Minneapolis Utilities Form Clean Energy Partnership with City

October 20, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

Minneapolis energy manageThe Minneapolis City Council approved agreements with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy that will establish a City-utility Clean Energy Partnership to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy.

The Clean Energy Partnership came about following discussions over renewing the City’s franchise agreements with the two utilities. Many communities in Minnesota negotiate franchise agreements with their utility companies to identify the conditions under which the companies are allowed to use public property. A fee for that use is negotiated through franchise agreements, and utilities collect that fee from their customers.

Under the Clean Energy Partnership agreements, a board will be created that includes the mayor, two council members, the city coordinator and two senior officials from each of the two utilities. An Energy Vision Advisory Committee will also be established to provide feedback on the board’s work plan and gather feedback from Minneapolis communities. The board’s work plan will be shaped by Minneapolis’ adopted Climate Action Plan and may include ideas such as:

• Giving customers additional choices about the way their energy is generated.

• Increasing residential and business use of new and existing energy-efficiency and renewable-energy programs to help consumers control energy costs and reduce greenhouse gases.

• Supporting the development of renewable energy in the city and in Minnesota.

• Exploring and implementing ways for the City to reduce its own energy use and increase its use of clean and renewable energy.

The City’s current franchise agreements with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy, both signed in the early 1990s, expire at the end of this year. The new franchise agreements would begin in January 2015 and have a term with a minimum of five years and a maximum of 10 with the potential to renew for up to 20. They would maintain the current formula for establishing the fees utilities collect from customers to pay the City.

Photo: Minneapolis via Shutterstock

 

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