Saving energy in homes and buildings is too often merely the cute little endeavor that everyone agrees with and smiles at for a second. Not responding to energy efficiency as an actual priority can be deadly, as we have seen in the lives of 3 young children aged 1, 6, and 7 from the same family being lost in a tragic house fire.
A household of renters in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in North Minneapolis made an ill-fated attempt to heat their living area because their landlord who lives miles away in Shakopee and hadn't gotten around to turning on the natural gas heat yet. Evidence points toward the fire starting near the stove while the oven was running while open.
Xcel's E-Docket filing on Friday October 2nd, 2015 had a particularly big news item regarding the highest profile issue in their 2016-2030 Integrated Resource Plan. Xcel has set a time table to cease coal generation at Sherco Unit 1 & 2 in 2026 and 2023 respectively and replace them with a new natural gas plant and solar generation on the same site. This is a huge shift from back in January when Xcel officials filed with regulators a preferred plan to keep all of Sherco's units burning coal through 2030 (though somehow at a lower pace). In response, the PUC ordered Xcel Energy to evaluate the scenarios for retiring Sherco resulting in filing on March 16th that has been picked apart for the several month-long comment period- and now stands as corrected. Click Here to read my comments on it.
This decision on Sherco may seem groundbreaking and dramatic when viewed from from the usual central station perspective of utility systems. “In reality, though, from the perspective of what is technologically possible, economically cost-effective, and publicly desirably, Xcel or any other utility could be retiring Sherco 1 & 2 in 4 and 5 years rather than 8 & 10 years. There is a big chance Xcel will find that it is much easier to do much more, more quickly than they initially think.Read more
For a reason that closely parallels the 2013 Minneapolis Energy Options campaign, the broader environmental justice community is paying close attention to Covanta, the company that operates the Hennepin County Garbage Burner facility located just north of the Twins Stadium in Downtown Minneapolis. In a similar way to how Xcel and Centerpoint’s contract with Minneapolis expired at the end of 2014, Covanta’s contract with Hennepin County and the Power purchase agreements for the downtown garbage burner both expire in 2018. As the operator of 40 incinerators over the world, Covanta will want to renew their contract in 2018. However, this expiration date presents the community with a powerful leverage opportunity to organize for more sustainable options for our tax dollars. If we can devoting these few remaining years before 2018 to make dramatic progress toward Zero Waste, it will provide the county the leverage it needs to end the contract when Covanta asks for a renewal.Read more
Check out the visionary community solar work happening now in North Minneapolis.
This project is a product of a new collaboration between Shiloh Temple, Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light (MNIPL), Sierra Club North Star, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), Renewable NRG Partners, & Cooperative Energy Futures.
The core priorities of the project are creating access to clean energy for all, and providing job training in the solar industry to local, low-income residents.
On September 16th, the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, tenants, and multifamily building leaders came together and formed a coalition with organizations and energy experts from the community to devise solutions and strategies to address the energy justice & power dynamics facing renters in Minneapolis. The energy and momentum created here can be channeled to support tenant organizing city-wide. Overall we have to organize to build up enough community pressure to finally induce some productive meetings with landlords who have not been investing in energy efficiency. This is an issue that could bring some radical energy that drew so many into the Minneapolis Energy Options campaign a few years ago.