Initially, consumers may pay a slightly increased rate for their power, but the bill includes measures to protect consumers if costs get too high, The Fergus Falls Daily reported. In the long run, Sen. Dan Skogen believes the hike will power research into affordable alternatives.
"Utility rates will pick up because the cost of renewables is more expensive right now, so energy bills will go up," he said. "But maybe that will be an incentive to do further research on renewables to improve the costs."
This legislation has been in the pipeline for a while and since before that Minnesota Power was already requiring a minimum percentage of renewable generation, said representative for Minnesota Power at the 2007 Wind Power Finance and Investment Summit in San Diego.
Minnesota has historically been a major player in wind; it has one of the top five capacity potentials in the United States along the same lines of Texas and Washington. The first phase of Fenton, a major wind farm near Pipestone, was recently completed and the second phase is now under way and is expected to be operational by 2008.