Eden Prairie has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2025 and by 80 percent by 2050.
The Eden Prairie City Council adopted a resolution related to approving the city's new energy action plan on Tuesday, Sept. 19. The plan is part of the city's Sustainable Eden Prairie initiative and was a collaborative effort between the city and several other entities.
"I think it has a lot more weight than if it would have come from any one single group," said Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens.
In January, the city entered into an agreement with Xcel Energy to participate in Partners in Energy, a program of Xcel. Partners in Energy helps communities in Minnesota and Colorado create an energy plan and assistance with implementing that plan.
"Each city's plan is unique to their community," said Eden Prairie City Manager Rick Getschow.
There are 15 cities in Minnesota that have gone through a process with Partners in Energy or are going through the process, said Elena Foshay, community energy program manager for the Center for Energy and Environment.
An Energy Action Team, composed of residents, community leaders from businesses and organizations, and representatives of city commissions and city government, met for five months to identify focus areas, create goals and strategies and provide guidance on the plan's implementation, according to a city report.
The Eden Prairie Conservation Commission reviewed goals during its Aug. 8 and Sept. 12 meetings and recommended approval of the energy action plan on Sept. 12.
"The purpose of this plan is to establish goals and strategies that reduce energy use and increase renewable energy generation and drives Eden Prairie to achieve further greenhouse gas emission reductions. This plan will be integrated into Sustainable Eden Prairie to create and implement both short- and long-term energy initiatives," the city report states.
"In addition to generating positive environmental impacts, this plan also seeks to increase community engagement and build on existing assets to help maintain and improve overall quality of life in the community."
Foshay said during her Sept. 19 presentation that the plan includes a baseline energy analysis and measures the impact of the plan goals and strategies.
Foshay said 43 percent of the community energy is used by residential while 57 percent of community energy is used by commercial and industrial. In 2016, greenhouse gas emissions from energy equated to about 163,000 cars driven for a year, which is nearly two cars per person in Eden Prairie being driven in a year.
Eden Prairie has a history of working to conserve energy. There's been an average energy savings of 1.3 percent of electricity use and 0.8 percent savings of natural gas. About one of every 16 residential households participates in Xcel conservation programs each year and the participation rate in the commercial conservation program is about 7 percent. About 0.3 percent of the community's energy use is covered by renewable energy, according to Foshay.
The Energy Action Team decided to focus on three areas: residential energy efficiency, large commercial and industrial energy efficiency, and public, nonprofit and service organizations.
The plan's goal for residential energy is to have 75 percent of households participate in at least one kind of renewable or energy efficiency program by 2025. The strategies to accomplish this goal include communitywide marketing focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy, a communitywide energy challenge, reaching out to owners, managers and tenants to achieve energy savings in multi-family buildings and energy and renewable energy in new construction and renovation, Foshay said.
Under large commercial and industrial, the plan wants to have 50 percent of the largest commercial and industrial energy users participating in Xcel Energy programs over a standard three-year measuring period by 2025. The plan calls for outreach through established networks, targeted outreach through trusted messengers, engaging contractors and service providers and developing technical tools to assist in taking action, Foshay said.
Several goals are outlined for public, nonprofit and service organizations:
- Having public, nonprofit and service organizations decrease their energy use by 70 percent below a 2016 baseline by 2025.
- The city will support renewal energy development equal to 25 percent of its energy use by 2025.
- By 2025, the Eden Prairie School District will lower its energy use by an additional 10 percent.
- By 2025, all Eden Prairie public, nonprofit and service organizations will support renewable energy development equal to 10 percent of their energy use.
Eden Prairie's intent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2025 and by 80 percent by 2050 is listed as a citywide goal.
Strategies to help accomplish this include continuing to use the Sustainable Eden Prairie Award to recognize businesses, residents and organizations that are leaders in energy efficiency; hosting a meeting with the City Council and city commissions about supporting the plan and identifying more opportunities to recruit community volunteers who will support implementing the plan, according to Foshay.
Foshay said by 2025, the combined impact of the plan is expected to be a 9.4 percent reduction in energy use below a 2016 baseline. The biggest potential energy savings is expected to come from large commercial and industrial businesses, with the next largest area of savings coming from residential.
Foshay said as part of implementing the plan, the city will get help with marketing and communications and project management. Data tracking will be done with reports submitted to the city every six months with on program participation and energy savings.