City commits to 100-percent renewable electricity

The Minneapolis City Council passed a resolution April 27 committing the city to using electricity from 100-percent renewable sources by 2030.

The timeline set for city facilities and operations is even shorter. The goal is to make their sources of electricity 100-percent renewable by 2022.

City Council Member Cam Gordon (Ward 2) said while it won’t be easy to achieve the goals, the city’s commitment is important and builds on targets set in the 2013 Minneapolis Climate Action Plan. That document — a roadmap for combatting climate change by aggressively cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing reliance on fossil fuels — called for the city to get 10 percent of its electricity from local, renewable sources by 2025.

“This is actually pushing ourselves pretty far,” Gordon said of the resolution.

Gordon co-authored the resolution with council members Steve Fletcher (Ward 3) and Jeremy Schroeder (Ward 11).

“This isn’t a resolution to make us feel good,” Fletcher said before the Council vote. “This is a resolution that is really directing resources, and it has a plan behind it to achieve the goals that we’re setting.”

In October, city staff delivered a blueprint report for achieving 100-percent renewable electricity in municipal operations by 2022. It notes that municipal electricity consumption is expected to drop to 85 million kWh in 2022 from 101 million kWh today, and that the city’s participation in Xcel Energy’s Renewable*Connect program means it can claim that more than 18 percent of the electricity consumed by municipal operations already comes from renewable sources, like wind and solar.

Possible next steps for the city include installation of solar arrays on city-owned properties and investments in new wind farm projects. The city and Xcel area also discussing the concept of a city-owned renewable energy facility.

“It’s really important to have this resolution come now,” Schroeder said. “At a time when federal and state policymakers are undermining our sustainability and resilience as a city, it’s more important that we act locally to protect our future.”

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