they can be financed with no money down, so that people of any income level can access the clean energy economy and start lowering their living expenses right away.

This arrangement will create tens of thousands of new, good-paying jobs by giving two layers of incentive to switch to renewable energy. Everyone gains because the increased market demand for clean energy products drives down component prices, and drives up general wages.

How would the carbon price affect me?

The Minnesota-Powered Plan starts with a carbon price of $40/metric ton Tweet This , the number that many governments and businesses have recognized in their planning, and increases 10 percent per year over 18 years then levels off. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 81 percent by 2045, and create an estimated 70,629 new good-paying jobs in the clean energy economy, strengthening Minnesota’s statewide job market and creating equality of opportunity statewide.

The Quarterly Clean Energy Cash Dividends will offset increases in average Minnesotans' energy expenses, and the Clean Energy Tax Credits will allow Minnesotans of all income levels to switch to electric renewable energy with little or no money down.

Will this hurt our economy?

The Minnesota-Powered Plan takes important steps to protect Minnesota's economy. Most businesses' energy use is less than 2 percent of expenses.

"General Mills is committed to doing our part to tackle climate change."
—Jerry Lynch
Chief Sustainability Officer
General Mills
These companies will be motivated by the carbon price to switch to renewables because it makes financial sense and pays for itself in the short term, and because they are made up of people who recognize there is a problem and want to be part of the solution as ethical citizens of Minnesota, the United States, and the world.

But for a few of Minnesota's industries, energy is a much larger part of their expenses, and increasing their energy costs with a climate price could make them uncompetitive internationally, harming Minnesota as a whole. These are called Energy-Intensive, Trade-Exposed (EITE) industries. They are taconite mining, paper milling, farming, trucking and airline travel. These industries will be temporarily exempted, and wrapped in at a later time, when the federal government follows Minnesota's lead. However, to the extent that electrical utilities are motivated by the carbon price and consumer demand to switch to non-fossil-fuel sources for electricity generation, these industries will have portions of their energy portfolio cleaned up organically much sooner.

How much revenue will the climate price generate?

According to the most recent available data, Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions are an estimated 158.3 million metric tons ("tonnes") of CO2e. CO2e means carbon dioxide and equivalents (other greenhouse gases, like methane, that have lower emission rates but are often far more potent).

CO2e sources

Once we deduct emissions from the EITE industries (a relatively small portion) and a few other carbon sources that are not fossil-fuel-related (a much larger portion), we wind up with 114.2 million metric tons in the first year. This will drop by an estimated 2 percent immediately, resulting in 111.9 million metric tons of carbon-priced CO2e in year 1.

We are in a new era. In fact, the price point of renewables is so good, with so many financial and public health benefits in addition to being the morally right thing to do, even Republican mayors are making the switch, and Minnesota is falling behind.

At $40/metric ton, The Minnesota-Powered Plan will generate $4.45 billion, 100% of which will be paid back to Minnesota residents Tweet This of all ages. 

zoo

What will the Quarterly Clean Energy Cash Dividends do for me?

put money in your pocket

The Minnesota-Powered Plan will put Quarterly Clean Energy Cash Dividends into the pockets of every Minnesota resident Tweet This , increasing their spending power and broadly stimulating the economy while encouraging energy efficiency. Let's look at an example budget from a household of four people:

Family SunsetThe Minnesota-Powered Plan provides lower living expenses, higher wages, and energy freedom

Case Study: a Minnesota household of four

The Minnesota household illustrated below consists of two adults and two children. It has a monthly utility bill of $158.71, plus $239.91 per month for gasoline between two adults, for a total annual household cost of $4,783.46. They release 18.76 metric tons of CO2e into the atmosphere each year.

1) Calculate household energy use

Rebecca's plan and a household of 4Data drawn from U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, CenterPoint Energy's Home Energy Costs and Emissions Calculator, and U.S. Census Bureau. Energy prices are given assumptions. Every household is unique and savings will vary depending on a variety of factors.

2) Calculate your cash gain

Dividing the carbon price equally among all Minnesota residents shows that the Minnesota-Powered Plan will provide about $150 per resident per quarter in Quarterly Clean Energy Cash Dividends. Our example Minnesota household of four will receive $2,400 per year in Quarterly Clean Energy Cash Dividend payments — almost twice what the household will pay in extra energy costs from pricing carbon, putting a cash gain of $1,150 in their pockets each year.

how the carbon price will benefit a household of 4

The dividend checks will increase annually with the carbon price. And if the household use the Clean Energy Tax Credits for energy efficiency or energy production (often possible for no money down), they will also lower their living expenses and the total cash gains in their pocket could increase dramatically.

What will the clean energy Tax credits do for me?

put More money in your pocket

What if we could make it easy for every Minnesota household to reduce their living expenses, with fewer environmental and health impacts? And what if we could turn it into a giant economic opportunity that increased their income? That would be a win-win! Well, the economies of scale have made it possible for the first time to accomplish both.

Tax CreditsA household that fully utilizes Rebecca's clean energy tax credits could save over $6,000 a year

The Minnesota-Powered Plan will offer refundable tax credits to Minnesota residents for 30 percent of the cost of clean energy Tweet This improvements: investing in beautiful new triple-pane windows; upgraded insulation; buying new and used electric cars; installing solar systems; and installing heat pump heating, cooling and hot water systems sold and installed by Minnesota companies. A "refundable" tax credit is paid out in cash if a taxpayer doesn't owe enough taxes to fully use the credit.

After taking advantage of available state, federal, and utility incentives it could even be possible to finance these improvements with no money down, and it will be cheaper to borrow the money and do them than to not do them.

A larger household of four that takes advantage of every tax credit and also receives the $1,150 net gain from the clean energy dividends could save as much as $6,646 annually, depending on their individual situation. If the Minnesota annual mean income is $51,330, that's the equivalent of two adults both getting an extra three weeks of paid vacation.


Rebecca on her roofWith the Minnesota-Powered Plan, a rooftop solar system can be financed with no money down over six years and cash flows immediately

Example 1: Solar clean energy tax credit

Generating your own solar energy can save your family $818 per year and prevent 3.13 metric tons of greenhouse gases Tweet This annually.

solar tax creditsUtility rebate varies by utility

 


2017 Chevy BoltThe Chevy Bolt gets 238 miles on a charge, can fast charge on road trips, and costs $37,495

Example 2: New and used electric car tax credit

Switching to electric cars can save $1,202 annually per car under the Minnesota-Powered Plan Tweet This , or $2,404 for a 2-car household, and prevent 5.25 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually per vehicle.

EV tax credits

 

Geothermal homeA geothermal or "ground source heat pump" system pumps cold water out of the house where it picks up ground heat and warms the house and the domestic hot water. In the summer, it is reversed and cools the house.

Example 3: Heat pump heating and cooling tax credit

Heat pumps are up to 600% efficient, compared to furnaces and boilers which are 80%-97% efficient, and they also replace your air conditioner. That means for every dollar of energy you put in, you get up to $6 of heating or cooling back out, and there is no exhaust. Heat pumps come in two kinds: ground source, and air source. Upgrading to a heat pump means no risk of dangerous carbon monoxide or a furnace fire in your home, plus heat, hot water, and cooling savings of $1,512 per year, preventing the production of 4.78 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually.


HVAC tax credits

HVAC tax creditsUtility rebates vary by utility

 

Replacement WindowMinnesota companies will install high-efficiency triple-pane replacement windows rated at R-9

Example 4: Super-efficiency home improvement tax credit

Replacing your windows and doors with new energy-efficient Minnesota-made triple-pane windows and doors and using a Minnesota company to upgrade your insulation can save $521 per year and avoid 2.93 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually.

Efficiency tax creditUtility rebate varies by utility
 

The benefits to Minnesota

Lower expenses, higher wages, more jobs

Minnesota imports about $18 billion worth of fossil fuels every year. What if we instead paid that $18 billion to our fellow Minnesotans? It would be a huge economic boost! The need for clean energy upgrades exists in every community around the state, and addressing it will stimulate the creation and growth of contracting and manufacturing businesses around the state. Local businesses spend locally, generating even more economic growth. The large number of good-paying jobs will tighten up the labor market, driving wages up for everyone as it lowers living expenses. Coupling a clean environment and better health with lower living costs and increased wages, greater prosperity is ahead with Rebecca Otto as our Governor.

Rebecca installing solar panels on the Ottos' homeRebecca installing solar panels on the Ottos' home

Imagine a community with a healthy economy, with active local businesses who invest in the local community, both economically and civically. Imagine well-paid work and lower living expenses. The three strands of the Minnesota-Powered Plan—carbon dividends, tax credits, and jobs—combine to have a significant multiplier effect.

  • The clean energy improvements will benefit homeowners and renters alike through lower utility bills, transportation costs, and health costs.
  • The increased demand and higher-paying jobs will tighten up the labor market, generating new local economic activity, increasing wages and encouraging new innovation and business start-ups, at the same time that the economies of scale will further reduce the price of solar energy, electric cars, and heat pumps.
  • The tax credits sunset after ten years, at which point all carbon price revenue will flow to the Quarterly Clean Energy Cash Dividends. The carbon price will have increased such that the increased economic activity will continue without the need for tax credits.
  • Minnesota’s most innovative manufacturers, construction workers, installers, transporters, salespeople, administrators, and maintenance workers will be well-positioned to see expanding business for the next several decades as the clean energy economic wave moves across the rest of the United States.

How we get from here to there

Taking Minnesota into the 21st Century

There is much more to the Minnesota-Powered Plan, like expanding equality of opportunity statewide, furthering the development of wind power, and other things that we can and should be doing right now.

CLEANING UP POWER AT HOME AND WORK

  • The Minnesota-Powered Plan shifts things normally done with fossil fuels to electricity, and creates incentives to clean up the power generation sector. The plan includes removing regulatory barriers to broad adoption of solar and wind energy and the use of electric vehicles and HVAC systems.
  • Rebecca supports adjusting our state building code to ensure that new homes and buildings are heated and cooled by super-efficient heat pumps which run at 1/3 the cost, emit nothing and produce no dangerous carbon monoxide, and that they are well-insulated and use triple-pane windows. When combined with retrofitting existing homes, the market will come to expect clean energy construction.
  • Rebecca will work to improve green building standards across state and county buildings and incentivize local governments to do the same. Running every government building on efficient clean energy will save taxpayers significant dollars and the investments will have paybacks ranging from 12 months to 12 years.

 

CLEANING UP TRANSPORTATION

  • The Minnesota-Powered Plan will incentivize the switch to higher performance and cleaner electric cars Tweet This by driving the electric vehicle market down in cost. This includes state tax credits for purchasing new and used electric vehicles, allowing EVs to use HOV lanes and to have priority parking, and adding electric vehicle fast chargers. Like Rebecca's incentive programs for buildings, these investments spin off tens of thousands of well-paying Minnesota jobs in construction, manufacturing, trucking, engineering and related industries.
  • As Governor, Rebecca Otto will support legislation to make new public and school buses electric. Tweet This Buses are perfect candidates for new electric technology. They go shorter distances at lower average speeds and make frequent stops. Electric motors are far more powerful and efficient than internal combustion engines. We will gain considerable efficiency and saving of taxpayer dollars while reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Rebecca will also encourage legislation to increase electric mass transit in regional hubs, and will discuss this more thoroughly in another part of her vision.

 

INVESTING IN RURAL CLEAN POWER

  • Rebecca's Minnesota-Powered Plan marries tax credits for clean energy generation with tax credits for increased electric base load Tweet This for vehicles and home heating and cooling and hot water. By providing the increased electricity to do the things we now do with fossil fuels, Minnesota's utilities and Rural Electric Authorities (REAs) stand to multiply their revenues by many times. That's the biggest economic opportunity their investors have ever had.
  • REAs are concerned about net metering, in which utilities pay residential co-generators the retail rate for electricity they generate. They view the idea of a large increase in the number of homeowners with rooftop solar flowing back into the grid at retail rates as a financial threat. But rooftop solar owners don't want to sell at wholesale prices because their generation offsets their use. The Minnesota-Powered Plan accommodates both concerns. It grows base load by incentivizing the use of EVs and heat pumps, more than offsetting the increased residential solar generation. At the same time, it caps net metering at 120% of annual use, so homeowners get the full value of what they generate, but utilities aren't asked to subsidize them. Utilities get more business and aren't hurt, while homeowners get a fair deal for their own electricity. After all, shouldn't rural electric cooperatives be buying power from their members, instead of importing it from outside the state?
  • Another REA concern is that large-scale adoption of residential solar will load the system with electricity generated by people who don't pay for grid upkeep. The Minnesota-Powered Plan addresses this by increasing the base load that utilities deliver, and because more power is consumed locally, it reduces line loss (wasted utility money)and grid use (utility expenses), making the grid more efficient. Rebecca wants to work with utilities to find win-win solutions so utilities can take on this massive, historic tripling of their market by providing clean power to drive cars and heat and cool homes.
  • Minnesota was the site of the first wind farm between California and Denmark. We've always led. Tweet This With more than 10.6 million megawatt hours of wind electricity produced in 2016, Minnesota now ranks sixth in the nation, so we've fallen a little behind. At about 2 cents per kilowatt hour it is cheaper to build new wind power than it is to keep operating existing coal plants that are fully paid for. The Minnesota-Powered Plan provides incentives to utilities and REAs to increase their wind power portfolios. Rebecca also wants to remove regulatory barriers and offer low-interest loans to farmers who want to invest in commercial wind generator cooperatives.
  • In terms of solar, enough sunlight falls on Earth in one hour to meet all of Earth's energy needs for an entire year Tweet This , and land dedicated to solar use can in some cases generate more cash per acre than corn or soybeans, providing farmers with a more diversified portfolio and an important hedge against commodity swings. Rebecca wants to remove regulatory barriers to both solar and wind in Greater Minnesota.
  • Rebecca will work with utilities and REAs to help them build clean energy power plants, and will work with the legislature to invest in battery R and D to continue the development of advanced storage solutions. Concentrated solar power and utility geothermal installations help store power now, and can create good-paying jobs in the Greater Minnesota communities they will be built in.

 

INCREASING EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY

  • Communities closest to highways and industry bear the heaviest impact of negative health effects from air pollution. Rebecca's Minnesota-Powered Plan will go a long way toward improving the health of children and families in these communities, as our air becomes cleaner and safer. Not only will this improve health, it will also positively impact school performance.
  • Less wealthy communities in both urban and Greater Minnesota spend a larger portion of their income on energy and transportation costs, which are the same no matter what your income is. Because their overall energy use tends to be lower than average, they stand to gain more than average from the Quarterly Clean Energy Cash Dividends.
  • Minnesotans on a limited or fixed income spend a larger percent of their income on transportation expenses, and often cannot afford a fancy new EV even after state and federal tax credits. The Minnesota-Powered Plan also extends the tax credit to used electric vehicles, making clean, low-cost transportation available to everyone, ending the need to pay for gas and saving an additional average of $766 per year on car repairs. An EV charged with off peak electricity can cost as little as 1/8 the cost of a gas car to operate.
  • The Minnesota-Powered Plan tax credits will apply to rental housing. Federal tax law will give landlords an even greater incentive than homeowners to switch to clean energy because they can accelerate tax depreciation of their investments. This will lower heating and cooling costs for tenants, make units more competitively priced, and reduce the risk of dangerous carbon monoxide or fires.
  • The Minnesota-Powered Plan will allow renters to directly participate in a community solar garden Tweet This that a landlord may install on an apartment building's roof, greatly reducing their electric bill.
  • Landlords will also be more heavily incentivized than homeowners to upgrade windows and lighting, improving the efficiency and aesthetics of their apartment buildings, increasing their value while reducing tenant heating and air conditioning bills.
  • On the employment side, by vastly adding to the number of very good-paying jobs in Minnesota, The Minnesota-Powered Plan will provide more economic opportunity across the state Tweet This , slowly increasing wages for everyone, while driving down living expenses.

 

INVESTING IN CLEAN ENERGY EDUCATION AND R & D

  • There are currently two colleges in Minnesota that train people for the well-paying jobs in the clean energy economy, in western and southwestern Greater Minnesota. Rebecca will work with the legislature to expand clean energy training around the state.
  • Sustained clean energy R & D is a very good investment. Solar power is now competitive with coal and soon it’s going to be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere. Tweet This Since 2008, U.S. solar installations have grown seventeen-fold from 1.2 gigawatts (GW) to around 30 GW as of 2016. This is enough to power 5.7 million homes. The average cost of solar PV panels has dropped more than 80% over that time. By incentivizing research into clean energy we can further extend these cost savings while spinning off the companies that can meet the demand with new clean energy innovation in advanced battery technology and other breakthrough technologies, creating new, high-quality Minnesota jobs.

 

CLEANING UP UTILITY GENERATION

  • Even before switching our electric utilities off fossil fuels, Rebecca’s homeowner incentives will greatly reduce CO2e emissions because powering things with electricity is so much more efficient than using fossil fuels. The Minnesota-Powered Plan will create the market incentives to achieve 70% renewable energy before the next decade is out, and 100% clean energy by 2050, including transportation, by imposing a carbon price on fossil fuel companies upstream.
  • "The wind Xcel Energy is bringing online is lower in cost than our lowest cost coal plant."
    —Christopher Clark
    President, Xcel Energy
  • Rebecca will work with utilities to encourage distributed generation and storage. Increased distributed generation allows for greater grid capacity at lower costs on existing lines, coupled with lower line loss since cogenerated power can be used in the immediate area, providing a double financial benefit to utilities. Our utilities also stand to gain the fossil fuel industry's market, and Rebecca will help make that happen if they commit to making clean power, and making it easy for residents to make clean power as well.
  • Minnesota's two nuclear power plants, Monticello and Prairie Island, accounted for 23% of the state's net electricity generation in 2016. This electricity is carbon-free, but the plants are currently scheduled to be decommissioned in the next 15-20 years. Replacement planning will have to begin soon. Rebecca is committed to working with our utilities to examine this issue, and if decommissioning becomes certain, to incentivize replacement of all retiring plants with zero CO2e emission generation and not with new power plants that burn fossil fuels.

 

OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES

  • The move away from burning fossil fuels and to clean energy has a strong bipartisan history in Minnesota. The Next Generation Energy Act, signed into law by Governor Tim Pawlenty, had the support of 97% of Legislators in 2007. The Climate Solutions and Economic Opportunities project of the Environmental Quality Board with the Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Commerce under Governor Mark Dayton and Lt Governor Tina Smith spurred a bill that was authored by State Senators Nick Frentz and Karin Housley, and State Representatives Erin Maye Quade and Joe Schomacker. The bill, called the 50 by '30 renewable energy standard, built on the success of the Next Generation Energy Act. Although it did not pass, legislators of both major parties agree that we need to address this pressing issue. The Minnesota-Powered Plan will build on our history of bipartisanship.
  • Schools and local governments are already taking steps to reduce energy costs. As State Auditor, Rebecca issued a nationally award-winning report to identify ways to do so. Providing a mechanism for schools and local governments to take charge of their energy will be addressed in other parts of the RenewMN Plan.
  • The Public Utilities Commission makes most regulatory decisions regarding the clean energy economy. Rebecca will support a PUC that is independent and evidence-based, who will continue Minnesota's tradition as a clean energy leader.
  • Rebecca Otto does not support oil pipeline projects like the Keystone XL or Enbridge Line 3 Tweet This going through environmentally sensitive or tribal areas in Minnesota. There is no doubt that transporting oil by pipeline is more efficient than moving it by rail but that efficiency also makes it more environmentally dangerous, because when there is a leak it's often massive. With more than 13,000 lakes and thousands of wetlands, and with tribal lands with ricing lakes and culturally sensitive areas, Minnesota is especially sensitive to oil spills. Rebecca Otto says pipelines should not be run through water sensitive areas or tribal lands. Tweet This After all, wild rice is our state grain.
  • Rebecca will support our federal delegation in efforts to overturn Citizens United. In the 2010 Citizens United case, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow multinational corporations who have no allegiance to any state or community or even any nation to spend unlimited and undisclosed money to influence elections. We are seeing outside groups throw millions of dollars into state house races, which once had a thirty thousand dollar spending cap. These corporate efforts often far outweigh what candidates can raise themselves, to the point that dark money is beginning to control the Democratic process. This decision has allowed the politics of greed to flourish, and our founders would be appalled. It must be reformed, and as your Governor, Rebecca will do all she can to support that reform on a federal and state level.
Obama on a solar farmWe know how to do this. It make economic sense. So let's get busy!

 

 


What people are saying


Top meteorologist Paul Douglas, an evangelical Republican, endorses Democrat Rebecca Otto's Minnesota-Powered Energy Plan Tweet This

"Rebecca Otto's revenue-neutral plan is brilliant."

Leading meteorologist Paul DouglasLeading meteorologist Paul Douglas, a climate change expert and Republican evangelical Christian

"I've been tracking symptoms of a rapidly changing climate for 20 years. Weather patterns have evolved and morphed - it's not your imagination. As a serial entrepreneur and businessman I realize that government can only do so much when it comes to climate change solutions. Government shouldn't be picking winners and losers. The markets and economics will drive the innovation and breakthroughs, the true energy revolution required to methodically wean us off a fossil-fuel-based diet. It's already happening, but we can turn up the dial and move faster. Rebecca Otto's revenue-neutral plan to phase out carbon-based fuels, one where every household in Minnesota gets a check, is brilliant. Put a price on carbon, and then let the free market come up with inventions that will give us everything we need, but with cleaner air, cleaner water, a stable climate, and fewer unpleasant side effects. That's something we can all agree on, regardless of our politics. She's onto something, and I hope her vision will spark discussion - and an acceleration of Minnesota's inevitable clean energy economy."
-Paul Douglas, meteorologist
 Founder: Praedictix, Co-Founder: AerisWeather
 Co-Author of Caring for Creation: The Evangelical's Guide to Climate Change and Healthy Environment


350.org cofounder Bill McKibben endorses Rebecca Otto's Minnesota-Powered Plan Tweet This

"Rebecca Otto has figured out how to build a smart path forward"

350.org founder Bill McKibbenBill McKibben is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement

"The states that go on the offensive against climate change will not just help the planet--they will own a significant chunk of the future. Rebecca Otto realizes the demands of the century we live in, both environmental and economic, and she's figured out how to build a smart path forward."
-Bill McKibben, author, environmentalist, and activist.
 In 1988 he wrote The End of Nature, the first book for a common audience about global warming.
He is a co-founder and Senior Advisor at 350.org, an international climate campaign that works in 188 countries around the world.


Minnesota Climate Scientist John Abraham endorses Rebecca Otto's Minnesota Powered Plan Tweet This

"The boldest clean energy plan I’ve seen in the nation... It’s a big, big idea."

University of St Thomas Climate Scientist John AbrahamUniversity of St Thomas Climate Scientist John Abraham"

"Rebecca Otto’s Minnesota-Powered plan is the boldest clean energy plan I’ve seen in the nation. This unique plan to puts a price on carbon and uses it to fund checks to every Minnesotan, coupled with tax credits that grow good-paying jobs and even further speed the transition to clean energy. Stacked with federal tax credits and utility incentives, the cost of a clean energy upgrade could become so low that you could finance it with no money down and come out ahead on day one. It’s a big, big idea." 
—John Abraham, climate scientist
Professor of Thermal Sciences, University of St Thomas. He researches in climate monitoring and renewable energy generation.
Author of 170 journal papers, books, edited works, and conference presentations, and writer at Climate Consensus - the 97% for The Guardian


Top Climate Scientist Michael Mann endorses Rebecca Otto for Minnesota Governor Tweet This

"I urge everyone to join me in supporting Rebecca Otto for Governor of Minnesota"

Michael Mann and the original hockey stick graphClimate Scientist Michael Mann created the most iconic chart in climate science - the "hockey stick" showing historical temperatures

"Rebecca Otto is a shining example of the kind of integrity and leadership we hope for in our elected leaders but too rarely see: someone who puts their money where their mouth is. I’m proud to support Rebecca Otto for Governor of Minnesota, and urge everyone who is concerned about climate change and clean energy to join me in supporting her. After studying the evidence, Rebecca and her husband Shawn became national leaders in charting ways for governments to reduce fossil fuel energy use, and in combating industry propaganda campaigns that sow doubt about the billions of points of evidence that all point in the same direction. As the Minnesota State Auditor, Rebecca issued a nationally award-winning report on how local governments can reduce energy costs dramatically by switching to clean, carbon-free energy sources. Shawn has authored two books on the War on Science, on what the evidence says about climate change, and on how we can combat the disinformation and move forward; he also cofounded the US presidential science debate initiative and was involved in planning the March for Science. The couple built and live in a solar and wind-powered home and drive electric vehicles. Rebecca wants to make Minnesota a national leader in tackling climate change and creating well-paying new jobs in the clean energy economy, and I’m confident she will achieve her goal with our support. We need her leadership to help move the ball forward globally on this pressing issue." 
—Michael Mann, climate scientist
Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Penn State University
Co-author with Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles of The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy 


 

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