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Community Energy Planning

Partners in Energy Answers Local Wants and Needs

By: | August 2, 2016 11:00 am

Next application deadline is October 14, 2016

You may be aware of the popular adage, Think Globally, Act Locally. And while this is a nice thought it can be challenging to carry out. Yet, as more and more individuals become curious and concerned with energy issues, a common theme across our country has been the desire for local citizens to act on these to make a difference. And many municipalities are hearing from citizens that they want local actions that have a global impact. The good news is, communities may find that an energy efficiency plan can help their local budgets!

That’s really the premise behind the Partners in Energy offering from Xcel Energy for Minnesota and Colorado communities. This is a two-year energy planning opportunity that brings together local government officials and operations staff with local citizens and businesses to create energy sustainability, starting with defining energy saving actions. It’s a cooperative and coordinated effort that’s truly rooted in the local community. Watch a short video here.

Spearheading this project across Xcel Energy’s service areas is Tami Gunderzik. “We recognize that energy issues are often seen as global issues but today more opportunities are emerging locally to make a difference and provide a real feeling of accomplishment. That’s why we’re focused on having communities drive energy planning in their own individual ways.”

All about Partners in Energy:

#1 How does Partners In Energy work?

Once a city or municipality is selected, there is a sequential process that includes five steps:

— First an energy team is created within your community.
— Then that team develops a plan based on the local needs and goals.
— Thirdly, energy actions are applied to the community.
— Next, education and activation events are put in place so the community can partake.
— Finally, the program goals are measured and rewarded.

What’s exciting about Partners In Energy is the way it works off consensus and clear goals. Also, the outcomes are announced and often they trigger specific rewards the community can share in.

#2 What is your community’s role?

This is really why Partners In Energy is different. With a focus on community ownership and activity, everyday folks can be directly involved with not only supporting a local sustainability effort, but also driving the actual plan. We’ve discovered this can help garner participation and ongoing involvement.

#3 Is there a cost?

Partners in Energy is offered free to participating communities.  Depending on what tactics a community identifies during planning to reach their goals they may want to have an implementation budget.

#4 What do communities get for their involvement?

Communities receive professional resources to support them through the process of developing a community team and forming an energy action plan. Resources and tools to help them implement their plan at a local level to help them reach their goals around renewable energy sources, saving energy or sharing information.

#5 How are other cities using this?

We’ve seen early adopters in various cities across both Minnesota and Colorado. Each one has a different focus with outcomes that answer their particular needs. Click the following links to learn how active  Partners in Energy communities in Maplewood, Minnesota  and an effort that includes several  Minneapolis neighborhoods known as the Lake Street Challenge are participating.

Momentum keeps building

Partners in Energy keeps building momentum with a growing number of communities participating. That’s because new communities are engaging and making plans for energy projects. And with each one, we can learn and share more effective ways to become better Partners in Energy.

Act now to beat the October 14, 2016 deadline!

If you’re ready to make a difference and act locally as a community, now is the ideal time. That’s because the application deadline for the next Partners In Energy launch is October 14. Download an application here. And if you have questions feel free to email us at partnersinenergy@xcelenergy.com or call 800.369.4362.

Paul

A self-professed energy nerd, Paul loves to explore how technology trends are bringing convenience and surprising benefits to our lives.

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