Working to Secure Local Economic Investment in Green Jobs as we build a Clean, Affordable, Reliable, and Local Energy Future for All.
By: Dylan Kesti, Minneapolis Energy Options Campaign Coordinator
In Minneapolis, MN Energy costs are rising and energy pollution is causing significantlocal and global problems. In Minneapolis we also have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make cleaner, more affordable, and more local energy available to all in Minneapolis.
In 2014 the city of Minneapolis will be renegotiating a contract with its electric and gas utilities. It’s an opportunity to change the status quo as we embark on a conversation that will chart a new energy future for the city and its residents and businesses.
In Minneapolis the franchise agreements (20 year agreements that allow the major local utilities to use the public right of way to distribute electricity and natural gas to Minneapolis energy users in exchange for paying Minneapolis about $24 million annually) is expiring in 2014.
In this moment of great opportunity to negotiate new 20 year franchise agreements with Xcel Energy and Center Point Energy, Minneapolis Energy Options stands to keep our city’s energy options open so we can secure an affordable, reliable, clean, efficient, and locally-controlled energy future for all.
In order to secure a Clean, Affordable, Reliable, and Local Energy Future for all we must build and maintain equitable training and hiring practices for Green Jobs in Minneapolis.
As Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All wrote early this month in her blog (Want to tackle climate change and fight poverty? Protect job training) supporting Federal Investment in local green job growth,
“If the solution seems simple, that’s because it is. By giving workers a chance to develop job skills in the growing clean energy economy, we not only fight unemployment–we give our country’s promising green industries the most valuable asset of all–trained, competent, knowledgeable American workers.”
At this moment in Minneapolis there is an opportunity on the table to invest in the clean energy economy, which will help move Minneapolis energy forward with a clean energy economy and also help the city meet our climate action goals.
Minneapolis Energy Options (MEO) is working to help the city meet our climate change goals of reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2015, and 30 percent by 2025.
We want to use our energy dollars to pay for clean, local, and renewable energy instead of importing polluting energy. We want to eliminate the human and environmental health impacts from polluting energy that disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color.
We can do this through increasing investment of local economic development in clean and green jobs that help us meet out climate goals and will reduce energy costs.
This campaign will explore the options we have for changing the energy system through these franchise agreements or through exploring whether energy municipalization would make sense. Municipalization in Minneapolis would mean the transfer of Xcel Energy and Centerpoint Energy corporations franchise agreements to municipal ownership.
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 (Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Antonio, Austin and many other large cities have municipal power utilities. Boulder, Colorado has recently voted to form a municipal utility).
We believe that Minneapolis should keep its options open, rather than locking in another 20-year relationship with utilities reliant on dirty energy during a time when dirty energy prices, clean energy technology, and opportunities for local economic development around energy are changing rapidly.
When the 20-year franchise agreements expire we could:
1.Negotiate new 20 year franchise agreements with Xcel and Centerpoint Energy that provide guarantees the utilities will meet their part of the greenhouse gas emission reductions, increase local renewables and energy-efficiency.
2. Sign a short-term three- to five-year franchise agreement with Xcel and Centerpoint Energy while the city explores other options like creating a municipal utility.
3. Sign another 20-year franchise agreement with no guarantees Xcel and Centerpoint Energy will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, investments in local, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The time is now to change the status quo as we embark on a conversation that will chart a new energy future for the city and its residents and businesses. The time is now for investment in local economic development in the clean energy economy. The time is now for Minneapolis residents to move form energy consumers to energy deciders as we work to secure local economic investment in green jobs to build a Clean, Affordable, Reliable, and Local Energy future for all.
Take part in the movement and help move Minneapolis Energy Forward! Join MEOHERE!
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The time is now Clean, Affordable, Reliable, and Local Energy future for all – lets keep our options open.