City leaders weigh in on Xcel’s plan for carbon reduction, energy efficiency goals

City leaders are pushing Xcel Energy to make more aggressive goals on energy efficiency and carbon reductions as part of its proposed 2015-2030 resource plan it has submitted to the Public Utilities Commission for final approval.

The City of Minneapolis has a new Clean Energy Partnership with Xcel and CenterPoint Energy designed to help the city reach goals outlined in its Climate Action Plan, which calls for a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050 based on 2006 levels.

Xcel’s integrated resource plan calls for increasing its reliance on renewable energy sources (wind, hydro and solar) to 35 percent of its energy mix by 2030 — up from 25 percent today. Its use of coal as an energy source would drop to 29 percent by 2030 compared to 37 percent today.

It has proposed an annual energy savings of 1.5 percent for 2016–2021 and an 1.3 percent annual energy savings from 2022–2030.

Xcel’s resource plan proposes a 42 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, according to recent presentations to City Council committees by Brendon Slotterback, the city’s sustainability program coordinator.

Slotterback said the city has drafted comments on the plan suggesting greater carbon reductions and higher energy savings goals could be possible for Xcel.

For instance, clean energy proponents have been pushing Xcel to retire Sherco 1 and 2 — two coal-fired power plants in Becker, Minn., in favor of renewable energy resources to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Early and rapid action on those carbon reductions is important,” Slotterback said during a presentation before the Council’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee on Sept. 17.

City Council Members Cam Gordon (Ward 2) and Lisa Bender (Ward 10) said they’d like to see the city be forceful in pushing Xcel to increase its use of renewable resources.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is taking public comments on utilities’ resource plans until Oct. 2. Go to www.mn.gov/puc and click on the “Speak Up” link.

(Below: A slide from Slotterback’s presentation showing Xcel’s proposed energy mix for 2030.)