Rebecca Otto is running for governor of Minnesota, and she has some good, progressive ideas for improving our energy self-reliance.
Here’s the elevator speech version: Minnesota residents get around five thousand dollars cash (over several years), monetary incentives to upgrade all their energy using devices from furnaces to cars, some 80,000 new, high paying jobs, and in the end, the state is essentially fossil fuel free.
About half of that fossil fuel free goal comes directly from the plan itself, the other half from the economy and markets passing various tipping points that this plan will hasten. The time scale for the plan is roughly 10 years, but giving the plan a careful reading I suspect some goals will be reached much more quickly. This means that once the plan takes off, Minnesotans will have an incentive to hold their elected officials accountable for holding the course for at least a decade.
I like it. It’s incremental, it provides incentives for citizens to do things that will be good for them and the state, and it’s a great long term investment. My only concerns at this point are that the sums are on the small side — I could use $5K to make some small improvements in energy efficiency in my house, but big changes require bigger capital investment — and it’s not obvious how these incremental investments will get us to the point of being free from fossil fuels. There are more details, and I’ll have to look into it.
Even if it cuts fossil fuel usage by 20%, though, that’s an improvement worth doing. I might have to vote for this person in the next election and get this plan implemented.