New study recommends city renew agreements with Xcel, CenterPoint

The nonprofit Center for Energy and Environment has recommended the city renew its franchise agreements with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy for shorter terms and “targeted enhancements,” according to a report it presented to a City Council committee today.

The Energy Pathways study outlines several ways the city can work with the two utilities to achieve its energy goals. The report comes as the city’s agreements with Xcel and CenterPoint are set to expire this year and new agreements need to be negotiated. 

The city has utility franchise agreements with Xcel for electricity and CenterPoint for natural gas, which date back to the early 1990s.

The study recommends the city’s new agreements with the utilities require annual reporting on reliability of service and energy usage, among other things.

The report presented to the Council’s Health, Environment & Community Engagement Committee today, also includes the city’s vision for an ideal energy system in 2040, recommendations for legislative initiatives to achieve its energy goals and an overview of the costs and steps the city would need to take to pursue a municipal electrical utility.

Minneapolis Energy Options pushed for a ballot measure last fall to ask voters if they supported exploring the possibility of a municipal utility. It faced opposition, however, and didn’t make it on the ballot.

As part of the Climate Action Plan, the City Council has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 15 percent in 2015 and 30 percent in 2025 compared to 2006 levels.

To achieve those benchmarks, it will have to work with Xcel and CenterPoint to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. The electric and natural gas utilities account for about 66 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report presented to the Council.