I read an article from the CEO of Minnesota’s Rural Electric Cooperative Association which points out the challenges ahead to meet timestamp mandates to enable the electric transmission grid to power the electric needs of the future as it’s mapped out today. Parts of his article are reprinted here.

By Derrick Moe, CEO MREA

Minnesotans expect the lights to come on every time they flip the switch. However, increasingly, the reliability of our electric grid is becoming a serious challenge as we plot our energy future.

A recent assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation warns that more than two-thirds of North America's electric grid is at risk of energy shortfalls this summer and the problem will only get worse.

Also, let us not forget that just last December, we were a gnat's hair away from having rolling blackouts in Minnesota due to nasty winter weather. The winter before, weather in Texas created power supply issues and caused rolling blackouts in western Minnesota and the Dakotas.

As the CEO of the Minnesota Rural Electric Association, which represents Minnesota's nonprofit electric cooperatives, I am concerned about Minnesota's energy future and how to ensure our power is always reliable, affordable and sustainable.

This year the Legislature passed an aggressive carbon-free-by-2040 bill which sets a clear benchmark for just how quickly our energy transition will need to take place. As the experts in our field, we want to make it clear that the path to a reliable carbon-free future presents a monumental challenge. (Because the electric grid isn’t ready for the future.)

Decades of careful planning are required to build out our grid. To meet the moment, it is imperative that those managing and planning this transition retain flexibility.  We advocate for pursuing an “all-tech-on-deck” approach to seek reliable and affordable solutions.

With an aggressive policy direction now established, let the experts who are building, planning and executing this clean-energy transition make the tough choices necessary to proceed without further mandates that limit options and without the additional costs imposed by favored schemes to achieve the goal.

Our vision for Minnesota is an electric grid that is reliable, affordable, and sustainable—a grid that is ready for millions of new electric vehicles, appliances and growing beneficial electrification while keeping electricity affordable.

To get to that future, we can't have mandates restrict our ability to think creatively, we can't afford unnecessarily long permitting delays, and we can't let shortsighted wishful thinking fog our view of reality.

Minnesota's nonprofit electric cooperatives are democratically controlled by the people we serve. Our only "special interest" is everyday hardworking Minnesotans who expect reliable and affordable power. The cooperative way is one of collaboration, cooperation and common sense. Together, let's march forward, united in our commitment to a reliable and sustainable energy landscape for generations to come.

Darrick Moe is CEO of the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA).