For more than eight years, Mike Bull has guided CEE’s policy-related activities at CEE — but his depth of experience and field expertise were on a roll long before that.
With over 25 years’ experience shaping regional energy policies, Mike came to CEE in 2013 having held a number of legislative, regulatory, and policy positions in state government, including senior policy advisor for energy and the environment for former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. He had also served in policy positions at Clean Grid Alliance and at Xcel Energy, one of the country’s biggest electric and gas utilities. Most recently, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz appointed Mike to the Governor’s Council on Biofuels.
At CEE, as director of policy and external affairs, Mike has led our development and communication of clean energy regulatory and legislative policies. Among his accomplishments, Mike founded a nation-leading utility business model project known as the e21 Initiative. He designed a net-zero carbon emission strategy for Destination Medical Center in Rochester. He helped Xcel Energy develop an innovative time-of-use residential rate pilot. And he played a pivotal role in the Energy Pathways project that led to the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership, the nation’s first city-utility clean energy partnership.
In 2007 while in Governor Pawlenty’s administration, Mike was a key player when Minnesota approved one of the nation’s leading renewable energy standards — arguably our state’s biggest 21st century clean energy win... until this year.
In 2021, Mike’s strong team, our committed field partners, and forward-thinking legislators on both sides of the aisle (in the country’s only divided state legislature) crested a series of hills we’ve been climbing for six-plus years. Most notably, the Energy Conservation and Optimization Act passed with bipartisan support, building on the state’s successful Conservation Improvement Plan. Lawmakers also passed legislation for the Minnesota Efficient Technology Accelerator, Natural Gas Innovation Act, State Buildings Energy Conservation Revolving Loan Program, and an Energy Transition Office. Combined with a number of other key initiatives, the session indeed marked “a big moment” for clean energy legislation. This year’s successes at the legislature are the result of great work by a lot of partners, but Mike’s vision and consensus driven approach were central to these efforts.
This fall, Mike moves on to lead policy efforts for the Minnesota Rural Electric Association. Although I’ll surely miss his leadership, counsel, and daily presence, I’m delighted with the policy-focused role he’ll play for some of our most important energy leaders — a network of 50 customer-owned electric cooperatives that help power homes and businesses statewide.
We’re also counting our blessings that Mike has established such a strong CEE policy team of well-positioned experts in their own rights, ready to continue the good work. I look forward to the ongoing commitment, robust strategies, and great outcomes from Legislative Policy Manager Jamie Fitzke, Regulatory Policy Manager Audrey Partridge, and our longtime external lobbyist Brian Halloran.
As Mike moves on, we celebrate years of achievements under his policy guidance. Especially after this spring — a culmination of years of work — the policies that Mike helped move forward will serve Minnesotans for years to come. As CEE envisions a healthy, carbon-neutral economy that works for all people, we know that policy wins like these are lynch pins for any lasting progress.
Here at CEE, we build on the policy legacy of people who came before us — a legacy that includes the role our founder Sheldon Strom played in establishing the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) in the 2007 Next Generation Energy Act, as well as Mike’s policy legacy of this past legislative session. I look forward to partnering with Mike in his new role at MREA, as we collaborate with all the peers and partners who contribute to our work on behalf of Minnesota’s environment and clean energy economy.