Minnesota and the Volkswagen Settlement Fact Sheet

From 2009 to 2016, Volkswagen cheated on emissions tests. In 2016, they were forced to pay $2.9 billion into a trust for states, tribes, and Puerto Rico to mitigate the environmental damage they caused. Minnesota’s share of that settlement is $47 million, which will be spent over three phases and administered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The settlement allows money to be spent in two ways: reducing emissions from diesel vehicles and expanding electric charging infrastructure.

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Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership lays out next steps forward for Inclusive Financing

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.

 

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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.

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John Farrell: Let’s look more closely at the Xcel deal on closing coal plants

By JOHN FARRELL |May 23, 2019 at 12:33 am     

https://www.twincities.com/2019/05/23/john-farrell-lets-look-more-closely-at-the-xcel-deal-on-closing-coal-plants/

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.

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E3 Study Conclusions give clue on Xcel's Energy Plan

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 )

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