Editor's note: The following summary represents state and utility stances after the Supreme Court stayed the Clean Power Plan in February 2016.
Unlike some of its neighbors, Minnesota has pledged to move forward with preparations to comply with the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan regardless of the recent stay imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"While the Court's temporary stay is disappointing, it does nothing to diminish our resolve in Minnesota to keep moving forward on clean energy initiatives, including the development of our state's Clean Power Plan," Gov. Mark Dayton (D) said.
"The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is continuing to review implications of the stay but plans to continue engagement efforts on the rule in order to ensure that Minnesota is well-positioned to respond to any possible outcomes of Clean Power Plan litigation," air policy planner Melissa Andersen Kuskie said.
Minnesota has been among the most active states in planning for the EPA rule, and officials say the state's utilities should meet the emissions requirements using either a rate- or mass-based strategy.
The plan requires Minnesota to cut its carbon dioxide emissions rate by 42 percent, to 1,213 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour.
"Our utilities are already engaged in actions that need to be taken to reduce the carbon intensity of our power sector, and they've been at it for some time," Frank Kohlasch, air quality program manager at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said in December.
Existing state policies had already prodded Minnesota utilities to close more than a dozen coal-fired electric plants, including two of the largest coal units in the state at Xcel Energy Inc.'s Sherburne County Generating Station in Becker. Duluth-based Minnesota Power has said it will seek a generation mix of ⅓ coal, ⅓ gas and ⅓ renewable energy under its latest integrated resource management plan. Yet it remains concerned about how the Clean Power Plan will affect the Boswell Energy Station, a baseload coal plant in Cohasset, Minn.
Minnesota currently gets more than half of its electricity from coal, but all of the state's utilities expect to be able to keep cutting emissions by adding more natural gas, wind and solar power to the state's grid.
One key priority for Minnesota as it drafts its compliance plan is coordination with neighboring states, particularly North Dakota and South Dakota. Both states ship large amounts of coal-fired electricity into Minnesota via high-voltage transmission lines. Regulators say they want to align Minnesota's compliance efforts with neighboring states to help facilitate trading of emissions allotments under a mass-based scheme or credits under a rate-based reduction program.
Last updated on May 19, 2016 at 6:17 PM