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Good News in 2021: Fresh Energy's Executive Director Michael Noble Highlights 5 Stories of Equitable Clean Energy Policy

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Fresh Energy Executive Director Michael Noble

We had the chance to talk with Michael Noble, Executive Director of Fresh Energy on the KAXE/KBXE Morning Show today. We asked Michael to look back at 2021 and give us the good news when it comes to cleaner energy and a stronger economy. Here are some of the stories he highlighted:

Xcel Energy cancels plans for new fossil gas plant. After three years of Fresh Energy analysis and advocacy, Xcel Energy removed plans for a new fossil gas plant in Becker, Minnesota, from its Integrated Resource Plan. This move will save Xcel customers hundreds of millions of dollars and prevent tons of new greenhouse gas emissions.

Minnesota Legislature makes broad investments in solar. The final 2021 bonding bill included a suite of new investments in Minnesota’s growing solar energy sector. The bill included over $18 million for solar on schools, a two-year extension of Xcel’s Solar Rewards, and more.

Multiple EV charging pilots advancing. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Minnesota Power’s Residential Charging Rewards and Rebate Pilot, a proposal Fresh Energy supported and advocated for renters and multifamily residents to be eligible. Fresh Energy was also a key supporter of Xcel Energy’s $4.4 million proposal to install charging stations at both market-rate and affordable
multifamily housing, a first-of-its-kind solution that will expand home charging to more EV owners.

Minnesota becomes the first “clean cars” state in the Midwest and 15th in the country. The culmination of 13 years of research and advocacy at Fresh Energy, Minnesota’s adoption of clean car standards is a major step forward in getting our state back on track to meet its climate goals, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 million metric tons annually by 2030 and 2.5 million metric tons annually by 2050. The policy will also increase Minnesotans’ options for electric vehicles, protect our pocketbooks at the gas pump and slash maintenance costs, help grow the state’s economy by keeping energy dollars local, and position Minnesota as a place for EV innovation and investment.

Heidi Holtan has worked at KAXE/KBXE for over 22 years. She currently helms the Morning Show as News and Public Affairs Director where she manages producers, hosts local interviews and programs, oversees and manages web stories and establishes focus areas of programming like phenology, clean energy, Indigenous voices, Strong Women, local foods, clean energy, economic development and more. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North. In 2018 Heidi received the “Building Bridges in Media” award from the Islamic Resource Group for her work on KAXE/KBXE hosting conversations about anti-Muslim movements in rural Minnesota. During the pandemic, Heidi hosted 14 months of a weekly statewide conversation on COVID-19 for the AMPERS network.