At the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership board meeting on June 17th, all parties of the Partnership (Xcel, Centerpoint and the City of Minneapolis) unanimously agreed to a motion that laid out a path forward for an Inclusive Financing Pilot project in or around Minneapolis.
The Inclusive Financing board motion “reaffirms the partnership’s commitment to explore in good faith and Inclusive Financing pilot program that provides a reasonably beneficial service to customers”. It also outlined a list of key features for the pilot program as well as a list of next action steps for the partners (Xcel, Centerpoint and Minneapolis Partnership) to take this year.
This is treading new ground.
Currently existing inclusive financing programs around the nation have originated under rural electric cooperatives who serve much smaller constituencies than Xcel and Centerpoint. The East Central Co-Op in Minnesota had already implemented a program that is similar to PAYS.
There is no precedent for Investor Owned Utilities making Inclusive Financing available voluntarily or for an Inclusive Financing program that serves urban areas.
Settlement to close coal plants says more about the poor state of monopoly utility oversight than climate change
On May 20, 2019, after closed-door negotiations with a few environmental groups and the labor union LIUNA, Xcel Energy announced an agreement on early retirement of its coal plants, new solar commitments, and buying a fracked gas plant.
While Xcel retiring its coal plants, committing to ramped up energy efficiency, and adding 3,000 megawatts of new solar by 2030 are significant wins for Minnesota’s health, environment, climate goals, and energy customers, it comes at a high cost.
Xcel shareholders make out handsomely from the deal. The monopoly utility wins a cease fire over its proposal to purchase an existing gas plant in Mankato. Taken together with the proposed Becker gas plant that it won through legislative hijinks two years ago, the projects will add well over one billion dollars to the company’s rate base - i.e. the amount energy users pay a guaranteed rate of return to Xcel upon.
By JOHN FARRELL |May 23, 2019 at 12:33 am
Earlier this week, Xcel Energy announced an agreement with several environmental organizations over its upcoming 15-year resource plan. Highlights include early retirement of its coal plants, new solar commitments, and buying a fracked-gas plant. While there are several significant wins for Minnesota’s health, environment, climate goals, and energy customers, it comes at a high cost for measures that the state’s utility regulators should require of the utility without concession.
Xcel shareholders make out handsomely. The monopoly utility wins a cease fire over its proposal to purchase an existing gas plant in Mankato. Taken together with the proposed Becker gas plant that it won through legislative hijinks two years ago, the projects will add well over $1 billion to the company’s rate base — the capital expenses that the utility’s shareholders earn profits on.Read more
Xcel Energy has teamed up with a research organization called E3 to model 18 different scenarios for our long-term energy future. Xcel hired E3 to help them craft their 15-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which Xcel Energy has a July 1st deadline to release.
On April 17th, E3 presented the study conclusions to a room of Xcel Employees and stakeholders who are closely following Xcel’s integrated resource planning process. See Full slideshow here.
Xcel will release a sneak preview of the 15-year plan the company prefers on May 20th which will provide us with some new updates. But until then, here are the Main Takeaways from E3’s April 17th presentation: (Below )Read more
This past April Fool’s day, Community Power and Partners performed a street theater of a press conference. We drew attention toward Xcel Energy intending to sink $650 million ratepayer dollars into purchasing a Mankato natural gas plant. Mr. Monopoly in costume, spoke for Xcel and gave a prepared statement to the public and press: “We are overanxious to be able to give this vision and long-term debt with the Minnesota public." While the press conference was of course satirical, the script did involve actual direct quotes from Xcel CEO Ben Fowke, Xcel Govt Affairs Lobbyist Rick Evans, and recent Xcel Regulatory Consultant James Albers.
Click Image above for the final cut of the video !
Watch the full You Tube version of the video or the full Livestream or the of our press conference performance outside Xcel Headquarters April 1st, or read the full transcript below. There's also the livestream here from a more front-facing angle: http://bit.ly/2OF0KJV
Comments to the MN Public Utilities Commission on the Mankato Natural gas plant proposal will close on April 30th. It was preceded by numerous comments opposing the purchase and news coverage from Frank Jossi of Midwest Energy News.
The following day on April 2nd, Xcel Energy officials also stated their case for the Mankato Gas Plant acquisition (see full quote on blogpost) during an event where the public was invited to give feedback and questions to Xcel on its on its to-be-released long-term energy plan.
Click below for the Full Transcript !Read more