Managers from utilities Xcel and Centerpoint showed a more positive, forward-moving attitude toward inclusive financing at the May 30th Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership Board meeting than they had in previous meetings.
The major step the Partnership board took was agreeing on a definition of inclusive financing:
"Inclusive financing allows direct investment in resources efficiency upgrades on the customer side of the meter through an on-bill approach regardless of customers income, credit score, or renter/ owner status. Under this definition, debt is not accrued by the customer."
This is a big step in bringing city and utility leadership on the same page about existing barriers and possible solutions. The Clean Energy Partnership has already formally identified Inclusive Financing as one of its next major priorities in order to make renewable energy and energy efficiency more accessible and equitable.
- In the coming 6 months, a "feasibility and market study" will be completed looking at Inclusive Financing potential in Minnesota. The funding was made possible by the utility franchise fee increase adopted in late 2017. Partners of the study include: 3 Minnesota cities, and subject matter experts like UMN Energy Transition Lab.
CENTERPOINT ENERGY'S ON-BILL LOAN PROGRAM
- CenterPoint Energy is on track to implement its first ever On-Bill Loan repayment program for energy efficiency improvements, with a "soft launch" in late 2018 and an full launch by early 2019. Center for Energy and Envirionment has been chosen to be the administrator of CenterPoint’s upcoming on-bill-loan repayment program. This program allows for multiple sources of money to be used for a list of eligible efficiency improvements. Because it is a loan-based program, CEE has issued some lending criteria.
- CenterPoint representatives on the Clean Energy Partnership acknowledge and understand that their On-Bill Loan Repayment program, though very useful in increasing customers' ease of use of loan systems, is not Inclusive Financing by definition because the loan and credit aspects remain.
We "Won"! And, this year, by that we mean: we played some EXCELLENT DEFENSE. Little progress, but we didn't lose ground.
On all 5 of the bad energy measures pushed this legislative session, the corporate interests lost. Read more on these five big-bad-measures (bad for local community ownership, bad for renewables, bad for treaty rights) below!
- Xcel's Nuclear Blank Check bill
- Disruptive changes to Community Solar Garden law
- The “Guilt By Association” bill
- Green-lighting Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline
- Restricting Solar Rewards funding
Here's the one POSITIVE thing we moved forward on, SF 3245, a stand-alone measure, which passed into law. This measure reauthorizes residential PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) in Minnesota which allows residents to finance energy improvements or renewable energy via their property tax bills. The bill follows a task force appointed by the legislature in 2017 which determined adequate protections for participating consumers in residential PACE. Even though this removed the moratorium on residential PACE, the requirements placed on residential PACE are still quite restrictive.
There were lot of organizations who supported the residential PACE bill which also includes an Amendment from Senator Scott Dibble which adds solar and energy storage as potential improvements that can be financed with PACE and it allows MHFA to integrate their loans with utility on-bill-repayment programs.
Low-income communities, indigenous communities and communities of color in Minneapolisexperience unequal health, wealth, employment and education outcomes and are also overburdened by environmental conditions such as traffic and stationary pollution sources, brownfield sites, blight and substandard housing.
The idea for developing a Minneapolis Green Zone initiative came from the Minneapolis Climate Action Plan Environmental Justice Working Group. A Green Zone is a place based polity initiative aimed at improving health and supporting economic developing using environmentally conscious efforts in communities that face the cumulative effects of environmental pollution, as well as social, political and economic vulnerability.Read more
New and expanded clean energy programming for 2018 was recently announced by the City’s Division of Sustainability at the Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights, and Engagement (PECE) Committee meeting on March 26. See Link https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/File/2018-00343 Through a collaborative engagement process with the Clean Energy Partnership, the following programs totaling nearly $1,000,000 were selected:Read more
On Friday, April 27th, the Minneapolis City Council approved a resolution to transition to 100 percent clean renewable electricity citywide by 2030, on a unanimous vote. The resolution also sets a much more immediate goal of 100 percent renewable electricity for municipal facilities and operations by 2022.
Minneapolis now joins 64 other cities in the nation who have passed similar 100% renewable resolutions such as Atlanta; Boulder, Orlando, Madison, Portland, Ore; St. Louis, San Francisco; San Diego; Salt Lake City. Minnesota is the largest city in the Midwest to pass the resolution and the third City in Minnesota after Saint Louis Park and Rochester.
In addition to the resolution, Mayor Frey also joined the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy initiative, which already includes nearly 200 mayors nationwide.Read more