Wind Farm

North Dakota May Sue Minnesota Over Renewable Energy

Minnesota passed a law requiring all energy used to be from renewable sources by 2040 and North Dakota is mad.   March 8, 2023

By Greg Zimmerman, senior contributing editor

The state of North Dakota is planning to sue the state of Minnesota over Minnesota’s new law signed in February 2023 that requires Minnesota’s electricity utilities to produce 100 percent clean energy by 2040.  

Wait, what? Why would North Dakota care what Minnesota does with its power grid?   

Here are the details, according to Grist. Electricity grids, of course, cross state lines, and North Dakota utilities contributes up to 50 percent of the electricity it generates to other states, including Minnesota’s energy market which is its biggest customer. But most of North Dakota’s electricity is generated with fossil fuels. So officials in North Dakota are annoyed that Minnesota can tell them how to produce their electricity – or probably more accurately, are worried about losing a big customer.  

The lawsuit hasn’t been filed yet, but the North Dakota Industrial Commission is requesting $3 million of state taxpayer dollars from the state legislature to pay for legal fees. 

Legal analysts say Minnesota’s law is on solid legal ground because it says all electricity used in Minnesota must be fossil-fuel free, not just electricity generated in Minnesota or outside of Minnesota. A 2015 precedent of similar law in Colorado has been upheld in federal court, with the decision written by conservative judge Neil Gorsuch, who is now on the Supreme Court. 

Greg Zimmerman is senior contributing editor for FacilitiesNet.com and Building Operating Management magazine. 


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