Energy News Network
A new Minnesota law aims to help natural gas utilities innovate and diversify their businesses as the state works to eliminate carbon emissions.
The Natural Gas Innovation Act encourages gas companies to file with regulators “innovation plans” that decarbonize their operations. Utilities can recover costs of pilot projects and use results to meet their goals in the state’s Conservation Improvement Program.
The legislation is aimed at helping gas utilities to introduce renewable natural gas, develop hydrogen-based fuels from renewables, fund energy efficiency projects, and encourage district energy, carbon capture and geothermal heating.
The law received widespread support from unions, utilities, clean energy groups, and both parties in the nation’s only divided state legislature. It became one of three major energy bills to reach Gov. Tim Walz’s desk this year.
Minnesota natural gas utilities can now help customers make that switch to electric heat and move into a host of other energy solutions related to decarbonization.
“Natural gas is indispensable to meeting Minnesota’s energy needs,” said Brad Tutunjian, vice president of CenterPoint Energy in Minnesota, in a prepared statement. “This new law will help promote new Minnesota-produced, low-carbon or zero-carbon gas resources that can diversify the state’s energy supply, improve waste management and support new economic development.”