Minneapolis – July 6, 2021 – A landmark new state law will help Minnesota's natural gas utilities move forward with development of innovative clean energy resources and technologies, including made-in-Minnesota renewable natural gas and green hydrogen.
Passed with bipartisan support during the June special legislative session and signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz, the Natural Gas Innovation Act was proposed by CenterPoint Energy, Minnesota's largest natural gas utility serving more than 890,000 residential and business customers.
"Natural gas is indispensable to meeting Minnesota's energy needs," said Brad Tutunjian, CenterPoint Energy Vice President-Minnesota Region. "We're committed to delivering reliable, affordable energy while also pursuing innovative solutions to help our customers limit the climate impact of their natural gas use. This new law will help promote new Minnesota-produced, low-carbon or zero-carbon gas resources that can diversify the state's energy supply, improve waste management and support new economic development."
The law creates a state regulatory policy that offers new opportunities for a natural gas utility to provide customers access to renewable energy resources and innovative technologies that reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission must review and approve a utility's "innovation plan," with a limit on the cost impact for ratepayers.
CenterPoint Energy will likely submit its first innovation plan under the new law as soon as next year. Examples of innovation allowed by the new law include:
- Renewable natural gas produced by recycling biogas from organic materials such as agricultural manure, wastewater, food waste and agricultural or forest waste;
- Green hydrogen produced by using renewable electricity to split water to create a carbon-free gas that can be blended with conventional natural gas;
- End-use carbon capture technology that converts emissions from natural gas space or water heating equipment into a powder which can be recycled into commercial products; and
- Leading-edge energy efficiency technologies that would not be eligible for funding through the existing Conservation Improvement Program.
A broad-based coalition of groups supported the legislation, including the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), Minnesota Pipe Trades Association, Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), Partnership on Waste and Energy, and Conservation Minnesota.
The legislation was authored by Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-District 36A), of Coon Rapids, and Sen. Bill Weber (R-District 22), of Luverne.
"The Natural Gas Innovation Act is a major opportunity for Minnesota to build on the important clean energy success we have already achieved," said Rep. Stephenson, who is Chair of the House Commerce Committee and a member of the House Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Committee. "This new law creates a forward-looking framework that will help our natural gas utilities innovate and invest in renewable resources to address climate change and continue Minnesota's clean energy transition."
"The Natural Gas Innovation Act provides a responsible pathway for our state's energy future by prioritizing new technology and homegrown, made-in-Minnesota resources," said Sen. Weber, who serves as Assistant Senate Majority Leader. "In particular, renewable natural gas made from agricultural waste holds great economic potential for Minnesota's farmers and rural communities, while also protecting the environment and helping Minnesota meet its energy needs."
To learn more, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/CleanEnergyMN
About CenterPoint Energy
As the only investor-owned electric and gas utility based in Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) is an energy delivery company with electric transmission and distribution, power generation and natural gas distribution operations that serve more than 7 million metered customers in Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. As of March 31, 2021, the company owned approximately $36 billion in assets and also owned 53.7 percent of the common units representing limited partner interests in Enable Midstream Partners, LP, a publicly traded master limited partnership that owns, operates and develops strategically located natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With approximately 9,500 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 150 years. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.
Forward Looking Statement:
This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this news release, the words "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "potential," "should," "target," "will" or other similar words are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions of management which are believed to be reasonable at the time made and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual events and results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Any statements in this news release regarding future events, such as the anticipated impact and benefits of the Natural Gas Innovation Act, including opportunities related to the development of energy resources and technologies as well as the expected benefits to customers, climate and the economy, the timing of the submission of an innovation plan under the new law and associated regulatory approval, and any other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement contained in this news release speaks only as of the date of this release. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the provided forward-looking information include risks and uncertainties relating to: (1) the impact of COVID-19; (2) financial market conditions; (3) general economic conditions; (4) the timing and impact of future regulatory and legislative decisions; (5) effects of competition; (6) weather variations; (7) changes in business plans; and (8) other factors, risks and uncertainties discussed in CenterPoint Energy's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, CenterPoint Energy's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2021 and other reports CenterPoint Energy or its subsidiaries may file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.