Renewable and Carbon-Free Energy: Encourage the use and generation of renewable and carbon-free energy in the city.
The Minneapolis Climate Action Plan calls for increasing the use of local or directly purchased renewable energy to 10 percent of the total electricity consumed in the city by 2025. It also encourages the purchase of green power and supports action to make renewables more accessible and widespread. The City’s 2040 Energy Vision foresees that by 2040 the Minneapolis energy system will provide reliable, affordable, local and clean energy services for homes, businesses and institutions, sustaining the city’s economy and environment and contributing to a more socially just community. Regulatory changes will be pursued to appropriately value renewable energy and provide incentives for its use.
Xcel Energy’s projected 2021 fuel mix for the Upper Midwest includes 30 percent wind and 10 percent other renewables, expected to result from an increase in the use of wind and solar power and by offering customers additional renewable and energy-saving options. Unfortunately, the percentage of Minneapolis communitywide electricity use from local and directly purchased renewable energy has declined in recent years, but the cost of wind and solar energy is rapidly falling, and a number of alternative approaches like community solar are making renewable electricity easier to access.
Ensuring that all residents and businesses can access and benefit from renewable energy and energy efficiency has many advantages. The renewable energy economy presents new job opportunities for workers currently in the manufacturing, construction and service sectors, as well as opportunities to build equity for communities that have historically been underrepresented in the energy field and marketplace.
The City will seek to accomplish the following action steps to encourage the use and generation of renewable and carbon-free energy in the city.
- Invest in grid modernization to accommodate increases in distributed renewable energy generation.
- Purchase clean energy directly through community solar gardens, contracts with renewable electricity developers, utility offerings, or by installing renewable energy systems on municipal buildings.
- Continue to support and advocate for accelerated and deeper decarbonization of electricity supplied by Xcel Energy.
- Explore the environmental attributes of renewable natural gas and biomethane programs potentially offered by CenterPoint Energy.
- Expand opportunities for district cogenerating energy systems and decarbonize existing district energy systems.
- Ease permitting requirements for locally distributed renewable energy.
- Encourage solar-friendly designs and provisions that protect solar access on commercial and residential buildings.
- Develop a City-owned renewable energy facility concept, which could serve both City and community energy needs.
- Support and incentivize use of geothermal, hydrothermal, and waste energy and heat facilities, including sewer thermal energy recovery, and other clean renewable energy alternatives in building, district, or municipal systems.
- Explore and implement carbon pricing, for example through utility franchise fees.