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GreenStep City Best Practices Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing
no. 15

Adopt environmentally preferable purchasing policies and practices to improve health and environmental outcomes.
  Best Practice Action 2      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ]       [all actions]

Purchase energy used by city government - via green tags, community solar garden, 3rd party - with a higher renewable percentage than required by Minnesota law.

 
  • The renewable grid mix requirements for public electric utilities (and Xcel Energy) are 17% (25%) by 2016, 21.5% (31.5%) by 2020, and 26.5% by 2025.
  • Most utilities in Minnesota offer green power or green pricing programs whereby a city can purchase green tags (RECs, or Renewable Energy Credits) that assure additional renewable energy generating capacity is built.
  • Read about the 2016 Governmental Solar Garden Subscriber Collaborative, a joint effort by and for 31 local governments in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan region that procured solar garden subscriptions via a single Request for Proposals (RFP) process to offset the energy usage at public facilities. By working together, the participants sought to gain an economy of scale in the solicitation process that could help to attract developers, reduce the administrative burden to vet those developers, and yield better pricing and subscription terms. Cities used their B3 data to gauge the maximum amount of electricity they could subscribe to. In 2018 a similar joint purchasing program, Solar Possible, facilitated purchase of 4 MWs of solar PV systems, via a joint RFP and a master contract, by nearly a dozen cities/government units, with cost savings of 10-15%. See also the Midwest Renewable Energy Association's group-buy Solarize program.
  • Third-party solar (see a model RFP and other documentes) agreements have a city lease city-owned roof (or other) space to a company that installs & owns generating capacity used by the city. Or the city signs a power purchase agreement from generating capacity not on city property. Because a private company can take advantage of any state/federal tax credits, energy costs to the city are typically lower than the local utility rate.
  • For actions and resources related to creating local renewable energy generation capacity, see the GreenStep renewable energy best practice.
Purchase above the renewable electricity grid mix required in state law: purchased renewable energy credits ("green tags") and/or a city government subscription of electricity from a community solar garden (note: some CSG reports are under action 26.6) and/or a "third-party" agreement whereby the city leases roof (or other) space to a company that installs & owns generating capacity sold to the city. Report under action 26.5 city use of 'free energy' generated by city-owned renewable energy technology; report city promotion of resident/business purchases from a community solar garden under 26.4
Purchase electricity, natural gas, liquid fuels & steam heat such that in total energy content renewables make up at least 35%; report if municipal utility generation mix is above that required by MN law.
Purchase 100% renewable electricity for city operations from a solar garden, 3rd party, or via green tags; purchase electricity, natural gas, liquid fuels & steam heat such that in total energy content renewables make up at least 50%; join the Green Power Partnership.

Jordan

Date action report first entered:   08/25/2016
Date of last report update:   04/26/2017
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
On April 17, 2017, the City of Jordan’s City Council approved the city to move forward and finalize a contract with ReneSola – a community solar company. After that, the city will offset 120% of its electricity usage from a community solar garden, saving about $3,000,000 over the 25 year contract.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The cost savings associated with going solar, and the amount of carbon emissions eliminated, will ultimately be used to judge this action.

            view file

For more information contact:
Lauren Walburg (City staff)   |   lwalburg@jordanmn.gov   |   952-492-7928

Partners:
ReneSola

View All Jordan Actions

Minnetonka

Date action report first entered:   01/12/2018
Date of last report update:   01/12/2018
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
In 2017, the City of Minnetonka began purchasing electric energy from a solar garden (WGL Energy). In 2017, 32% of the City's full electric load was from 100% solar produced, and the remaining 68% of the energy usage was from 25% renewable.

For more information contact:
Drew Ingvalson (City staff)   |   dingvalson@eminnetonka.com   |   952-939-8293

View All Minnetonka Actions

Shoreview

Date action report first entered:   04/26/2013

Implementation details:
The City has been a member of Xcel's Windsource program for a number of years. All of the City's electricity is purchased under this program.

For more information contact:
Ellen Brenna (City staff)   |   ebrenna@shoreviewmn.gov   |   651-490-4665

View All Shoreview Actions

Elk River

Date action report first entered:   01/12/2011

Implementation details:
The city government receives its power from our Municipal Utility. 11% comes from our landfill gas plant, 1.5% comes from wind, and the remaining renewables come from hydropower in Manitoba and GRE's refuse-derived-fuel facility. Altogether, renewables account for about 20% of our energy needs.

For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff)   |   ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov   |   763-635-1068

View All Elk River Actions

Hermantown

Date action report first entered:   04/15/2015
Date of last report update:   04/15/2015

Implementation details:
The City of Hermantown currently purchases its electricity from Minnesota Power who generates 20% of their power from renewable sources. Primary sources include wind, hydro and, some biomass, with plans to grow its presence in the renewable sector in the future.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Carbon emissions from electric use by the City of Hermantown are diminished by 20%, and continue to grow

Descriptive links: http://www.mnpower.com/Environment/Wind             view file

For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff)   |   afulton@hermantownmn.com   |   218-729-3618

View All Hermantown Actions

Marshall

Date action report first entered:   04/16/2013

Implementation details:
The City of Marshall receives its power from Marshall Municipal Utility. Currently 15% of our electricity comes from wind resources and 17% is supplied by hydropower. Overall, renewable energy supplies 32% of total purchases by the City of Marshall.

For more information contact:
Mark Antony (City staff)   |   MarkA@marshallutilities.com   |   (507) 537-7005

Partners:
Marshall Municipal Utilities

View All Marshall Actions

Albert Lea

Date action report first entered:   07/20/2016
Date of last report update:   07/20/2016

Implementation details:
Minnesota Three LLC's Solar Array is a collaborative effort between Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services (Albert Lea), People's Energy Cooperative (Oronoco) and Tri-County Electric Cooperative (Rushford) to bring commercial-grade solar energy to southeastern Minnesota. The 517 kW solar array began generating electricity on June 30, 2014, and harvests enough of the sun's rays to power about 60 homes.

Descriptive links: http://fmcs.coop/index.php/services/solar

For more information contact:
Jerry Gabrielatos (City staff)   |   jgabrielatos@ci.albertlea.mn.us   |   507-377-4316

View All Albert Lea Actions

Apple Valley

Date action report first entered:   03/26/2015
Date of last report update:   03/30/2015

Implementation details:
The City's utility Dakota Electric sources 20% of their electrical generation from renewables (hydro, wind, natural gas, and refuse derived. In addition, the Apple Valley Liquor Store #3 is the first business in the state of Minnesota to receive a “Green Globe Award” for Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Stewardship. We have gone completely Geothermal for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration. We also boast fully automated lighting which adjust to the sunlight that shines through skylights throughout the entire building. All-in-all the City of Apple Valley is saving over 50% in energy costs by investing in environmentally conscious efforts.

For more information contact:
Charless Grawe (City staff)   |   CGrawe@ci.apple-valley.mn.us   |   952-953-2508

View All Apple Valley Actions

Austin

Date action report first entered:   05/07/2012

Implementation details:
The City purchases electrical power from Austin Utilities which gets it's power from SMMPA. 14.3% of SMMPA's power comes from the renewable energy sources whcih is less than the requirement, working to get it to 15%

For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Elected official)   |   jkanderson@gofast.am   |   507-433-1081

Partners:
City staff, Austin Utilities

View All Austin Actions

Lake Crystal

Date action report first entered:   02/20/2014

Implementation details:
The city purchases electricity from Heartland Consumer Power District and then distributes it as a municipal utility. In our contract with them it states that 15% of our electricity comes from renewable sources (primarily from wind turbines)

For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff)   |   lccity@hickorytech.net   |   507-726-2538

View All Lake Crystal Actions

North Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   09/03/2015
Date of last report update:   09/03/2015

Implementation details:
The City buys renewable energy that is used by the City. The energy comes from a couple of different sources, the City's wind generator located at our utility building and a large wind farm located in southern MN. The City currently purchases 12% renewably generated power.

For more information contact:
Keith Stachowski (City staff)   |   Keith.Stachowski@northstpaul.org   |   651-747-2423

View All North Saint Paul Actions

Pierz

Date action report first entered:   04/17/2018
Date of last report update:   04/17/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The City of Pierz currently purchases its electricity from Minnesota Power who generates 20% of their power from renewable sources. Primary sources include wind, hydro and, some biomass, with plans to grow its presence in the renewable sector in the future and be 44% renewable by 2025

Outcome measures/metrics:
Carbon emissions from electric use are diminished by 20%, and continue to grow.

Descriptive links: https://www.mnpower.com/Environment/EnergyForward

For more information contact:
Kari Tyson (City staff)   |   karit@pierzmn.org   |   320-468-6471

View All Pierz Actions

Red Wing

Date action report first entered:   01/30/2013

Implementation details:
The city's progressing solar energy project (installing solar panels on 5 city buildings - 4 of 5 projects have been approved by Xcel Energy with 1 still pending as of 8/13/12) will allow us to produce a lot of our own energy instead of needing to purchase energy at all, let alone from renewable sources.

For more information contact:
Paul Drotos (City staff)   |   paul.drotos@ci.red-wing.mn.us   |   651-410-6744

View All Red Wing Actions

Rogers

Date action report first entered:   03/13/2014

Implementation details:
The City of Rogers was recently awarded a grant to install solar panels at its Public Works facility. In the summer/fall of 2014, the City of Rogers Public Works building will have 210 silicon solar panels installed on its roof. The panels should generate enough energy to power the entire facility.

            view file

For more information contact:
Mike Bauer (City staff)   |   mbauer@ci.rogers.mn.us   |   763-428-1033

View All Rogers Actions

Winthrop

Date action report first entered:   02/17/2016
Date of last report update:   02/17/2016

Implementation details:
We currently purchase our electricity from the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency who generates renewable energy from biomass, hydro and wind resources.

Descriptive links: http://www.mmpa.org/

For more information contact:
Melissa Lorenz (City staff)   |   cityclerk@winthropminnesota.com   |   507-647-5306

View All Winthrop Actions

Crystal pending

Date action report first entered:   01/03/2015
Date of last report update:   01/03/2015

Implementation details:
Crystal, with grants from Xcel Energy, installed solar panels on the Community Center, pool building, and City Hall.

For more information contact:
Anne Norris (City staff)   |   Anne.Norris@crystalmn.gov   |   763-531-1140

View All Crystal Actions

Ely pending

Date action report first entered:   04/28/2016
Date of last report update:   04/28/2016

Implementation details:
The City purchases power from Lake Country Power. LCP utilizes renewables such as hydropower and is increasing renewable sources this year.

For more information contact:
Harold Langowski (City staff)   |   elyod@ely.mn.us   |   218-226-5474

View All Ely Actions

Lexington pending

Date action report first entered:   09/22/2015
Date of last report update:   09/28/2015

Implementation details:
City hall uses paper that is at least 30% post consumer recycled content paper.

For more information contact:
Peggy McNamara (City staff)   |   pmlexington@comcast.net   |   763-784-2792

View All Lexington Actions

Moorhead pending

Date action report first entered:   12/03/2018
Date of last report update:   12/03/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
City of Moorhead currently purchases its energy through Moorhead Public Service, whose power mix consists of 50% hydropower, 4% wind, 4% nuclear, >1% solar. Attached is a graph showing Moorhead's power supply mix, which is roughly 59% renewable energy, exceeding that which is required by state law.

            view file

For more information contact:
Dan Mahli (City staff)   |   dan.mahli@cityofmoorhead.com   |   218-299-5314

Partners:
Moorhead Public Service

View All Moorhead Actions

Oakdale pending

Date action report first entered:   12/13/2018
Date of last report update:   12/13/2018
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
On October 24, 2017, the Oakdale City Council authorized entering into a subscription agreement for the purchase of 4.68 million kWh of electricity annually from a community solar garden. This amount is 120% of the city's annual electricity usage in its operations.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Over the lifetime of the agreement, over 110 million kWh will be generated from a clean energy resource, which otherwise would produce 77,475 metric tons of GHG emissions. That is the equivalent amount of the annual emissions from 16,365 passenger vehicles. Additionally, the City will see a significant financial benefit from its participation.

For more information contact:
Jen Hassebroek (City staff)   |   jen.hassebroek@ci.oakdale.mn.us   |   651-730-2723

Partners:
Innovative Power Systems

View All Oakdale Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city


 
greenstep advisor
Melissa Peck, Sustainable Purchasing Specialist, MN Pollution Control Agency: 651/757-2343, melissa.peck@state.mn.us, http://www.pca.state.mn.us/epp