Renewable*Connect® to provide solar and wind energy for convention center and City’s drinking water facility
Minneapolis (July 18, 2017) – The Minneapolis Convention Center and one of the City’s two drinking water campuses will be powered, in part, by local solar and wind energy from Xcel Energy’s Renewable*Connect program. Hundreds of other Minnesota electric customers, including residences, local companies, and schools, have also signed up to receive renewable energy through the program.
“We’re excited to roll out this unique and affordable program that gives our customers more renewable energy options generated right here in Minnesota,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota. “The City of Minneapolis participation in the program will demonstrate to convention center visitors and residents here at home the overall commitment to sustainability we have in our community,” said Clark.
“Now more than ever, it is vital that we stay committed to Minneapolis’ ambitious climate goals that are detailed in our City’s climate action plan,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “We are doing so by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and investing in renewable energy resources. That is why the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) Board, which I co-chair, brought forward this innovative program in partnership with Xcel Energy. Thank you to fellow CEP board members Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden, Council Member Cam Gordon and Council Member Kevin Reich for working with City staff over the past several months. And thank you to Xcel Energy for continuing to be welcome partners in this work.”
The City of Minneapolis and Xcel Energy have a new agreement for the City to purchase 17.8 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar and wind energy annually. Of this total, 14 million kWh will be used for the Minneapolis Convention Center; now all of the electricity the convention center uses will be from renewable sources. The other 3.8 million kWh will be used for the City’s water treatment services. The total agreement reduces the City’s carbon dioxide pollution for streetlights, traffic signals, water treatment and distribution, sewer, and all City-owned buildings by 7,825 metric tons – a 12 percent carbon reduction total for City operations.
Of the electricity that the City of Minneapolis uses overall, 38.6 percent will now come from renewable sources.
Renewable*Connect Government, announced late last year, will power a portion of the newly renovated Minnesota State Capitol.
Approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in early 2017 and open to all customers, Renewable*Connect provides month-to-month, five-year or ten-year options for participants. Energy from the Odell Wind Farm in southern Minnesota and North Star Solar project in North Branch, Minn., were reserved for the program.
Renewable*Connect allows customers to subscribe to low-cost wind and solar energy without the need to install and maintain equipment. Customers will have the flexibility to choose how much of their energy usage they wish to subscribe and how long a commitment they wish to make. There are no up-front costs, and prices are known at the start, giving customers more price certainty.
Xcel Energy retires Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) on behalf of program participants, enabling customers to use those credits in their reporting, a key requirement for businesses with sustainability programs. An independent organization, Green-e.org, verifies the REC retirement, providing documentation that the energy used by participating customers is from the dedicated renewable energy source.