Once in a generation, we have a window of opportunity to shape our energy future. Community Power is about people becoming energy deciders, not just consumers. We need to keep our city’s energy options open so we can secure an affordable, reliable, clean, efficient, and locally-controlled energy future.
Community Power is a coalition of organizations and neighbors interested in expanding energy options for the City of Lakes. We support more conservation and energy efficiency, local renewable energy and democratic control of our energy system. We are seeking other community partners who can help develop a strategy and engage a broader base of Minneapolis residents in this question.
In 2014, the city of Minneapolis made crucial decisions about its relationship with our energy utilities: Xcel Energy & Centerpoint Energy. Our 20-year franchise agreements with both utilities expired at the end of 2014. The City of Minneapolis set September 2014 as the target date for which to reach a new franchise agreement as well as a city-utility partnership agreement. This franchise re-negotiation presented a prime window of opportunity for Minneapolis residents to charting the course for our energy future while setting a national standard for such negotiations. Having the strongest possible franchise negotiations with Xcel and Centerpoint was essential to fulfilling the 2013 Minneapolis Climate Action Plan because 2/3 of the city's contributions to the climate crisis come from these utilities.
Dirty energy prices have been rising while clean energy prices have been falling while opportunities for local economic development around clean energy technology are expanding rapidly. That is why we can not get locked into another 20 year franchise agreement of the status quo.
In 2013, we opened a discussion on the City of Minneapolis evaluating and municipal utility ownership as an option. This discussion highlighted how Minneapolis residents and businesses pay $450 Million annually to Xcel and Centerpoint, largely for out of state coal, gas, and nuclear. However, if our utilities acted on opporunities for clean, equitable, affordable, and reliable energy this money could be re-circulating within our community to create jobs and build wealth in the local economy.
We want to ensure that whatever energy pathway is taken that it protects the interests of Minneapolis residents by:
- Keeping rates at or below their current levels
- Maintaining or improving energy reliability
- Creating a clear pathway to dramatic city-wide energy savings to reduce both costs and dependency on dirty energy
- Creating a structure and system for greater community ownership, control, and economic benefit in our energy system