City Council selects consultant to study pathways to cleaner, more sustainable energy options for Minneapolis consumers
The City Council has selected the Center for Energy and Environment to draft an energy vision that details what the City wants from a sustainable, 21st century energy system. The consultant’s work will include a report that explores the various paths the City could take to achieve its energy goals, including examination of potential utility partnerships, changes to how the City uses energy utility franchise fees, and the potential for municipalization of one or both energy utilities.
This action comes as the City prepares to enter into energy franchise negotiations with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy. State law currently limits Minneapolis’ authority over utilities in franchise agreements; however, the City is seeking legislative changes to allow negotiations with Xcel and CenterPoint to explore ways Minneapolis could make progress toward its goals for sustainable energy, improved air quality, equity and green jobs. The City wishes to explore options to achieve its energy goals outside the existing franchise agreement structure.
The study will help frame the future franchise negotiations with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy, as well as the City’s work to get more clean-energy options for consumers. The City currently has utility franchise agreements with Xcel Energy for electricity and CenterPoint Energy for natural gas. These agreements, which were signed in the early 1990s, both expire at the end of 2014.
The Center for Energy and Environment will draft comprehensive “energy vision” goals and complete a thorough review of the options and implications of the various pathways to meet the City’s energy goals. Milestones will include:
An updated set of “energy vision” goals for a future energy system. These goals may address the greenhouse gas intensity of the system, use and ownership of renewable energy, energy efficiency outcomes, reliability standards, affordability, and access to energy use information. The energy vision goals will shape the next milestone:
A study that provides an overview of the various paths the City could take to achieve its energy vision goals. The study will include a progress update and a final report presented to the City Council. The report will include:
A review of the current legislative and legal landscape;
An examination of existing municipal utilities in Minnesota and across the country (utility performance, history, shared models, etc);
A report on a “municipalization pathway,” to include a description of the process, schedule and preliminary cost estimates for forming a municipal utility under Minnesota law. The report will also include an evaluation of the potential for municipalization to help Minneapolis achieve its energy vision goals, and an identification of potential risks and barriers.
A review of alternative pathways for achieving the City’s energy vision, which may include forming utility partnerships, adopting state legislative or Public Utilities Commission regulatory changes, and considering using energy utility franchise fees for City programs.
More information is available on the City’s energy utilities franchise agreements web page.
Published Jun. 28, 2013