Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Framework to Meet Our Energy Goals

I am working on a resolution with several of my colleagues on the Council that will, if passed, put the City on record as supporting a cleaner, more affordable, more reliable energy future for Minneapolis.

It's very exciting to me that energy has become a priority issue in Minneapolis.  Both Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy have come to the table, offering some specific commitments and - more importantly, from my perspective - a commitment to partner with the City meet the energy goals the City has laid out through the Climate Action Plan and elsewhere.  The Minneapolis Energy Options campaign has made clear that they support working with the utilities to translate those commitments into tangible action, rather than putting the question on the ballot this year.

The resolution commits the City to doing five major things:
  1. Developing a comprehensive energy vision for our city, as part of the Energy Pathways Study, that will incorporate the great work of the Community Environmental Advisory Commission,
  2. Advocating at the Legislature for the flexibility the City needs in order to use our franchise agreement to meet our energy goals,
  3. Continuing to explore all of our options, especially through the Pathways Study,
  4. Finalizing our negotiations for the franchise agreement by June 30 of next year, and,
  5. Directing our staff to work with Xcel and CenterPoint to make the utilities' proposed partnership a reality and achieve our energy goals.

I would note that I have heard from constituents and advocates from the Energy Options campaign that they support this resolution.

The full text of the resolution is below the fold.

DRAFT Resolution
By Gordon, Lilligren, Hodges and Schiff

Adopting a framework for reaching City of Minneapolis energy goals.

Whereas, the City of Minneapolis has adopted a City Goal to be an “eco-focused, internationally recognized leader for a healthy environment and sustainable future,” and a Sustainability Indicator Target committing the City to reduce citywide carbon emissions by 30% by 2025, relative to 2006 levels; and,

Whereas, the Climate Action Plan sets goals including achieving 15 percent energy efficiency in residential buildings, achieving 20 percent energy efficiency in commercial/industrial buildings and increasing electricity from local and directly purchased renewables to 10 percent of the total consumed by 2025, all from a 2006 baseline; and,

Whereas, in September, 2012, the Council formed a Utility Franchise Work Group to assist the city in preparing for negotiations regarding its electric and natural gas franchise agreements with public utility companies; develop a set of policy principles that will guide the city in its franchise discussions; review and consider potential legislative and/or other regulatory changes and consider formal support for these changes on the City’s state legislative agenda; and develop a community engagement program; and,

Whereas, the City has funded an Energy Pathways Study to be completed by January, 2014, that will detail what the City wants from a sustainable, 21st century energy system, and explore 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; and,

Whereas, on January 3, 2013, the Minneapolis Community Environmental Advisory Commission adopted a set of recommendations for outcomes for the new electric utility franchise agreement; and,

Whereas, the energy used in buildings, primarily for heating and cooling, accounted for 3.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2010, representing 65 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions within the City of Minneapolis, and the vast majority of this energy is supplied by the electrical and gas utilities; and,

Whereas, the City of Minneapolis has franchise agreements with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy that expire on December 31, 2014 and January 1, 2015, respectively; and,

Whereas, the City’s current franchise agreements do nothing to address the City’s energy goals; and,

Whereas, the City Council of the City of Minneapolis believes that energy should be affordable for Minneapolis ratepayers, reliable, resilient to external shocks in the face of a changing climate, efficiently delivered and used, and should come from increasingly renewable sources; and,

Whereas, the energy utilities serving Minneapolis should train, hire and promote the full diversity of the population of Minneapolis, jobs in the utility sector should pay living wages, workers should have union representation, and the rates paid by Minneapolis utility customers should support and recirculate in the local economy; and,

Whereas, Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy have both expressed a desire to work in partnership with the City of Minneapolis to meet the City’s energy goals,

Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved by the City Council of the City of Minneapolis,

That the City of Minneapolis will develop and adopt an energy vision and goals incorporating those goals already adopted in the Minneapolis Climate Action Plan, the recommendations of the Community Environmental Advisory Commission for outcomes for the new electric utility franchise agreement, as well as the work of the Utility Franchise Work Group and the Energy Pathways Study now underway.

Be it Further Resolved that the City of Minneapolis will continue to advocate for reforms at the state level that will give the City greater ability to implement the City’s energy goals, and calls on Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy to help achieve these reforms.

Be it Further Resolved that the Minneapolis City Council remains committed to continuing to explore all options for meeting the City’s energy goals as evidenced in the Energy Pathways Study and will discuss at a regular meeting of the Committee of the Whole no later than February, 2014, the results of the Study.

Be it Further Resolved that the Minneapolis City Council directs the City Coordinator’s Office and City Attorney’s Office to complete negotiations of frameworks for the electrical and natural gas franchise agreements by June 30, 2014

Be it Further Resolved that the Minneapolis City Council calls on Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy to fulfill their commitments to work in partnership with the City to meet the City’s energy goals and directs the City Coordinator’s Office to lead an ongoing dialog with them to explore opportunities to achieve the City’s energy vision.  These may include strategies articulated in the Energy Pathways Study, a regular dialog to identify barriers, develop new programs and build better outcomes, as well as greater cooperation on our legislative agenda and before the Public Utilities Commission. 


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