Energy Choices for Minneapolis

Energy costs are rising and energy pollution is causing significant global problems. We often feel powerless to change things.

But we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put cleaner, more affordable, and more local energy on the agenda right here in Minneapolis. Very soon, the city of Minneapolis will be renegotiating a contract with its electric and gas utilities. It’s a conversation that will chart a new energy future for the city and its residents and businesses.

Learn more in this made-for-web presentation:

Taking Control of Minneapolis's Energy Future

By Ken Bradley

Mayor Rybak was one of the first mayors to sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement approved by the Minneapolis City Council, which established a goal to curb greenhouse gas emissions and increase renewable energy. Taking the agreement one step further, the city of Minneapolis also established its own, more ambitious goal of a 30 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 (based on 2006 levels).

Xcel Energy and Centerpoint Energy are responsible for roughly two-thirds of our city’s greenhouse gas emissions. They have made some progress, yet last year the carbon intensity of Xcel Energy’s electricity increased and the city has no guarantee from either utility to meet the city’s greenhouse gas targets. Neither utility has shown strong support for local renewable energy programs and Xcel proposed eliminating the popular Solar Rewards Program.

In the next few years both Xcel Energy’s and Centerpoint Energy’s franchise agreements with the city of Minneapolis are coming up for renewal. These 20-year contracts give each utility a monopoly over electricity and gas service, respectively, and are common to most cities.

This pending expiration of contracts makes this the perfect opportunity to align Minneapolis’ goals to reduce emissions; increase local, renewable energy; and reduce energy usage with these long-term agreements. Minneapolis has three options:

1. We can negotiate new 20 year franchise agreements with Xcel and Centerpoint Energy that provide guarantees the utilities will meet their part of the greenhouse gas emission reductions, increase local renewables and energy-efficiency.

2. Sign a short-term three- to five-year franchise agreement with Xcel and Centerpoint Energy while the city explores other options like creating a municipal utility.

3. Sign another 20-year franchise agreement with no guarantees Xcel and Centerpoint Energy will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, investments in local, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Read the rest at Downtown Journal ->

Touring the Grid with Boulder’s City Council

This short video by the City of Boulder shows how the city council has teamed up with the nearby municipal utility in Ft. Collins to demystify the business of running an electric utility. This short video is a tour of local electric infrastructure.

How Boulder Won its Campaign for Clean Local Power

How Boulder Won its Campaign for Clean Local Power

The opposition utility dumped $1 million into the campaign and outspent local activists 10-to-1, but Boulder citizens narrowly passed a measure giving the city the go-ahead to pursue a municipal electric utility with a goal of much more clean, local power.  Here’s a short video about the campaign.

Boulder Energy Future Reel from Walden Hyde on Vimeo.

Video is up of Susan Osborne’s presentation!

If you missed her stellar presentation, now’s your chance to hear how Boulder finally came to municipalization of its electric system after many futile years of trying to work with Xcel Energy to get more clean, local power.