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The Minneapolis Energy Options Coalition began in 2011 with a vision of using the $450 million energy dollars Minneapolis pays each year on our utility bills to create a clean energy economy where the wealth circulates withing the community. The incumbent utilities were abusing their monopoly power to put up barriers to local and community owned renewable energy.
What we did have was the option to campaign for a City ballot initiative that would authoritize formation of a city-owned utility as a lever to achieve clean energy wins, inspired by Boulder, Colorado.
The primary motive for the Minneapolis Energy Options Campaign was building up leverage for the city's upcoming utility franchice negotiations because Minneapolis not could meet its climate action plan goals without the cooperation of the utilities responsible for 2/3 of the City's greenhouse gas emissions.
But then a push poll of city voters plus Xcel's letter letter to its Minneapolis customers instigated opposition to the resolution but also raised the public profile that the city even had a different option.
In February 2014, the Minneapolis Energy Pathways Study reccommended forming a city-utility partnership. It brought up the question about the roles of the City versus the State in regard to utility regulation.
At the end of 2014, Minneapolis Energy Options made headlines one last time thought our brief but successful campaign to save the new City Utility Partnership from budget cuts before its first meeting.
We emphasized that the City-Utility Partnership has the potential to transform energy management for Minneapolis energy consumers enough to meet very aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in the Minneapolis Climate Action Plan and produce very significant savings to Minneapolis residents and businesses. These benefits could amount to tens of millions of dollars per year through energy efficiency alone.
Transitioning to our role as Community Power as the Clean Energy Partnership begins in early 2015, we proposed 9 actions item to the City for the first two years of the City-Utility partnership.
Individual big cities currently provide the greatest political hope for bold breakthroughs and visionary work on climate policies within the United States. Among these big cities, Minneapolis is the first to form a clean energy partnership with its utilities. If successful, the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership could set an inspiring new national precedent for how local leadership can influence shareholder-controlled utilities to meet mutual climate, justice, and local economic development goals, leveraging much-needed positive changes in the utility business model.