E-21 Report Released Recommending New Regulatory Model for Utilities

An initiative called “E-21” (standing for 21st Century Energy System) has been tapping into a need for visionary planning on a transition to a new utility regulatory model for Minnesota. It involves Xcel Energy teaming up with the Great Plains Institute, Minnesota Power, Center for Energy and Environment, Energy Systems Consulting Services, George Washington University Law School, and additional participants in to.  

 On December 15th, 2014 the E-21 initiative released its Phase I Report on its consensus recommendations. Click here to download report.

 The central recommendation is to revise Minnesota statutes to allow utilities to opt into a multi-year, performance-based regulatory framework for ratemaking and incentives. 

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The Clean Energy Partnership is Back on Track

We did it! Thanks to the hundreds of community residents calling their Councilmembers, close to 300 showing up to the marathon public hearing Wednesday (12/10/2014) night, and over 60 members of the public giving great testimony, we have restored funding to the Clean Energy Partnership and restored a significant portion of the proposed cuts to economic justice programs in Minneapolis. After 2 hours of inspiring public testimony, in which over 3/4 of speakers highlighted the connection between community power and economic justice goals, the Council voted 13-0 to:
  • Restore the Clean Energy Partnership to the full $150,000 proposed in the Mayor's budget (from a proposed cut to $75,000). Please note that this is still just over half of the 1% of energy franchise revenue (which is $29 million/year) that the Energy Pathways Study recommended be allocated to the partnership, but it's a start that gives the Clean Energy Partnership the staff capacity we need to start unrolling the big programs that will harness Minneapolis's $450 million/year annual energy expenditures to create clean energy, local jobs, and cost-savings for homes and businesses.
  • Recover $150,000 out of a proposed $180,000 cut to the One Minneapolis Fund. This restores most (but not all) of the originally proposed funding to support capacity building and leadership development among organizations engaging and supporting communities of color so that they can effectively participate in a wide range of city bodies and issues, including the Clean Energy Partnership.
  • Restore $25,000 as a limited increase in funding to support stable homeownership in communities of color. This is a much smaller increase than was proposed in the original budget, but it's a step forward.
Unfortunately, these changes were funded by eliminating two proposed new staff positions from the City's Communication Department that would have focused on engaging culturally-based and non-English media sources in important city issues. This was a big set-back for inclusion in the city. Cuts became necessary after the Council voted 7-6 to reduce the increase in the property tax levy. The same 7 Councilmembers (Reich, Fry, B. Johnson, Yang, Warsame, Goodman, and Palmisano) voted to approve cuts to these communications positions over a counterproposal supported by the other six (Gordon, Glidden, Cano, Bender, Quincy, and A. Johnson) to make the cuts to a $400,000 increase in the marketing budget for the Convention Center.
We didn't get everything, but protecting these key priorities for justice and sustainability could not have happened without the community rising up. We've made it clear that this is a big issue with huge consequences for economic justice, public health, and our community's future. We stopped a serious of cuts that would have dramatically hurt the rising tide of grassroots innovation working for clean energy and economic justice.
But let's remember that this is just a small step in a long journey. We didn't get anything new on Wednesday night, only preserved what we had already had in the works. These investments by the City of Minneapolis give us the capacity to work with community members across the city, the City government, and our new partners at Xcel and CenterPoint to achieve the systems change solutions we stand for. It's time to get to work on the action items we have proposed to the city for the first two years of the partnership.
Starting in January, Community Power will be seeking community volunteers to:
  1. Host a house party or neighborhood event for your friends and neighbors where we come out for an interactive discussion of our energy future as part of the Powerful Conversations Tour.
  2. Join or form a ward team of 3-5 community members in your ward who will stay in the loop with Community Power about the Partnership and communicate key updates and needs for action to your City Council member.
  3. Step up to help make the priorities of the Clean Energy Partnership into a reality
We're building out our organization to take advantage of these recent wins and plan for the long haul. We will be introducing our recently hired Community Power Coordinator next week. 

Please help us build a foundation for clean, affordable, and local energy for all by stepping up as a sustaining contributor or a one-time donor.
Thanks for all your support!

Save the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership on December 10th

Update: The Minneapolis City Council voted 13-0 on December 10th to restore the full $150,000 for the Clean Energy Partnership into the final 2015 budget. 

The City of Minneapolis adopted Goals and Strategic Directions back in March which reads “We sustain resources for future generations by reducing consumption, minimizing waste and using less energy.” 

Restoring the full funding for the Clean Energy City-Utility Partnership in the city budget this Wednesday will be a great step toward that strategic direction goal. City Council took an unexpected 7-6 vote on December 1st to cut the Clean Energy City-Utility Partnership budget in half from $150,000 to $75,000, before its board meets for the first time early next year.  Already, hundreds of community members have voiced their support for the Partnership, and called on the Council to restore this cut. 


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We Need You to Stop the Scissors From Cutting the Clean Energy Partnership!

Update: The Minneapolis City Council voted 13-0 on December 10th to restore the full $150,000 for the Clean Energy Partnership into the final 2015 budget. 

It's unbelievable, but the city council voted 7-6 yesterday to halve the budget for the clean energy partnership.

We've come too far to let a little budget fight kill the first-in-the-nation city-utility partnership, but we need your help letting city council know that we can't secure a better energy future on a shoestring budget. Join us at the city council hearing on Dec. 10 at 6:05pm to let city council know we can't cut our energy future (location info below)!

But before next Wednesday, city council members need to hear from you (respectfully) about their mistaken vote! It matters the most if you're a constituent, so find your ward and council member!

Linea Palmisano (612) 673-2213
Kevin Reich  (612) 673-2201
Jacob Frey  (612) 673-2203
Barb Johnson  (612) 673-2204
Blong Yang  (612) 673-2205
Abdi Warsame (612) 673-2206
Lisa Goodman (612) 673-2207

Read on for some suggested talking points, and a graphic you can share to let your neighbors know we need their help!

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Help Secure Clean Energy Leadership Retire Coal

As you've probably heard, our campaign has succeeded in helping Minneapolis form a City-Utility Clean Energy Partnership with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy which have both pledged to be partners in creating a clean and affordable energy future with the City.

This is a great step forward, but now we need to see the big utilities put action behind their words. Right now, Xcel Energy is considering whether to extend the life of Minnesota's largest coal-burning power plant, Sherco, for another 20 years. Sherco Units 1 and 2 are Minnesota’s largest CO2 emitters in addition to being on the EPA’s “watch list” as one of the nation’s top emitters of toxic mercury and sulfur dioxide.

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