MINNEAPOLIS — Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan held a ceremonial bill signing Tuesday to celebrate the Energy Conservation and Optimization Act (ECO). According to a press release sent out by the governor's office, the bill would strengthen energy conservation programs in Minnesota, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create local jobs through electrical, heating and cooling, ventilation and insulation projects in Minnesotan homes and businesses.
“The ECO Act will ensure that Minnesota continues to be leader in energy policy,” said Governor Walz. “This nation-leading energy conservation legislation will help Minnesota families and small businesses save money, create good-paying jobs, and, most importantly, protect Minnesota’s environment for generations to come.”
“Through the ECO Act, with investments in conservation, and through Minnesota’s Energy and Weatherization Assistance Programs, we are reducing the energy burden for Minnesotans who have been spending too much of their incomes to keep their homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan.
According to the same release, the ECO act would update and expand Minnesota's Conservation Improvement Program (CIP), a program of which helps Minnesotan households and businesses use electricity and natural gas more efficiently.
Changes would include:
- Requiring energy efficiency improvements for public schools in utility plans.
- Expanding eligibility for low-income households.
- Increasing conservation goals for investor-owned utilities.
- Providing additional flexibility for cooperatives in meeting their conservation requirements and reducing paperwork requirements.
Through the CIP program, the new legislation would create jobs through various electrical, heating/cooling, ventilation, and insulation installation projects throughout Minnesota. The projects would ordinarily be designed and carried out by local businesses and installed by state licensed contractors, using locally sourced products.