Once in a generation, we have a window of opportunity to shape our energy future. Minneapolis Energy options is about people becoming energy deciders, not just consumers. We need to keep our city’s energy options open so we can secure an affordable, reliable, clean, efficient, and locally-controlled energy future.
Minneapolis Energy Options is a coalition of organizations and neighbors interested in expanding energy options for the City of Lakes. We support more conservation and energy efficiency, local renewable energy and democratic control of our energy system.
Minneapolis has 20-year franchise agreements to allow Xcel Energy (for electricity) and Centerpoint Energy (for gas) to construct and maintain energy distribution facilities in the public right of way. These agreements bring in around $23 million annually to the City budget – this is out of an approximately $450 million in annual revenue that Xcel and Centerpoint gain from Minneapolis commercial and residential customers each year. The current franchise agreement for Xcel expires in January 2014, and the current agreement with Centerpoint expires in early 2015. Both utilities will likely be looking to sign similar agreements for new 20 year periods.
A group of organizers has come together since November, first to discuss if there are ways to use this franchise agreement to advance support for energy efficiency, clean energy, and local ownership. As it has become clear that options for changing the energy system through these franchise agreements are limited, we have started exploring whether energy municipalization would make sense. While most of the thousands of municipal utilities in existence were formed many decades ago, a number of cities have recently formed municipal utilities in order to create greater freedom in pursuing energy efficiency and renewable energy. Some cities have seen dramatic increases in their sourcing of renewable energy (over 50% renewable energy in some cases) with declines in energy costs of up to 10% and dramatic investments in energy efficiency.