Minneapolis commits to using only renewable energy

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Minneapolis just became the 65th U.S. city to formally commit to using 100 percent renewable energy, joining a growing list of large municipalities pledging to wean their municipal, commercial and residential buildings off fossil fuel-based power.

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a commitment to transition the city to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, an aggressive timetable that will draw heavily on the state and region’s abundant wind power and emerging solar marketplace.

Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc., the primary electricity provider to the city’s 415,000 residents, is already the nation’s No. 1 user of wind power, and it has been instrumental in helping craft Minnesota’s renewable energy agenda.

Neighboring St. Paul, with 302,000 people, is also working to expand renewables under the Solar America Cities initiative but has not pledged to meet a 100 percent renewable energy target. St. Louis Park, a Minneapolis suburb of 48,000, also has promised to become fully dependent on renewables by 2030.

Under the Minneapolis commitment, city leaders will prepare a blueprint by early 2019 establishing policy and technological strategies for achieving the target. The city also will work to achieve energy equity goals and advancing environmental justice, officials said.

“One effective way to make sure that energy remains affordable and that the transition to clean energy meets the needs of those most marginalized and historically impacted by pollution is persistent and intentional community engagement from a wide range of people,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement.

As part of its effort, Minneapolis aligned itself with the Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” campaign, which aims to get more U.S. cities to commit to only renewables. Other major cities taking similar pledges include Atlanta; Orlando; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; San Francisco and St. Louis.

“The City of Minneapolis is setting the stage for not only what is possible for Minnesota cities and large customers, but demonstrating the demand that our communities have for clean renewable energy,” said Sierra Club lead organizer Alexis Boxer.