Data Centers, Tax Credits, and the Conservative Case for Cleantech

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have set the bar higher. That state is required to generate 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2025, and appears to be well on track to meet or exceed that target; last year, 21 percent of Minnesota’s electricity came from renewables, the state’s commerce department said in March.

Pischea says that part of his mission to persuade more GOP leaders to back renewables is getting them to be less beholden to interest groups that support using coal and other fossil fuels to generate energy. “The fossil fuel industry has had a hammer-lock [on the party] for so long,” he says.

Still, there are those who argue that when governments use tax breaks to get data centers built in their backyards, the ultimate result is a lower tax bill for deep-pocketed tech companies.

“It’s been called a race to the bottom,” says Scott Resnick, who works in the software field at Madison-based Hardin Design and Development, and has previously served on the city’s Common Council. “Regionally, we are regularly fighting with our neighbors for tax packages.”

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