Senate Report: Democrats’ ‘Blackout Bill’ raises Minnesota’s energy costs yet lowers reliability

Published 8:45 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

Senate Report by Gene Dornink

Friends and neighbors,

Gene Dornink

We all know how severe Minnesota winters can be, and that is why we need dependable power when our temperatures dip below zero. However, the Democrats’ 100% carbon-free bill, rightfully known as the “Blackout Bill,” will put Minnesotans out in the cold and shut us off from reliable and affordable energy.

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This proposal would require the entirety of Minnesota’s electricity to be from carbon-free sources by 2040. This is particularly concerning, as it would shut off politically unfavored energy sources (like natural gas and coal), putting our state’s energy future in great jeopardy.

First, the carbon-free mandate would be immensely costly for Minnesota consumers. Energy experts estimate families would see their electric bills increase by an average of nearly $1,650 per year. With Minnesotans already facing high energy prices, we should be taking steps to decrease, not intensify, this burden.

The Democrats’ proposal also does not include nuclear, so it is not a genuine effort to be carbon-free. Nuclear is a carbon-free, zero-emission energy source that generates a massive amount of energy while only using a small amount of fuel. Therefore, Senate Republicans tried to amend this zero-carbon legislation to include nuclear as a renewable energy source, but Senate Democrats ultimately rejected this.

Not only is the zero-carbon electricity mandate costly to Minnesota, but it would lessen the reliability of our energy future. There are already great stresses on the Midwest power grid. And as a result, our state faces devastating blackouts like those we have seen in California, Texas and North Carolina. That is why we must ensure Minnesota has enough new, reliable energy generation in place until we shut down our existing supply of energy.

Many concerns have been raised on this legislation, yet very little time was allocated for stakeholders, or even senators, to voice their concerns. I have personally heard from many constituents on this topic, and only six have voiced their support for this proposal. Still, the Democratic majority forced this legislation through committee and to a floor vote on Thursday.

Senate Republicans offered a number of amendments during the vigorous debate. Democrats, however, were unwilling to vote for any amendment and chose to pass an extreme energy policy that will raise costs, reduce reliability, and is in fact dangerous.

Contact me

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me. I want to hear your thoughts and your priorities for this legislative session. Feel free to email me at or give me a call at 651-296-5240.

Gene Dornink, R-Brownsdale, is the District 23 senator.