(NORTH MANKATO, Minn) - Some Minnesota lawmakers spent their morning in North Mankato discussing proposed policies for all things energy related in the new legislative session; everything from renewable energy to agriculture issues related to energy.

Short–term energy plans for the state and long–term questions for climate change and its effect on Southern Minnesota were hot topics this morning at South Central Cooperative's monthly forum.

"Whether you're worried about agriculture or transportation, renewable energy, all those things matter to us here because we have farmers who can host wind and solar, we have people that want to get from place to place and we have the cost and reliability of renewable energy which is improving all the time," says Sen. Nick Frentz of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, residing in North Mankato.

Lawmakers today say slow and steady is the best way to win the race for potential energy policies.

"One of the great questions is if we're going to do that, what's it going to look like and the best plan is to introduce bills that allow for discussion, advocacy, committee hearings with testimony, voting, work on it. It's much more important to get it right than to get it done quickly," says Frentz.

Minnesota is the only state in the nation with a split legislature, so making constant communication across the aisles a necessity.

"So it's going to be a balancing act and we're trying to see where Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and the administration is going to come down on this but there's a lot of energy, no pun intended, around issues, around clean energy and wanting to address carbon emissions and it's a really exciting time," says manager of legislation and internal affairs for the Minnesota Center of Energy and Environment, Joe Sullivan.

Minnesota's unique situation provides opportunity.

"This week at the capital with the sessions just getting underway, one of the words we heard the most often is opportunity; this is our chance for Minnesota to show the rest of the nation that divided government and cooperation can work and I'm looking forward to it," says Frentz.

Frentz says renewable energy creates jobs and can save the state a pretty penny and cut back on the $18 billion dollars that is spent on importing energy from other places. 

----KEYC News 12