Minneapolis, Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy form first-of-its-kind Clean Energy Partnership

Today, Mayor Betsy Hodges and the City Council approved agreements with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy that, among other things, establish a first-of-its-kind City-utility Clean Energy Partnership which will have the City and the utility companies collaborating in new ways to help Minneapolis achieve its clean energy goals. These goals include making energy affordable and reliable for everyone while increasing energy efficiency, increasing renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gases.

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 utility companies to identify the conditions under which the companies are allowed to use public property to provide service to local residents and businesses. A fee for that use is negotiated through franchise agreements, and utilities collect that fee from their customers.

“I am hopeful that the Clean Energy Partnership will help us address the defining challenge of our time,” said Council Member Cam Gordon. “Future generations will judge us by how successful we are at slowing and stopping climate change. To do that we need to move our city, and our nation, to an energy efficient economy and to clean, renewable energy sources.”

“When it came time to negotiate franchises with the utilities, we saw an opportunity to do more for a rapidly changing world than just renew old agreements,” said Council Member Elizabeth Glidden. “This was our chance to define what the city really needs from its energy suppliers. The resulting Clean Energy Partnership is a  major breakthrough in working together for a greater good.”

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 critical Minneapolis communities. The board’s work plan will be shaped by Minneapolis’ adopted Climate Action Plan and may include ideas such as:

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 approved today 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.

More information is available about the tentative Clean Energy Partnership and franchise agreements at www.minneapolismn.gov/energyfranchise.

Published Oct 17, 2014