Minneapolis Energy Options

(Click link after text for a more detailed and in-depth story)

 

The Minneapolis Energy Options Campaign originated in 2011 with a vision of using more of the $450 million energy dollars Minneapolis pays each year on our utility bills to create a clean energy economy where the wealth circulates within the community. The incumbent utilities have long abused their monopoly power to put up barriers to local and community-owned renewable energy. Click here to read more 

 

The expiration of Minneapolis' utility franchise agreements at the end of 2014 is the reason why community activists launched Minneapolis Energy Options launched when they did. Click here to read more

 

Existing State law and Xcel Energy's continued lobbying presence at Capitol narrowed the scope of the energy options Minneapolis could take.  Click here to read more

 

The option that state law did provide for us was the option to campaign for a City ballot initiative that would authoritize formation of a city-owned utility. Boulder, Colorado took this path in 2011, which inspired the campaign. Click here to read more

 

The campaign had utilized an abundance of talking points for how municipal power is superior in theory. Click here to read more

 

However, the primary motive for the Minneapolis Energy Options Campaign was building up leverage for the city's upcoming utility franchice negotiations. Minneapolis not could meet its climate action plan goals without the cooperation of the utilities whose fuel supply is collectively responsible for 2/3 of the City's greenhouse gas emissions.   Click here to read more

 

Minneapolis Energy Options paved the way for the City to negotiate a shorter franchise agreement and to form a city-utility partnership in 2014. Click here to read more   

 

The Minneapolis Energy Options campaign went active in early 2013 and began with winning endorsements among neighborhood organizations, candidates for local office and sitting councilmembers. Click here to read more

 

Minneapolis Energy Options won strategic victories in mid-2013 by getting the endorsed at the MPLS City DFL convention and by reaching and MOU with Centerpoint Energy.  Click here to read more

 

But in the second half of July, Xcel Energy sent a letter to all of its Minneapolis customers which instigated opposition to the resolution while at the same time raising public awareness that the city even had a different option for energy.   Click here to read more

 

In the heat of the moment, there were some common misconceptions about Minneapolis Energy Options, such as that it would require the city to municipalize if voters passed it. Click here to read more

 

The Minneapolis Energy Options Campaign had its big day with an August 1st, 2013 public hearing in front of City Council. Click here to read more

 

We had some post public-hearing wins with the City Council approving a plan B for Minneapolis Energy Options.  Click here to read more

 

Our original intended ballot initiative did not materialize but the campaign continued and evolved into a diffrernt form, renaming itself Community Power.   Click here to read more

 

The moral of the story among many similar ones is that grassroots pressure is essential to Xcel's environmental credentials.  Click here to read more

 

In February 2014, the Minneapolis Energy Pathways Study reccommended forming a city-utility partnership. It brought up discussion about the roles of the City versus the State in regard to utility regulation. Click here to read more

 

We had a successful 2014 campaign to include a community input advisory committee into the city-utility partnership and for a shorter franchise agreement.  Click here to read more

 

At the end of 2014, Minneapolis Energy Options made the news in city politics one last time through our brief but successful campaign to save the new City Utility Partnership from budget cuts before its first meeting. Click here to read more

 

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. Click here to read more. 

1 A Commercial Building Energy Challenge

2 A Community Engagement approach to Residential Energy Efficiency

3 A Multi-Family unit Energy Efficiency program  

4 LED Streetlight conversions

5 Accessible Community Solar 

6 Developing an On-Bill Repayment option

7 Buying Rural Renewable Energy 

8 Incentives for Green New Buildings 

9 Residential Energy Efficiency Bench-marking 

 

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.

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