Proposed budget would enable Minneapolis residents, businesses to save millions on energy costs
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. — Cities across the country are grappling with extreme weather, rising sea levels, and an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many of them have committed to address this crisis. But the City of Minneapolis, under a budget proposed by Mayor Betsy Hodges, is poised to do something novel: put real resources behind its climate and energy pledge. The mayor’s budget proposal would unlock roughly $3 million in new funding, leveraging more than $20 million in utility conservation funds, and expand access to energy savings to many more residents and businesses.
Under Mayor Hodges’ budget proposal, presented Tuesday to the Minneapolis City Council, the city would increase its natural gas and electricity franchise fees by 0.5 percent — a nominal increase on payments already made by all utility customers in Minneapolis. The increase would yield substantially deeper resources for the city to pursue urgent energy goals, including retrofits of 75% of homes by 2025 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.
“The mayor’s commitment would juice up the city’s one-of-a-kind Clean Energy Partnership with utilities Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy,” says John Farrell, a member of the citizen advisory board to the Partnership and director of the Energy Democracy Initiative at the Minneapolis-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). “It would mean far more city residents and businesses would have access to tools to cut their energy use, and be able to go deeper to reduce energy costs by 20% or more.”
Minneapolis plans to power all city functions using 100% renewable energy by 2030, and is working with utilities and a diverse group of stakeholders to determine other ways the city can create an equitable clean energy economy, with job creation and universal access to clean energy cost savings.
“Cities cannot wait. It is up to cities like ours to lead both the fight against climate change and the work to adapt to it,” Hodges said in her Tuesday budget address. “Minneapolis has long been on the forefront of this effort and we intend to say there.”
The franchise fee increase aligns with a recommendation by the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership — a first-of-its-kind collaboration between CenterPoint Energy, Xcel Energy, and City Hall — to find a reliable source of ongoing funding to support wide-reaching efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions among Minneapolis residents and businesses, as well as city functions. These steps may include expanded access to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other programs for city businesses and residents.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a 42-year-old national nonprofit research and educational organization. ILSR’s mission is to provide innovative strategies, working models and timely information to support strong, community rooted, environmentally sound and equitable local economies. www.ilsr.org – Email firstname.lastname@example.org for press inquiries.