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Future is with renewable energy

To the Editor:

Despite Rep. Steve Drazkowski's characterization (R-E, Oct. 17), Minnesota's Renewable Energy Standard is a very popular and successful policy that has generated economic development all across our state.

Through intense negotiations, we crafted this policy in 2007 and passed it with the support of all of the Minnesota-based stakeholders including the Governor's Office, utility companies, Chamber of Commerce, environmental organizations and others.

Since that time, utilities have been making a good faith effort to fulfill the requirements of the standard.

According to a a Department of Commerce's Office of Energy Security report, Xcel Energy has plans to add 746.8 megawatts of renewable energy by 2010. This energy will come from wind, biomass and hydro sources and will ensure that Xcel will be in compliance with the RES's requirement in 2010.

Drazkowski is also critical of an industry that has the potential to bring over 18,000 jobs to Minnesota as our state faces one of its most serious economic challenges.

In 2008, 91 percent of the world's wind turbines and components came from Denmark, Germany, India, Japan, and Spain. Instead of importing these products from other countries, we need to ensure that our renewable energy products carry the "Made in Minnesota" sticker. In northeastern Minnesota alone, for example, there have been 18 individual economic development efforts to build wind generator plants.

There is much more work to do and now is not the time to step away from our efforts. Last session, I continued to meet with Minnesota's utilities and other stakeholders to identify and correct any challenges they were experiencing in reaching this Standard. Through these discussions, I am confident Minnesota will be able to continue our progress toward a cleaner energy future that will help generate money for our state, communities and landowners.

Yvonne Prettner-Solon

Dululth, Minn.

Democrat Yvonne Prettner-Solon represents Senate District 7 and is chair of the Senate Utilities, Technology and Communications Committee.