By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says he has signed bipartisan energy legislation, called the Energy Conservation and Optimization Act of 2021 (ECO Act), into law.

According to Walz, the ECO Act will strengthen Minnesota’s energy conservation programs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs across the state.

“I am proud to sign this important energy legislation into Minnesota law,” Walz said. “We know that investing in energy conservation and beneficial fuel switching means that Minnesota’s homes and businesses run more efficiently and have a lower impact on our environment. The ECO Act will help Minnesota families and small businesses save money, create good-paying jobs, and, most importantly, protect Minnesota’s environment for generations to come. I would like to thank Representative Stephenson and Senator Rarick on the leadership and hard work on this bill.”

The ECO Act updates and expands the state’s Conservation Improvement Program (CIP), which helps households and businesses use energy more efficiently, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and lessen the need for new utility infrastructure.

Here are some things the ECO Act will do:

-Expand access to CIP to low-income households
-Require energy efficiency improvements for public schools in utility plans
-Increasing conservation goals for investor-owned utilities
-Providing additional flexibility for cooperatives in meeting their conversation requirements and reducing paperwork requirements

“Minnesota is a leader in energy policy, and the ECO Act is proof,” Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said. “This nation-leading energy conservation legislation will boost our economy and protect our climate. The bill expands our commitment to low-income consumers, helping to ensure that all Minnesotans benefit from our state’s energy policies.”