Senate Counsel, Research
and Fiscal Analysis
G-17 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
(651) 296-4791
Fax: (651) 296-7747
Jo Anne M. Zoff
State of Minnesota
S.F. No. 3337 - Conference Committee Report, Energy Omnibus Bill
Author: Senator Yvonne Prettner Solon
Prepared by: Darlene Sliwa, Senate Research (651/296-1890)
Date: May 7, 2008

Article 1

Section 1, subdivision 3 (Cost Recovery; Subrogation) provides that the Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board may recover expenses incurred by the Pollution Control Agency in taking a corrective action.

Section 2, subdivision 3h (Reimbursement; Aboveground Tanks in Bulk Plants) removes obsolete language.

Section 3, subdivision 3k (PVC Piping at Residential Locations), paragraph (a) provides that the purpose of the subdivision is to assist homeowners who have installed PVC fill piping as part of their residential heating oil system.

Paragraph (b) defines "residential locations" and "qualified person."

Paragraph (c) requires the Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board to reimburse a qualified person 90 percent of the cost for replacement of the PVC piping between May 1, 2008, and September 1, 2011. Reimbursement may not exceed $250 per residential location and the maximum expenditure from the fund may not exceed $1.5 million.

Paragraph (d) provides that a heating oil vendor is not responsible for a heating oil spill that is solely caused by the failure of a tank or appurtenance owned by the homeowner.

Section 4 [Copies of Appraisal to Landowner] requires specified entities to provide a property owner with a copy of each appraisal before presenting a petition to acquire the property.

Section 5, subdivision 7b (Transmission Cost Adjustment) authorizes the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve a tariff that allows a utility to recover charges that accrue from other transmission owners' regionally planned transmission projects that the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) determines benefit the utility. Authorizes the PUC to approve a tariff that allows a utility to recover the costs net of revenues of facilities exempt from the certificate of need requirements.

Section 6, subdivision 1 (Commission Authority) expands the PUC's authority to approve power purchase contracts, investments, and expenditures made to satisfy the wind and biomass mandates and the renewable energy objectives and standards by including storage for facilities that contribute to the reliability, efficiency, or cost-effectiveness of renewable facilities.

Section 7, subdivision 2 (Cost Recovery) authorizes the PUC to approve a rate schedule providing for the automatic recovery of expenses approved by the PUC under subdivision 1.

Section 8, subdivision 2a (Cost Recovery for Owned Renewable Facilities) authorizes a utility to recover costs associated with a facility that satisfies the renewable energy obligations, provided that the facility has a previously approved resource plan or certificate of need, or if the PUC determines that the facility is reasonable and prudent. Authorizes the PUC to approve a rate schedule that allows recovery of expenses for energy storage directly related to a renewable energy project.

Section 9, subdivision 5a (Qualifying Solar Energy Project) authorizes a utility or association to include qualifying solar energy projects in its conservation plan programs. Specifies how cost-effectiveness may be determined and how energy savings may be counted. Prohibits the consideration of qualifying solar energy projects in the establishment of demand-side management targets.

Section 10, subdivision 1 (Generation Projects) authorizes a municipality, rural electric association, or public utility to use five percent of the amount to be spent on energy conservation improvements on Minnesota projects that install a qualifying solar energy project.

Section 11, subdivision 2 (Definitions) defines "qualifying solar energy project," "qualifying solar thermal project," "qualifying solar electric project," "residential property," and "small business." Expands the definition of "eligible renewable energy source" to include solar from a qualified solar energy project.

Section 12, subdivision 1 (Farm-Grown Closed-Loop Biomass) changes the definition of "farm-grown closed-loop biomass" from biomass to herbaceous crops, trees, agricultural waste, and aquatic plant matter used to generate electricity. Excludes municipal solid waste from the definition.

Section 13, subdivision 9 (Renewable Energy Standard Facilities) exempts a wind energy conversion system or a solar electric generation facility that meets the renewable energy obligations from the certificate of need requirement, provided that specified criteria are met.

Section 14 [Legislative Energy Commission], subdivision 2 (Establishment) eliminates the Legislative Electric Energy Task Force from statute and replaces it with the Legislative Energy Commission (Commission). Specifies the composition of the Commission and the appointment process.

Subdivision 2a (Subcommittee) authorizes the Commission to establish subcommittees necessary to perform its duties.

Subdivision 3 (Duties) specifies the duties of the Commission, including to continuously evaluate state energy policies and the degree to which they promote an environmentally and economically sustainable energy future, and to monitor the state's progress in achieving the renewable energy standard and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Provides that the Commission may study, analyze, hold hearings, and make legislative recommendations on specified energy-related subjects.

Subdivision 3a (Nuclear Report) makes a technical change.

Subdivision 4a eliminates the current requirements for a report and recommendations.

Subdivision 6 eliminates the current requirements for assessment and appropriation.

Subdivision 7 eliminates the current task force guidelines, definitions, and rank order of preferred electric generation sources.

Subdivision 8 makes technical changes.

Subdivision 8a eliminates the requirement that the task force annually request specified information from the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board.

Subdivision 9 eliminates the expiration date of the section.

Subdivision 10 (Data from State Agencies) requires a state agency to promptly reply to the Commission's request for data.

Subdivision 11 (Assessment; Appropriation) requires the Commissioner of Commerce to assess, upon Commission request, an amount not in excess of $250,000 in a fiscal year from specified sources. Requires the Commissioner to apportion the assessment as specified.

Section 15, subdivision 3a (Project Notice) requires an applicant to provide notice to each local government within a proposed route for a high-voltage transmission line at least 90 days before filing an application as specified.

Section 16, subdivision 3b (Preapplication Consultation Meetings) provides that within 30 days of receiving a project notice, local units of government may request an applicant to hold a consultation meeting.

Section 17, subdivision 4 (Application Notice) makes technical, clarifying changes.

Section 18 [Size Election], paragraph (a) specifies the requirements an owner must meet for a wind energy conversion system of 25 megawatts of nameplate capacity to be considered a small wind energy conversion system.

Paragraph (b) provides that a wind energy conversion system with a nameplate capacity exceeding five megawatts, that is proposed to be located within a wind access buffer adjacent to state recreational lands, is a large wind energy conversion system. Requires the Department of Natural Resources to negotiate in good faith regarding siting and authorizes the Department to support a variance from system setback requirements.

Paragraph (c) requires the PUC to submit an annual report to the Legislature regarding variances applied for and not granted.

Section 19 [WECS Aggregation Program], subdivision 1 (Program Established) establishes the Wind Energy Conversion System (WECS) Aggregation Program to create a clearinghouse to coordinate and arrange umbrella sales arrangements for specified entities to aggregate small-volume purchases, as a group, in order to place large orders for wind energy conversions systems.

Subdivision 2 (Responsibilities) requires the entity that establishes the program to provide application procedures, set minimum standards, set eligibility considerations and requirements for purchasers, provide a minimal framework for soliciting or contacting manufacturers, and coordinate purchase agreements.

Subdivision 3 (Report) requires the Commissioner of Commerce to submit an annual report to the Legislature on the activities and results of the program.

Subdivision 4 (Assessment; Appropriation) requires an assessment of up to $100,000 for annual costs of the program.

Section 20 [Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Attainment; Policy Development Process], subdivision 1 (Definitions) defines "reductions" for purposes of the section.

Subdivision 2 (Purpose) provides that the intent of the section is to create a nonexclusive, regular, mandated process for the state to develop policies to attain its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Subdivision 3 (Biennial Reduction Progress Report) requires the Commissioners of Commerce and the Pollution Control Agency to submit an biennial report to the Legislature on the level of greenhouse gas reductions already achieved and the level necessary to achieve the reductions timetable.

Subdivision 4 (Annual Legislative Proposal) requires the Commissioners of Commerce and the Pollution Control Agency to submit an annual report with proposed legislation that is determined to be appropriate to achieve the greenhouse gas reductions.

Subdivision 5 (Reduction Principles) requires the proposed legislation to be based on specified principles.

Section 21 [Definitions] defines "applicability," "agency," "carbon dioxide equivalent," "commissioner," "global warming," "global warming potential or GWP," "high-GWP greenhouse gas," "mobile air conditioner," "motor vehicle," "new motor vehicle," and "refrigerant."

Section 22 [High-GWP Greenhouse Gas Reporting] requires manufacturers of high-GWP greenhouse gas to submit an annual report to the Pollution Control Agency (PCA) on the total amount of each high-GWP greenhouse gas sold to a purchaser in the state. Requires a person in the state who purchases 500 metric tons or more carbon dioxide equivalent of high-GWP greenhouse gas to report to the PCA on the total amount of each high-GWP greenhouse gas purchased and the purpose for which the gas was used.

Section 23 [Mobile Air Conditioner Leakage Rates; Disclosure] requires a manufacturer selling a motor vehicle in this state that contains a mobile air conditioner that uses the high-GWP greenhouse gas HFC-134a (1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane) as a refrigerant to report the leakage rate as specified to the PCA, 90 days prior to the sale. Requires the Attorney General to post leakage rates and a related disclosure on its Web site.

Section 24 [Enforcement] provides that Minnesota Statutes, sections 216H.10 to 216H.12 (relating to high-GWP greenhouse gas), may be enforced under section 116.072 (Administrative Penalties).

Section 25, subdivision 2 (Like any Conveyance) eliminates the provision that a wind easement, easement to install wind turbines on real property, option, or lease of wind rights shall terminate after seven years from the date the easement is created or lease is entered into, if the project does not begin commercial operation within that period.

Section 26 [Report] requires the Commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency to submit a report to the Legislature that identifies the uses and emissions sources of hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride in this state and recommends options for the reduction or elimination of the uses, emissions, and cost of implementing the options.

Section 27 [Solar Rating and Certification Laboratory] requires the Director of the Office of Energy Security to convene a technical stakeholder group to develop criteria and characteristics for a Minnesota-based solar rating and certification laboratory. Requires the Director to issue a request for proposals for the development of the plan. Requires the Director to submit a report to the Legislature detailing the responses to the request making recommendations.

Section 28 [Size Election Stakeholder Group] directs the Commissioner of Commerce to convene a Size Election Stakeholder Group to evaluate the effect of new Minnesota Statutes, section 216F.012, on the process for obtaining a site permit for wind energy conversion systems with a combined nameplate capacity between five and 25 megawatts. Specifies the composition of the stakeholder group. Requires the stakeholder group to submit a report to the Legislature. Provides for reimbursement of expenses.

Section 29 [State Video Franchising Study] directs the Department of Commerce to contract with the University of Minnesota for a study on the impact of legislation enacted in at least three states that requires franchises for video service to be issued by a state agency. Specifies the content that must be considered in the study. Requires the Department to submit a report to the Legislature.

Section 30 [Broadband Mapping Project] directs the Commissioner of Commerce to contract with a nonprofit organization to develop geographical information system maps that display levels of broadband service by connection speed and technology and integrated maps with demographic information. The maps will be used to produce a comprehensive statewide inventory and map of existing broadband service and capability. Specifies the information that must be included in the maps. Defines "technology" or "technologies."

Section 31 [Wind Property Interest Mediation and Report] directs the Commissioner of Commerce to convene a workgroup to mediate differences concerning the termination of property interests related to wind energy systems development. Requires the Commissioner to submit a report to the Legislature on the results of its investigation regarding a factual basis for concern that wind energy development may be hindered if termination of property interests is not required by law if development has not occurred over a specified time.

Section 32 [Appropriation; Department of Commerce] appropriates $175,000 in fiscal year 2009 for the broadband mapping project and $85,000 in fiscal year 2009 for the state video franchising study. Both appropriations are from the telecommunications access Minnesota fund account.

Section 33 [Authorization] authorizes the Director of the Legislative Coordinating Commission to expend money appropriated for the use of the Legislative Electric Energy Task Force for the purposes of the Legislative Energy Commission.

Section 34 [Revisor's Instruction] contains a Revisor's instruction.

Section 35 [Repealer] repeals Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 115C.09, subdivision 3j (Reimbursement: Retail Locations and Transport Vehicles).

Article 2

Section 1, subdivision 3 (Standards for State-Funded Outdoor Lighting Fixtures), paragraph (a) provides that an outdoor lighting fixture may be installed or replaced using state funds under specified circumstances.

Paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) specify exemptions from the outdoor lighting fixture requirements.


Check on the status of this bill

Back to Senate Counsel and Research Bill Summaries page

This page is maintained by the Office of Senate Counsel, Research, and Fiscal Analysis for the Minnesota Senate.

Last review or update: 05/07/2008

If you see any errors on this page, please e-mail us at