Contacts: Matt Laible, 612-673-2786

City Council Committee hears proposal for energy study

WHAT:            The City Council’s Regulatory, Energy & Environment Committee will hear a proposal that would direct staff to draft an energy vision for policy makers and develop a report that explores options to help inform the City as it prepares to enter into energy franchise negotiations with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy.

WHEN:         1:30 p.m., Thursday, April 4 (not time certain)              

WHERE:       City Council Chambers, room 317 of City Hall

MORE:          The City Council Committee will consider a measure that 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 City is in the early stages of preparing for negotiations for new agreements.

          State law currently limits Minneapolis’ authority over utility in franchise agreements, however the City is seeking legislative changes to allow negotiations with Xcel and CenterPoint to explore how Minneapolis could make progress towards 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, including, but not limited to changes to state legislative or PUC rule changes, unique utility partnerships, changes to the way the City uses franchise fees, and municipalization of one or both energy utilities.

          The measure the Committee is considering would allocate $250,000 to draft comprehensive “Energy Vision” goals and complete a thorough review of the options and implications of the various pathways to a future energy franchise or municipal utility. Specifically, the Council action would:

·         Direct City staff to draft 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. These draft goals will be presented to the City Council by August 2013.

·         Direct City staff to conduct a study that provides an overview of the various paths the City could take to achieve its Energy Vision goals. City staff will provide a progress update to the City Council in October 2012, and a final report will be presented to the City Council by January 2014. 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 the “municipalization pathway,” to include the process and schedule, preliminary cost estimates to move down that path, how municipalization may help Minneapolis achieve its Energy Vision goals, and identification of any potential barriers.

§  A review of alternative pathways, which may include utility partnerships, state legislative or Public Utilities Commission changes, and how energy utility franchise fees may be used for City programs.

          The Request for Council Action is available here.  

 

 

Published Apr 2, 2013