Minneapolis, Xcel launch ambitious LED streetlight proposals

Optimism and excitement abounds for LED Streetlights as item #3  on Community Power's online list of goals for the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership to accomplish.

In her Budget Proposal released this August, Mayor Hodges allocated $400,000 “to accelerate Minneapolis’ conversation of City-owned streetlights to LED technology.” The up-front cost of installing LED streetlights is offset by their lower energy consumption and maintenance costs. The program will pay for itself in three and a half years as the planned retrofitting of 900 LED fixtures which will save about $113,400 per year over their lifetime. 

Additional cities in Minnesota have already been switching to LED streetlights to save money such as St. Cloud.

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Minneapolis Launches Commercial Building Energy Challenge

Goal #7 on Community Power's online checklist for the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership has now come to fruition! The City of Minneapolis formally launched its Commercial Building Energy Challenge formally launched at a gathering last Wednesday in the City Hall Rotunda. The City now invites all tenants, managers and owners of large commercial buildings to join in the challenge of reducing their greenhouse gas footprint by 15 percent (from the 2014 level) by 2020.

Building Energy Performance Award Winners

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Tragic Housefire Exposes Key Issues for Clean Energy Partnership to Address

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.  

 

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At long last, Xcel sets Retirement Dates for Sherco Units 1 & 2

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. 

 

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First-Ever Zero Waste Summit opens up a New Energy Options Campaign for 2018

    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. 

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