Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast

Our Clean Energy and Climate Plans for the 2024 Legislative Session

January 22, 2024 Fresh Energy Season 5 Episode 1
Our Clean Energy and Climate Plans for the 2024 Legislative Session
Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast
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Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast
Our Clean Energy and Climate Plans for the 2024 Legislative Session
Jan 22, 2024 Season 5 Episode 1
Fresh Energy

The 2024 session of the Minnesota Legislature begins on February 12. Join the Fresh Energy team for a conversation about our plans and expectations for the coming session. We'll discuss what it takes to be effective advocates at the Minnesota Legislature, what a typical “bonding year” has in store, and Fresh Energy's priorities for the 2024 legislative session.

Podcast Guests:
Brenda Cassellius, Executive Director
Justin Fay, Senior Lead, Public Affairs and Advocacy
Anna Johnson, Senior Manager, State and Local Affairs
Host: Jo Olson, Lead Director, Communications and Engagement

Further Reading:
- Blog: Meet the Public Affairs team
- Blog: Our top 23 accomplishments of 2023
- Blog: 2023 legislative debrief

Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at, or by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!

Show Notes Transcript

The 2024 session of the Minnesota Legislature begins on February 12. Join the Fresh Energy team for a conversation about our plans and expectations for the coming session. We'll discuss what it takes to be effective advocates at the Minnesota Legislature, what a typical “bonding year” has in store, and Fresh Energy's priorities for the 2024 legislative session.

Podcast Guests:
Brenda Cassellius, Executive Director
Justin Fay, Senior Lead, Public Affairs and Advocacy
Anna Johnson, Senior Manager, State and Local Affairs
Host: Jo Olson, Lead Director, Communications and Engagement

Further Reading:
- Blog: Meet the Public Affairs team
- Blog: Our top 23 accomplishments of 2023
- Blog: 2023 legislative debrief

Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at, or by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!

Jo Olson: [00:00:10] Hello and welcome to Decarbonize the Clean Energy Podcast from Fresh Energy. Fresh Energy is a Minnesota nonprofit working to speed our state's transition to a clean energy economy. My name is Jo Olsen. I'm the lead director of communications and engagement here at Fresh Energy, and also your host for most of today's podcast. Um, thank you to the band Palm Psalm for providing our theme song that you just heard. It is DGAF off of their album "Otuhaka". Get the latest from the band at All right, well, today I am excited to be joined by Fresh Energy's Executive Director, Brenda Cassellius, our Senior Manager of State and Local Affairs, Anna Johnson, and our Senior Lead of Public Affairs and advocacy, Justin Fay. Welcome, everyone. Are you warmed up and and ready to talk for the most part already?


Justin Fay: [00:01:09] Jo? Great.


Brenda Cassellius: [00:01:11] Ready to go, Jo?


Jo Olson: [00:01:13] Well, so I thought we'd kick off this legislative outlook podcast by first talking to Brenda a little bit about what it takes to be an effective advocate at the Minnesota Legislature. So for this part, I am going to go against my better judgment and turn the mic over to Justin Fay, who I know has some questions for Brenda about her experience and perspective as a former cabinet commissioner and school superintendent. Justin, you're the host now. Take it away.


Justin Fay: [00:01:44] Wow, you are living dangerously, Jo. Um, I have to say, it's awfully fun to, uh, have this opportunity to not be on the receiving end of questions for, I think, the first time in the history of the Decarbonize podcast. Uh, so, Brenda, you're going to be in the hot seat for the next ten minutes or so.


Brenda Cassellius: [00:02:03] Um, go easy on me.


Justin Fay: [00:02:08] (laughs) Coming out of the historic 2023 legislative session. Um, you know, another big change for Fresh Energy was, uh, our new executive director coming on board. Um, and we're so excited to, uh, to have you here with us today. Brenda. Um, as we kind of jump into the conversation, I'm wondering if you could tell us just a little bit about your background and how you came to Fresh Energy and, um, you know, I well, I'm, I know you didn't work directly in energy. Energy has been part of your past, uh, work in the education field. So, um, wondering if you could just maybe take a moment and introduce yourself to the Decarbonized audience.


Brenda Cassellius: [00:02:49] Sure. Well, thanks, Jo. And, um, really excited to have a quick little chat with you guys here in the podcast. Um, the team always does just such a great job. So a little bit about me is, you know, I have been in education, started out as a paraprofessional, and worked my way up to commissioner of education. Um, and just really enjoyed all of the different positions that I was able to hold, either as a teacher or school leader or district leader. Um, and then the State Commissioner of Education had the great opportunity to work with Governor Mark Dayton on policy. So not new to policy making. Um, but new to directly energy policy. Um, except for in my role as superintendent. Um, pretty proud of some of the work that I was able to do, uh, in Minneapolis public schools. I think that was the first time, really, that I dabbled in, um, some of the, um, work around transportation and greening, um, our schools and thinking about the impacts that it had on our students and also our communities. And so one of the things that I worked was with Metro Transit and then mayor R.T. Rybak on, um, how could we get our high school students off of the yellow bus and get them onto to Metro Transit buses? And we were able to do that and it was successful.


Brenda Cassellius: [00:04:12] And now I think Saint Paul's students are also, uh, high school students are on the bus. And, you know, that teaches kids about ridership and also, um, sends out less emissions. And then, um, in Boston Public Schools, super proud of the work that I did with Michelle Wu, Mayor Michelle Wu on uh, uh, $2 billion bond to green our schools working on Hvac systems and, um, other measures to weatherize our schools and make sure that we have clean air and, um, environmentally sound buildings for our students to go to, particularly, uh, temperature controls as well. So we didn't have to cancel school for kids, uh, just because it's too hot. Um, so, yeah, pretty proud of those, those, uh, initiatives. And then as Commissioner, obviously, um, we worked with the Green Schools Award in Minnesota and, um, I think we were the very first agency to transition our fleet over to all electric. So pretty proud of some of those accomplishments.


Justin Fay: [00:05:14] That's awesome. I didn't even know all about all of those things. That's great. Um, you know, as as I think our hopefully folks listening to this know Fresh Energy has a, you know, multiple decades long track record of, uh, driving policy change through strategic and thoughtful, uh, advocacy work. Um, you know, and I'm really one of the things I'm really excited about, having you on board leading the team is now we get to draw on your experience as a leader from the public sector, the proverbial other side of the table. Um, I'm wondering maybe if you could share any thoughts with with us about, uh, any lessons learned for advocates on how to be the most effective when talking to, you know, either like elected or appointed leaders?


Brenda Cassellius: [00:06:00] Well, first, I think I'm talking to one of the pros already, so I don't know that there's a lot of advice I can give to our team because, oh, stop, Justin, you guys lead just such a great team. And you know, I came in knowing the credibility that Fresh Energy has. And so just super proud of this team. It is a bit different though as a commissioner and wearing my former commissioner hat. Um, I think one of the most important roles is working with our advocates. Um, because to make really sound policy, you have to be listening, listening to our stakeholders, knowing the issues, understanding how the impacts are having from the policy. Um, because sometimes you get ideas around policy, but you really don't know, um, the true impacts unless you're listening. Um, and it's the folks on the ground who are impacted by our policies, who are best storytellers, who, um, who can give us the best feedback on those policies. And sometimes they're new, innovative policies that drive new solutions, and sometimes it's making something better. One of the things that we really prided ourselves in the Dayton administration was taking something good and and making it better for more Minnesotans. And so I think being mindful of that as advocates is really important. Um, I think also when you're talking to an elected or an appointed um, commissioner, that it's really important for you to know your stuff.


Brenda Cassellius: [00:07:25] It's important that you have a balanced view that you understand all issues on the table, um, how it's affecting many different regions of the state, not just metro or or rural, suburban or exurban that you're really thinking clearly about, um, who is going to be benefiting or impacted by those policies, um, that you are, um, putting forward. And then also knowing what the opposition to those is, you know, and, um, why are they opposed? Because sometimes when you work with your opposition and, um, you can you can find really common ground in, in what you're trying to do. It's just really the means to getting there. So it's trying to really understand that piece. And then I've always said, and, you know, I felt really bad because, you know, a commissioner is pretty busy. Um, and their staff is very busy. So you want to make sure when you do get a meeting with the commissioner that you don't run out of time, that you get to your ask within the first 5 to 10 minutes. And, you know, it's always good to have just a little bit of data and evidence and them knowing who you've already talked to on the issue and who's aligned with you and who isn't aligned with you. Um, and bring that to the meeting.


Justin Fay: [00:08:44] Absolutely. Those are great tips. And you know what you were saying about being really aware of how what you're working on or advocating for affects different people and who's affected by it? Um, is a feels like just a really foundational piece to the work we do at Fresh Energy. Um, one of our core principles is ensuring that our advocacy approach is inclusive and that the policies we advocate for are equitable and grounded in equity. Um, how have you approached equity in your past roles as a public leader?


Brenda Cassellius: [00:09:16] Well, I've been really privileged and I am really glad that you're asking this question, because it's one of the reasons that I, um, really chose to work at Fresh Energy was it's upfront social justice mission, um, within the core mission of decarbonizing our, um, our economy. And so I am super excited to work with a team that is really vigilant and committed to this, um, you know, justice, 40 goals, committed to ensuring that, um, those who are least served get the best services and quality and that we're uplifting them in all that we do. Uh, as we think about the policies that we put forward, as we think about our work and where our resource and our, in our own personal effort goes. So, um, super important to me personally. Also, as a African American woman, you know, it is even, um, you know, more important to me, I think just personally, as I think about my role, um, you know, and what I do, you know, and as I try to live a purpose driven life to make the world better, um, to make it fairer and more just for many different types of groups, um, of individuals, um, you know, throughout Minnesota and, and throughout the nation. So I feel that Fresh Energy allows me to continue to lift up my core purpose for being in this world.


Brenda Cassellius: [00:10:45] Um, and also to, uh, have a sense of place now in this new, in this new kind of, um, space of energy and, uh, making sure that that is, uh, lifted up here at Fresh Energy. I think as, as I think about my role as the leadership, uh, in the leadership team of Fresh Energy, part of that is just always having front and center a lens on everything that we do and making sure, um, throughout the organization that, um, staff themselves feel comfortable and at Fresh Energy and that we're very protective of our culture at Fresh Energy that is very welcoming, um, and that it's diverse and that we're seeking, uh, diversity within our staff and that we're reflective of the community that we serve. Um, I think that's really important for me as an Ed. And then I think also just that anything that we forward has gone through a lens of, um, looking at racial equity and gender equity, um, and, and, you know, economic equity in making sure that there's a deep fairness in that. Um, and so very, very much committed to that. And I think already the team is and that's what really attracted me to Fresh Energy and to the role of ed Fresh Energy.


Justin Fay: [00:12:03] I, I think that's a common a common sentiment among our staff a lot. An awful lot of us really value that about this organization. And I know a lot of our supporters, uh, and allies do as well, um, you know, thinking, pivoting a little bit and thinking about the 2024 legislative session that's just right around the corner. Um, one of the higher profile issues is pretty likely to be a bonding bill. Um, and for those of you listening, a bonding bill is, uh, a, you know, a piece of legislation where the state makes investments in infrastructure like public buildings could be things like wastewater treatment, transportation infrastructure, roads, transit ways, hopefully more transit ways and less roads. But, um, both. Um, Brenda, as a, as a as a former agency commissioner, you've seen this process from the inside. Um, what what can you tell us about your perspective on the opportunity presented by bonding and what that process is like as a former commissioner and how how a year like this year where there's no budget, but there is something like a bonding bill, um, you know, how is it year like this 1st May be a little bit different.


Brenda Cassellius: [00:13:14] Well, the great.


Brenda Cassellius: [00:13:15] Thing about the way that Minnesota Legislature works is that you have opposite years of funding and policy and bonding, and so that gives you a sense to be able to pause, um, and to really be more reflective about the needs of the state, I think, and to and to seed new ideas, um, and try new ideas. You know, oftentimes there's a lot of planning commissions that are put together or commissioner working groups that are, um, done during this year to get you ready for the big year, where you are looking at, uh, your, your, uh, biennial funding that you're going to be doing. And look, um, and the outlooks for that, I would say the best thing to do is to try to get into the governor's bonding bill. Um, you know, uh, I think that that's your best hope and chance of of getting something done because the needs are so vast, right? I mean, we have a a really old infrastructure in Minnesota. There's lots of needs, uh, regionally across the state. And so, um, you want to be able to get your ask in early, um, because I think that that's really important. I think also the political dynamics of the legislature are a little bit different. Certainly we there's a trifecta in the, um, in our government right now in Minnesota. However, the margin of the majority also makes a difference on what gets passed, particularly in an election year. And so, you know, you want to think about, you know, the timing of your ask. And, um, you know, are there certain, um, seats that are open, uh, in any area where, you know, you think they're going to get some favoritism for, uh, for their projects? Um, you know, because either they haven't had a bonding, uh, appropriation in, in many, many years or because there's some political reason why, you know, the legislature's feeling as though this, this particular representative or senator could, could use a little bump.


Brenda Cassellius: [00:15:24] Um, so, you know, just making sure that you're aware of any of the politics on that. Um, and I would say that if it doesn't get in this year, you know, not to worry, um, that no time wasted in these relationships and making sure that your ideas get heard, um, it's to all time really well spent because you're on the radar now. So. And that's true for any policy, any funding request. Um, any time that you can spend with a legislature legislator is, um, is time well spent? Um, they I found that they're very good listeners. They want to listen to the community. They want to make good policy. They didn't knock on doors and get elected, um, you know, for the glory, because it's not a very high paid job. Um, most of them, if not all of them are really, um, you know, public servants and care a lot about Minnesota. I mean, obviously, we may have different ideas on, on policy or different ideas on how to get there, but I truly believe after my eight years in the legislature that these are good people. Um, regardless of what side of the political fence they, they sit on and that they want to do good for their communities and they want to do good for Minnesota. Um, so I'm optimistic about our legislature. I'm optimistic about our position in Minnesota, and I'm optimistic about the role that Fresh Energy gets to play in influencing a lot of really good policy around energy and equity within this space.


Justin Fay: [00:16:49] Uh, someone's really well said. Um, you know, we're as we're recording this, we're just a few weeks away from the 2024 legislative session starting, and it's a little bittersweet because, um, that means that the clock is ticking on how much longer we can talk about this spectacular 2023 legislative session that we had, uh, in Minnesota and, uh, here at Fresh Energy in particular. Um, we really did have just a historic set of accomplishments, uh, in the last legislative session. And those breakthroughs came on top of major investments that have happened over the last couple of years at the federal level, um, through the Inflation Reduction Act, uh, the bipartisan infrastructure law and more. Um, since last session ended, there's been just a ton of pressure on our state agencies like the Minnesota Department of Commerce to implement, uh, frankly, a historic, uh, number and volume of new programs and unprecedented new funding. Um, Brenda, as a as a past agency commissioner yourself, what are some of the challenges that come with, uh, and just an enormous influx of, of dollars like this from both the state legislature and the federal government? And what do you see as Fresh Energy's role, uh, in, in terms of supporting or facilitating that implementation?


Brenda Cassellius: [00:18:09] Well, let me just say this. As a former commissioner, be careful what you ask for, right? Because when you get when you get these big wins like this, um, you, you know, you know that it's going to mean a lot of work and a lot of change management for your organization. Uh, you know, we had past world's best workforce, which was allowing, uh, you know, not allowing, but really kind of compelling school districts to write a strategic plan, align all of their work around the achievement gaps, and make sure that, um, their resources are aligned to that. And it was a huge undertaking that came to the, uh, agency without much funding at all. Matter of fact, I think there was a goose egg of funding for that initiative for the for the agency. And so even though it's a huge opportunity and there's really, um, you know, a large expectations that are put on, put on the commissioner and her, her, his or her staff. Um, I think it's still, um, you know, incumbent upon them to develop a plan to get the hiring, you know, to develop, you know, partnerships, um, sometimes with the AG's office and others, you know, around rulemaking and guidance. And it just depends on what the legislation is calling for. Sometimes there's working groups that have to be done and developed. So it's a lot of administrative, um, over overhead work in planning and ramping up of staff. And that just takes a lot of time and the expectation of the public, like, for instance, with the EVs, you know, they're like, okay, there's this EV rebate.


Brenda Cassellius: [00:19:42] I'm ready to start shopping for cars tomorrow. Right. And but it takes, uh, a lot of time for the agency to try to figure out a really fair way to make sure that those dollars go out, that they go out fairly, that there's accounting for those dollars. And, um, you know, that you're there's no mismanagement or anything like that that can come up. So you're always really, really super careful and double checking your work there. So, um, I think that. You know, as you think about the programs that got passed in 23, it's not just funding from the state, though, that, you know, a state agency is responsible for. For instance, the IRA passed. And so now they're also administrating, uh, all of this federal funding that's coming in and two types of different regulatory processes and, and, um, practices that need to be accounted for. So it's, uh, can be super complicated to the public. They're trying their best to plain language it for everybody in a time frame that, you know, manages expectations and still holds us all accountable to a steep, steep, um, um, focus and and sharp, um, uh, focus on, on equity and making sure that those dollars get out, uh, to those who need them the most, uh, which is the job of government, uh, is to sit and sit in in that space of really helping, um, Minnesotans who maybe, uh, need a little extra bump, uh, with, with some of these incentives and, um, and rebates.


Justin Fay: [00:21:21] What it really can be. Sometimes I think a thankless job for, um, folks that work in government, but it's just so important that we get this right because we have so much more to do. Right?


Brenda Cassellius: [00:21:33] Well, it's a hard job. I don't I you know, I got thanked a lot when I was the commissioner. You know, we were able to set up a preschool for 25,000 kids. And I mean, there's just so much great opportunity. I really love the job. Um, you know, and I've loved the job of being principal. I love the job of being a superintendent. You know, I think doing public service is just an incredibly rewarding. And, um, I know people say it job and it's I know people say that it's thankless. Um, but, you know, you get the reward when you see the benefit when you see people and Minnesotans moving ahead. Um, and so I just, I get really excited about, um, public service roles, public policy roles. And, and I realized the power of policy. Not everybody really does. Um, and I think that, you know, that the Minnesota legislature has the power to do a lot of good for Minnesotans. And I'm really proud of our state, and I'm proud of the work that Fresh Energy does.


Justin Fay: [00:22:34] Awesome. Well, that pivots us nicely into our last, last question I have for you, Brenda. Um, so we're about nine months into your role here at Fresh Energy and about to start our first legislative session with, uh, with you at the helm. Um, so I'm just I'm just sort of curious what, uh, what have been your reflections, uh, at this stage in your journey so far? And, um, what are your hopes for the future?


Brenda Cassellius: [00:22:58] Well, it's been pretty amazing. Um, I, Michael built an amazing team, and I'm just grateful to him for 30 years of incredible leadership at Fresh Energy. So I tip my hat to Michael. I'm sure he's enjoying his, uh, retirement. And, um, now, as we move into strategic planning for Fresh Energy, we're looking forward to, um, going deeper into our work, um, particularly in the industry and egg sections. I think, um, is an area that I keep hearing about. Local government is another area, um, and really implementing the really great work that's already been done on the, on the policy side. So Fresh Energy will play a key role in that. And I have both the the public policy side and the side of knowing how to implement, uh, public policy. And so I hope that I'm able to lend some of that, um, to our team here and, and, um, and provide a really clear plan forward. And I think it's an exciting time for Minnesota. And I think it's an exciting time for Fresh Energy.


Justin Fay: [00:24:02] You're here. Well, thank you so much, Brenda. Um, you know, session hasn't even started yet, and I'm already, uh, excited and just super confident that we're in for, uh, just a stellar year yet again. Um, so with that, uh, I am grudgingly going to hand control of the microphone back to the inimitable Jolson.


Brenda Cassellius: [00:24:24] Thank you. Justin.


Jo Olson: [00:24:27] Grudging. Justin, I take that personally. Hosting this podcast is a great honor and you should feel fortunate that I. I trusted you to do it. And, you know, maybe in the future you can host more often. Is that what we're we're working toward here?


Justin Fay: [00:24:42] Well, let's not let's not rush to any hasty conclusions here, you know.


Jo Olson: [00:24:47] Well, you did really well. So thank you so much to you and Brenda. That was actually a really fun discussion. And it was cool to look like under the hood at how some of these processes behind the scenes at the legislature and at our state agencies work. Um, but before we start talking shop for this year, let's talk about last year. So maybe you two remember a few things happened. We had 100% clean electricity dollars for the State Competitiveness Fund to unlock even more federal money. Uh, the electric panel upgrade grant program, EV infrastructure and incentives, accelerated commercial energy codes, the Frontline Communities Protection Act, buy clean, buy fair green fertilizer. And that's just naming a few, but it was a real mouthful. Um, so let's think about last year. We're not gonna be able to talk about everything. We're not going to recap everything. But Anna, what was one of your favorite things if you had to choose from last year? And then Justin, you go next.


Anna Johnson: [00:25:49] Thanks, Jo. Um, yeah. As you mentioned, it's really hard to choose because there were dozens of new programs set up, um, in across several agencies, um, and unprecedented investment in climate programs. And, you know, there are also some really key policy changes, um, as well, uh, including updating the statewide, you know, economy wide decarbonization goals to match what, uh, the most current science says and where we need to go. Um, I think one of my very favorite programs that the state invested in is what's known as pre weatherization, um, pre weatherization. I assume most people on listening to this, if you're listening to this, you're probably enough of a wonk that you know what weatherization is. It's protecting your home against the elements. So think like insulation, storm windows, um, air sealing doors, making, you know, keeping the elements out in the heat and air conditioning in. Um, so, uh, the state invested a little over $45 million in what's known as pre-authorization. So, uh, before you can qualify for weatherization, your home has to be kind of in good enough order that, um, the federal government is willing to put money into it. So if you have something like a broken window or an issue with a house, or if you have, you know, rodents or, you know, stuff that just like kind of happens when you're living in your house, um, especially if you're a low income, you might not be able to fix these things as they come up.


Anna Johnson: [00:27:22] Um, it can preclude you from being able to access weatherization assistance. So, um, the state invested, uh, $45 million in helping folks solve these things that, um, can prevent them from accessing weatherization. So it's just a really, really great, um, low income program. Um, there's so many co-benefits of weatherization. Uh, you know, energy efficiency lowers monthly costs. It makes your home more comfortable. Um, you know, it's a quality of life thing if you're kind of just, like, huddled in your home during the winter and kind of waiting for it to pass, it's a much less enjoyable season than if you're well insulated. Um, and importantly, weatherization is a really critical first step for electrification. And it also reduces greenhouse gases. So it just kind of makes, um, our homes more resilient, um, lowers monthly income or monthly bills. And I just yeah, I love energy efficiency. And I thought it was a really great use of state funds to allow more people to access those federal dollars.


Justin Fay: [00:28:29] Well, I thought I knew what I was going to answer, Anna, but you might have just persuaded me to change my mind. Preauthorization sounds awesome. Um, but, uh, you know, there's there's another program that we worked really hard on that I'm also proud of. Um, and that's a new grant program that helps support homeowners in upgrading the electric panels in their homes. Uh, and it's not the flashiest, uh, climate issue that has ever existed, but it's a sneaky impactful one. You know, um, for a lot of, uh, especially, you know, moderate income, single family homeowners, um, the way the way you approach electrification is, you know, as your existing aging gas appliances fail, you replace it, hopefully with something that's, uh, new electric appliance. Um, because that's what you can afford to do. And you need to get the lifetime sort of value out of the appliances you have in your home. Um, and what we have. Been hearing from from folks, uh, over the, you know, over a number of years now is that there's this, like, sort of sneaky surprise that kicks in in some cases, especially in older homes, um, where, uh, you, you have your contractor out to the house to, um, talk to you about your, uh, new pump, water heater or whatever it is that you're really excited about.


Justin Fay: [00:29:54] And they tell you in addition to your heat pump, water heater, uh, you have to upgrade your panel in order to be able to install it. And that can be a, you know, two, three, $4,000 of cost that isn't in your budget. And that becomes a real barrier to, uh, a lot of folks who, uh, really are committed to electrification and want access to, um, new emerging technology that has a lot of potential for, you know, as you were describing for pre weatherization, just like quality of life in your home. Um, so I love that we were able to get, uh, get that done. Uh, we were able to work with legislators to approve a pilot program to provide grants, uh, based on income eligibility for, uh, folks, uh, to do, uh, electric panel upgrades. And, uh, really excited to see that, uh, that program get off the ground here and hopefully in the near future.


Jo Olson: [00:30:48] Wow. So the two of you, when you think about last year, you're like, totally on the energy transition train. So that's like, uh, weatherization, electric panel upgrades. Um, I love it. And there's just like so much opportunity in that area last year too. Um, and like I said earlier, we're not going to summarize all of session last year. We've got a blog post that does that. Um, but now, you know, we're going to look ahead to this year. And, Justin, for those of our listeners who are also listeners of MPR, they might have heard you on the radio with Christy Moroney talking about energy policy. Was that last week, I think, um, yeah. Am I remembering right?


Justin Fay: [00:31:29] Okay, I believe I believe you are. It's all a.


Jo Olson: [00:31:32] Blur. Um, well, so the upshot of last year's legislative session was that our elected leaders at the Minnesota legislature cleared the decks, for lack of a better terms. So, uh, typically, policies take a few years, uh, to pass and become law. But we had some jet through from start to finish last session. Um, so that means that we get to start with kind of a blank slate, which is a pretty unprecedented opportunity. So the sky is the limit, right? Am I getting that right?


Justin Fay: [00:32:04] Uh, you know. Yeah. Yes and no. Um, I think it's a really cool opportunity, um, that we, I don't know that I've really experienced in the time that I've been working in public policy, where we really did check off a lot of boxes. I wouldn't say that we did everything, but we did an awful lot of stuff. And, um, you know, I think maybe an undertold story from the 2023 session is how how many of those policy proposals and ideas and programs were really multiple years in the making? And, you know, of course, uh, the composition of the legislature and, uh, things happening at the federal level, there are a number of factors that had to come together in order for us to have the success that we did. Um, but a really important part of it was the just the years of work that, uh, not just Fresh Energy, but this, like, great ecosystem of climate and energy advocates that we have in Minnesota had been really committed to for a long time. And I know we have, uh, we have Fresh Energy supporters and donors listening to this podcast. And I really can't emphasize enough how, uh, impactful your support, uh, has been in allowing us to sustain the kind of multiyear commitments it takes to deliver wins like this. Um. So yeah it is, it is a, it's a it's like kind of exciting and scary. Right? Right. Anna.


Anna Johnson: [00:33:27] Yeah. No it's both um, as you said, there's definitely more to do. Um, but yeah, the the decks have been somewhat cleared and that's really significant because there was. Yeah, there are just several sessions of vetting and honing policy language for some of these bills. The 100% bill comes to mind, which had been voted off the House floor twice, um, and had gotten updates each time it was, uh, it was introduced. So, yeah, it's an exciting moment. Um, there's definitely some exciting ideas and some big ideas floating around, um, that we're a part of, and we'll see kind of, kind of what the level of ambition is for the, for the legislature this year. And, um, what sort of rises to the surface as highest priority?


Justin Fay: [00:34:20] And, uh, of of course, I think that the challenge, of course, is like there's going to be some things where we have to because the decks are cleared, we have to sort of start the clock and start working on building these sort of longer terms, coalitions for the end of the next, uh, the next frontiers of climate work. But also there's a lot of urgency, um, to move fast on climate. And so I think for advocates like our organization, we're really going to be trying to strike that balance of, um, you know, both maximizing the short terme opportunities of the session that we're just, uh, walking into or about to start and being really strategic about laying the groundwork to make sure that the next, the next tranche of, uh, big climate wins are, uh, as impactful as they can be.


Jo Olson: [00:35:08] Exactly. Well said. Um, and so aside from kind of a blank slate, a partially blank slate. Um, so what's going to make this year different from last year? Uh, Anna. So I'm going to start with you, since you basically lived at the Capitol last year. Um, so how is this year going to be different? You know, what data session even start? Like, can you kind of get get us spun up on on what this year's going to look like?


Anna Johnson: [00:35:37] Yeah. Uh. Happy to. I did spend a lot of time at the Capitol last year. It's a very beautiful. A lot more marble there than there is in my own home, which was delightful. Um, so, yes, this year it looks a little bit different. It's the second year of a two year cycle of the two year of the biennial cycle. So the legislature passes a two year budget. Um, so this is the year that they will pass a supplemental budget, you know, kind of like squaring the squaring everything and dotting the i's and making sure all the accounts are where they need to be. But it's not going to be a really large budget bill that passes. Um, so that's a major difference between this year and last year. Last year, we had an unprecedented, um, uh, surplus to work with in the state. I think it was 17 billion. Is that right, Justin? Something like that.


Justin Fay: [00:36:31] I think that's about right.


Anna Johnson: [00:36:32] Um, and this year it's essentially, uh, nearly not quite zero. But basically, um, we're setting the expectation that there's not that much money to, to be working with. Uh, and then the session is much shorter. So last year, the first year the cycle started, first week in January, um, and this year it's starting February 12th. So we have six fewer weeks to get the business done. Um, and to advocate for, for what we're working on. And, uh, usually the, the even year is referred to as a policy and or a bonding year. So because there's less money to work with, they focus on policy changes which that don't cost any money to the state. Um, and they work on passing a capital budget bill or a bonding bill, um, which is, you know, state funded public infrastructure projects. So, uh, those are the main differences. And I guess I'll also mention, too, that, you know, it's an election year for the House, not for the Senate. So that also kind of colors, um, just the kind of tactics of, of the body. And, um, also for individuals who are, um, either running for reelection or choosing not to run for reelection, it kind of colors and impacts, um, what goes on? Also, uh, there's some construction going on at the state office building, so the tunnel is going to be closed between the state office building and the Capitol. I personally don't mind that so much. I kind of like going outside, and I think it'll be fun to kind of scurry around.


Justin Fay: [00:38:18] That just just to be clear, that's that's Anna's individual opinion. That is not an organizational opinion.


Jo Olson: [00:38:25] We should take a vote. We should take an internal vote on this. Um, and, Anna, refresh my memory. Is this your fifth year working at the Capitol for Fresh Energy?


Anna Johnson: [00:38:39] Uh, that's a good question. My first was in 2019. Yea six yea I think oh my Fresh Energy. Oh. Time really flies.


Jo Olson: [00:38:49] Well, time flies when you're having fun I guess. And fueled by coffee from the Capitol cafeteria, which I know you're probably pretty excited to get back to. Yeah, I just assume you both love the food at the Capitol.


Justin Fay: [00:39:04] Yeah, we'll go with that. Yeah. Um.


Anna Johnson: [00:39:08] They've got a great salad bar there. Raw vegetables do not, uh, do not disappoint.


Justin Fay: [00:39:15] Right. A little insider tip for those of you that, uh, maybe want to come to the capital at some point if you come, you know, anytime after around late March through the end of the legislative session, that's food truck season for those of us that worked at the, uh, at the Capitol complex, um, the moods lighten considerably once the, uh, alternatives wheel themselves up outside the building.


Jo Olson: [00:39:40] Remember the dark days before food trucks? Um, anyway, that's a whole different political can of worms, isn't it? So let's talk.


Justin Fay: [00:39:48] Yes, Jo. Uh, there's a number of us who used to go have lunch at a hospital cafeteria next to the Capitol, because it was the best option within walking distance of where we work every day.


Jo Olson: [00:40:04] I have to go back for old time's sake, I guess. Uh, well, cafeteria food aside, be it hospital or capitol. I'm wondering, Justin, if you can fill us in on the general administrative comings and goings for us to look for.


Justin Fay: [00:40:24] Sure. Well, you know, as Anna mentioned, this is a it's not a budget year. These kind of second year of the two year cycle sessions tend to be shorter. Um, and so this year's February 12th start date is, you know, it's about six weeks later in the year than, um, sessions started a year ago. Um, and in my experience, what the way that usually happens is you end up doing about the same amount of work. It just gets compressed into a much shorter time period. So these, um, these shorter sessions can be sort of like shockingly and often unexpectedly intense. Um, but they are they come and go pretty quickly. Um, and uh, the, you know, the more, uh, the more you're able to work ahead and be on top of things running into session. Those are the folks who tend to have the the best outcomes in an off year. Um, you know, one thing that's, uh, I guess I don't even know what the right word is. Convenient. Cool. Um, nice. For those of us that do advocacy work, is there's not a lot of changes in the legislature. Um, you know, the committee structure is the same as what we have in 2023. The committee chairs are the same. Um, it's always maybe like a tiny little bit of turnover. Uh, and so I think there's been 1 or 2 retirements or resignations in the legislature since last year, and there's been there's a little bit of shuffling around in committee membership that happens.


Justin Fay: [00:41:46] But for the most part, um, you can you really do hit the ground running when they come back because, uh, the legislators have all been through it for a whole session already. They're chomping at the bit to, uh, take another swing at things that they didn't get done last year or new ideas that have bubbled up since, uh, the previous session. Um. And that kind of first month to month and a half of the session is going to be really, really crazy. Um, so the the legislature operates with these kind of self-imposed deadlines are called committee deadlines. And they're they're like kind of, uh, mile markers that can, uh, individual bills have to reach certain points in the legislative process in order to be considered alive and viable for the year. And there's probably only going to be something like maybe six, maybe seven weeks between when the legislature starts and when those deadlines occur. Um, and that means everything that we want to do has to have all of their committee hearings done. In that that pretty short window. Um, so, uh, Anna and I are going to be, uh, we're going to be busy.


Jo Olson: [00:42:57] Well, actually, I wonder, maybe you could mention too it's you and Anna. But there are a couple more members of the team too. So do you want to let folks know who will be showing up for Fresh Energy at the Capitol this year, aside from policy staff testifying, of course.


Justin Fay: [00:43:11] Well, we're we're we have a really deep bench across the board, and we're, uh, we're super proud of our team. So, uh, Anna and I are the the kind of full time staff presence at the Capitol. Um, we're really fortunate to work with a contract lobbyist. Uh uh, uh, gentleman named John Burns, um, who's been with Fresh Energy, uh, in a contract capacity since 2014. Uh, I believe at this point, he is more tenured with Fresh Energy than all but two of our staff. Uh, which is, uh, pretty, uh, that's a luxury that we're, um, we really don't take for granted. And John's been, uh, just is just a really wonderful, uh, uh, ally and, uh, former legislator himself. Uh, he was a suburban, uh, moderate Republican, uh, who served, uh, uh, in 2006 and 2007. Um, and we also have, uh, Brynn Kirschling, um, who's our, uh, advocacy senior manager for advocacy campaigns. Um, if you get, uh, those of you who are Fresh Energy supporters, you may get text messages a couple handful of times a year from us, uh, with really, really urgent, high level, uh, opportunities to, um, to speak up or participate. Um, that's brynn's doing that work, um, as well as helping our communications team and Jo and her, her, her colleagues, uh, build out our action network and, uh, make sure that, uh, we're, uh, really delivering the highest impact opportunities for, um, uh, climate advocates and supporters like those of you who are listening at home to participate in the legislative process. Uh, and then the the newest members of our, our team are, uh, Laura Wagner, who's our session associate. And Kathleen Mason, who will be our capital pathways intern this year. And they're both, uh, going to be with us through the 2024 session. And that will round out our team for this year.


Jo Olson: [00:45:07] Perfect. Thank you. Uh. Great job. You you're you have great roster hype. Uh, we should make you an announcer at, like, a game or something. Uh, okay. So should we pivot to just in your favorite subject, legislative goals and priorities? Um, I know you don't always have, like, a thorough list of, like, all of the legislative priorities because there are just, like, so many. And we end up, um, doing, you know, things come up like mid session and it changes and evolves. Um, but I know a semi comprehensive legislative agenda is kind of down on paper for the 2024 session. Um, so nearly everything on this year's agenda, if I can call it that. Uh, is new in contrast to 2023, when most of our priorities had been vetted and as you mentioned, for multiple years. Um, so now I don't I know you're not going to include it all. And in no particular order. Anna, why don't you start by telling us what you are thinking about for this year? Uh, as, like, observers of the process. And then, Justin, maybe, uh, you can jump in during or after, but I just want to know what you guys are thinking, agenda wise, coming up.


Anna Johnson: [00:46:23] Sure. Yeah. Thanks, Jo. That's a great question. Um, well, one of the things we're taking a look at, um, is the residential building energy code. Um, you mentioned earlier that, uh, one of the things the legislature updated last year was the Commercial Building energy code. Um, so we're moving and, uh, focusing this year on the residential energy code. So, um, basically the the energy code is a statewide code that sets the baseline for, uh, technical details related to how a building is constructed, uh, such as wiring and energy efficiency, insulation, windows, kind of stuff like that. Um, Eric Fowler knows much more in detail about all the ins and outs of those kind of things. Uh, so, um, the way the Commercial Energy Code update was structured last year was it said that by 2036, um, the the energy code will have achieved 80% reduction in energy usage based on a particular model code from the early 2000s. Um, we're interested in updating the residential energy code to, to do something quite similar. Um, because, you know, if we need to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner if we can, um, it means that we need to construct buildings that won't hold us back from that goal. You know, we build buildings that will last for at least several decades. So we need to be really planful and look ahead at how they're how they're constructed, because the buildings that we're putting in the ground now and in, you know, in the near future need to be ready to be zero emissions, if not zero emissions right from the outset. Um, so this is a really exciting and important policy that, um, that we're going to be working on this year.


Justin Fay: [00:48:20] Yeah. It's a huge it's a huge opportunity. I, I'm not going to quote the exact statistics. I can't remember it. But, um, you know, when you stop and think about it, our goal is net zero economy wide by mid-century. And the the reality is most of the buildings that are going to exist in 2050 have already been built. And we're continuing to build new buildings that are not net zero and are not net zero ready. And that, um, that's a huge that's a huge problem that we have to get, we have to get real about.


Jo Olson: [00:48:53] Absolutely. And so, Justin, I've heard you talk about how we have made and how we continue to make progress in the power sector, but what we're looking at for the legislature in 2024 and beyond is for our electeds to really dig into what it means to eliminate emissions everywhere else. Like you were just saying about about buildings, Anna. So especially with an emphasis on continuing to shift toward areas of decarbonization beyond the power sector. So in this area of focus, let's talk first about the clean lighting law, which will be a new, maybe a new buzzword for the folks here listening to the podcast.


Justin Fay: [00:49:34] Yeah, well, this is a great example of a, um, you know, a targeted policy that addresses, uh, a really specific problem and a really simple way and delivers, uh, multiple benefits. So, um, this is another initiative that our, uh, our colleague Eric has been leading on and doing a lot of work with a number of really, uh, impressive partners. Um, and it's modeled on policies that, uh, I about half a dozen other states have already taken around, around the country. So, uh, the there's a model out here for Minnesota that has already been proven. It's really simple. It's phasing out, um, all light bulbs that contain mercury. Um, so those, uh, if you remember, you know, 15, 20 years ago, CFLs were the were the all the rage and, um, those fluorescent lights that you, uh, might be accustomed to seeing in office buildings. Um, we have we have better technology now. We have better alternatives. And, um, sending a really clear market signal that, uh, we're going to, uh, fully complete our transition to LED and other, um, clean, like, truly clean, uh, lighting, uh, alternatives is, uh, on the on the deck for, uh, discussion in the 2024 session. Um, it's actually a bill that we introduced at the end of, uh, end of last session. So it's it's all it's primed and ready to go. Um, and we're really grateful to, uh, be working with, uh, really great team of authors, uh, representative, uh, hemmingsen Jaeger, uh, in the Minnesota House and Senator Nicole Mitchell in the Minnesota Senate.


Jo Olson: [00:51:08] Perfect. Thank you. And Anna. Along these lines of moving beyond the power sector. So we're also talking about a grant program for electric yard equipment. Right.


Anna Johnson: [00:51:21] Yeah, yeah, this is an exciting one. So, um, we're working with Community Stabilization Project on this idea. Um, community stabilization Project is is a fantastic, uh, partner organization. Um, they work with kind of organizing tenants and helping to prevent homelessness and, um, increasing kind of awareness around, like, tenant opportunities and responsibilities and help keep people in their homes, um, by managing monthly costs and, you know, providing safe and affordable housing. Um, so we're working with metric. Giles there, uh, on an idea that will help allow folks who maybe can't afford to, you know, purchase an induction stove or an electric vehicle, but who are interested in the transition to electrification, um, and provide an opportunity for them to, to be part of that transition through a grant program for, um, lawn care and snow removal equipment. So think like lawn mowers, snow blowers, leaf blowers, that kind of thing. Um, and it's an exciting program because it provides opportunity and access to these devices as well as, um, it has some really significant air quality benefits. Gas powered appliances or, um, you know, tools are really bad have. Yeah, just have really bad air quality issues, uh, for those using them and for those around them. So, um, there's a lot of dual benefits there that, uh, we're excited to, uh, stand up.


Jo Olson: [00:53:01] Cool. Thank you. Uh, well, let's turn to buildings. I guess buildings are kind of like a cool thing that we've been talking about today. Um, so if we think about buildings, this also aligns with our goal to decarbonize beyond the power sector. That's kind of like a theme for this year, I guess you could say. Um, Justin, do you want to talk about schools but then also talk about bonding in terms of buildings?


Justin Fay: [00:53:28] Absolutely. Um, so, you know, schools are a really interesting opportunity. We've had a lot of success or seen a lot of success at the state level in Minnesota with the Solar on Schools program over the last few years has been wildly popular. Um, and it makes a lot of sense for a bunch of reasons. Right? Like when you think about schools, um, that's a, you know, in a lot of communities around the state, the local like high school is probably going to be one of the larger buildings in the community. Um, it might be centrally located in the community. It's a, it's a, a local landmark that people know and has high visibility. Um, and you deliver when you improve, uh, improve quality of life and kind of economics of operation at, at a school, you're delivering a whole bunch of different benefits. You're reducing the overhead costs of education, you're providing emissions benefits. You're providing educational opportunities for the students and staff that use the building, providing health benefits for people that are in the building. Um, so when we talk about schools, the sky is really the limit in terms of what we can do. And, you know, you we just heard earlier in this podcast from one of the leading education experts in the entire state of Minnesota, who just happens to be Fresh Energy's new executive director.


Justin Fay: [00:54:38] So it would be silly for us not to get serious about looking at, um, the kind of school, uh, community and sector for, uh, where we can be an asset and help deliver some of those multiple benefits. So I think for 2024, we're really thinking about, um, kind of baby steps. Um, are there some additional tools and flexibility that we can give schools and school districts to be able to make some drive some of those investment decisions in their physical infrastructure on their own? Um, and that's really kind of laying the groundwork for what we hope can be, uh, a robust new area of focus for Fresh Energy in the in the years to come. Um, and you also asked about bonding, and I love to talk about bonding. And I'm going to give you the really abridged version here. Um, when we talk about bonding. Almost every dollar that we spend in the bonding bill can or should be a climate investment. The state of Minnesota has something called SB 2030, which is a sustainable building. Guidelines that are were developed at the University of Minnesota, and they're designed to kind of ratchet up, uh, over time, um, meaning the building performance that's required in order to comply with those standards becomes more stringent.


Justin Fay: [00:55:53] Um, as as the years go by, um, projects that get funded with state bonding dollars are required to meet those SB 2030 guidelines. And what that means is when we invest bonding dollars in what might look like really boring, um, run of the mill investments, like a new office building, um, for, um, state agency X, Y, or Z. Um, you're probably getting a lot of energy savings with that investment because that building is going to be built, um, well above, uh, code. It's going to be built as a, as a high performing, um, high quality building that's not going to be obsolete in just a few years. And so, um, we're always going to be at Fresh Energy, really full throated advocates for going big on bonding, and let's maximize those opportunities. Um, particularly for buildings. But then all the other things that you can do that are infrastructure with the bonding bill, whether that's, you know, continuing to invest in our transit ways, uh, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and, um, you know, the list goes on.


Jo Olson: [00:56:58] I can just see like an ad, like a t shirt, a staff t shirt. Go big on bonding. Um, that'll be a maybe. Maybe in the works. Uh, well, now, of course, I'd like us to transition to the hardest to decarbonize sectors, because those are also on the table at the legislature this year. And what I'm talking about is industry and agriculture. So what is cooking in that area, Anna?


Anna Johnson: [00:57:27] Yeah. Thanks, Jo. Um, yes. As you mentioned, these two sectors are very difficult to decarbonize. You know, we basically know how to decarbonize the power sector, um, and industry, you know, as you go down the list is going to be the tougher nut to crack. Um, but there's some exciting things happening for sure. Um, in relation to agriculture, you know, fertilizer production is a very energy intensive process. Um, but there's some really exciting, uh, state, state funded research that's happening, uh, out of the University of Minnesota. Morris with Mike Reese, um, looking at green fertilizer. So using green hydrogen to, to produce fertilizer, um, there's a lot of potential there. And that's also an opportunity for some industry growth in Minnesota. Most of the fertilizer is now is produced, um, down south. So it's an opportunity for, you know, some new investment and expansion in Minnesota. And then in terms of, uh, just kind of industry in general in relation to green hydrogen, um, it's a really it's an emerging but very important aspect of, uh, decarbonization. There are some major tax credits for hydrogen and the Inflation Reduction Act. And folks have kind of been waiting, uh, with a lot of expectation, uh, on the department, Department of Energy, who's been working on, um, how to structure those, those really, you know, billions of dollars worth of tax credits for hydrogen. Um, and what kind of like, level of carbon intensity qualifies for those credits? The proposed guidance for that came out in late 2023 and has yet to be finalized. Um, overall, it's looking pretty good at this point, but it isn't yet finalized, and it's definitely something that is quite wonky but will have a huge impact. So definitely keep your eye on that. Um, also relatedly, if you would like to keep your eye on it at Fresh Energy, we have a position open, um, to work on the what's the title of the job position, Jo or Justin?


Jo Olson: [00:59:40] Is it managing director, comma industry, I think yeah, yeah, that sounds great.


Anna Johnson: [00:59:45] Yeah, I think that's right. Um, priority deadline is January 26th, so I'll put a plug in for working at Fresh Energy. It's fantastic. Um, we're pretty nice here and we like to get stuff done. So if you want to come work with us, consider applying for that position.


Justin Fay: [01:00:01] And, Jo, what's what's the website for people? Uh, I think.


Jo Olson: [01:00:05] You know, if, if I had to recall it, I think it's Um, that sounds right.


Justin Fay: [01:00:13] Let's make sure I've got that fresh dash energy org.


Jo Olson: [01:00:16] Yeah. To come sign up and apply to work on our industry team with Margaret attorney Hendrik. Who doesn't want that. Uh, okay. So let's zoom out, uh, and think about some of our partner collaborations, because we do not ever go it alone at the Minnesota Legislature. We definitely have bills that we're running. We're point on that. We've cooked up at Fresh Energy, but there's so much collaborative efforts that happen across partner organizations and coalitions. Um, so question for both of you, are there any bigger tent collabs that you're especially excited about?


Jo Olson: [01:00:55] Well, I who wants to start?


Justin Fay: [01:00:56] I'll take a first stab at this. And I want to echo what you just said, Jo, that I think that every single thing, uh, issue, topic idea that's been mentioned since we started our conversation today is something that we do in a collaborative setting. There's an entire ecosystem of of partners, of environmental advocates, equity advocates, economic and justice advocates, labor unions, business utilities, uh uh, public entities, local governments, uh, that are all collaborative and interrelating and um, complementing each other. And, um, it's that sort of dynamic environment that really allows Minnesota to thrive. And, um, the fact that our state is a leader is a testament to all of that, uh, that sort of broad community, um, engagement that we are fortunate to have here. Um, you know, an issue that comes to mind that, uh, is definitely collaborative and has a really interesting kind of, um, set of partners working on it, uh, is something called a clean transportation standard. Um, and that, uh, that's a policy that Fresh Energy's been working on for, uh, for several years now alongside, uh, uh, a number of partner organizations. Uh, what it is is it's a, it's a policy that sets, um, uh, statewide carbon intensity, uh, target and then assigns a score to each individual type of transportation fuel based on the carbon intensity of that fuel. So whether that's, uh, you know, you know, gasoline or petroleum-based, uh, transportation fuels, biofuels, um, which is a significant economic sector in many parts of Minnesota.


Justin Fay: [01:02:37] Uh, or electricity, um, which is, uh, a transportation fuel that we're pretty excited about at Fresh Energy. Um, and then ratchets down, um, what what those intense that carbon intensity can look like or be capped at, uh, over time. Um, and so it, you get statewide carbon emission reductions from the transportation sector. But at its heart, it's a market-based solution because it's technology-neutral. Um, the, uh, that, that that issue has a really cool set of strange bedfellows working on it. There's, uh, environmental organizations, folks like the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, uh, friends of the Mississippi River. Um, you know, Fresh Energy, of course, has been working on this for a number of years. Uh, the Great Plains Institute has been doing, uh, convening work on that issue for, gosh, like 4 or 5, maybe even six years now. I've lost count. Uh, but then, you know, there's a statewide working group that was chaired by a colleague of ours from the Laborers International Union. Um, there's folks from the, um, uh, uh, biofuels community, uh, uh, that are also participating and helping to shape that policy. And, uh, we really are hopeful that, um, that will that will bear fruit in 2024.


Jo Olson: [01:03:58] Amazing. Thank you. Um. So. I feel like I've kind of grilled you guys and Brenda before you. So thank you so much for making time for me today. We've actually come to the end of all of my questions for now. Um, so I think we can wrap this up. So thank you for giving some insight. And what's coming up this legislative session, uh, and what it could look like for clean energy here in Minnesota. So thank you, everyone, for those listening. Thanks. Thanks for I know you guys are really busy. So these types of podcasts really are, uh, I feel very grateful to have this chunk of your time.


Justin Fay: [01:04:33] I am grudgingly grateful for you, too, Jo.


Anna Johnson: [01:04:37] It's going to be the.


Jo Olson: [01:04:38] Word of the year. All right, folks, listening. You can stay up to date on Fresh Energy's work at that website, Fresh Energy. Org or follow us on social media. We are on Instagram now and it's actually pretty robust. Kudos to Christine McCormick on the communications team for managing that. Thank you for listening and subscribing to our podcast. You can support Fresh Energy's work by making a donation today. You can do that on the website, I think. I'm not going to say the URL again. It's going to be in the details for this podcast, so you can click on it there. Um, but you can when you get to our website, just choose donate in the upper right corner. Uh, and now our new closing theme music, uh, for the outro credit to Palm Psalms. And thank you everyone for listening.