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Xcel Energy Offers Olive Branch To City

Minneapolis has been exploring whether to municipalize Xcel's power generation and distribution infrastructure in the city.

Thursday, Xcel CEO Dave Sparby sent Mayor R.T. Rybak a letter indicating a willingness to compromise on environmental concerns.
Thursday, Xcel CEO Dave Sparby sent Mayor R.T. Rybak a letter indicating a willingness to compromise on environmental concerns.
Thursday, Xcel Energy offered an olive branch to Minneapolis leaders who had been pushing to municipalize the utility's electricity infrastructure

In a statement emailed to reporters Thursday evening, Mayor R.T. Rybak's office announced it had received a letter from Xcel Energy CEO Dave Sparby that promised the company would “provide the city with even more choices for reliable, clean, cost-effective energy.” 

The letter addressed a core concern of municipalization campaigners Minneapolis Energy Options, who had argued that the city needed to take over local electrical generation and delivery to reduce the city's environmental impact. 

In reply to Sparby's letter, Rybak's office said he expressed hope a deal could be reached that included agreement "to power the City’s streetlights with renewable energy, to make a solar investment at Xcel’s Riverside plant, and to provide Minneapolis-specific reliability reports, all points or commitments that President Sparby outlined in his letter."

Both Rybak's and Sparby's letters are posted above.

Rybak's letter went on to reject putting a referendum on municipalization on the ballot for the 2013 city elections, and to thanking Minneapolis Energy Options "for pushing our community and me to expect more and for insisting on a more sustainable energy system for future generations.”

Xcel had previously suggested it would pull its headquarters out of Minneapolis if municipalization went through, and Sparby had public scoffed at municipalization's chances of success. Following an Aug. 1 hearing where many speakers criticized municipalization, the city council member carrying the municipalization effort hinted he would be willing to withdraw the measure.

Mayoral and City Council candidates also weighed in on the issue. Ward 13 City Council candidate Matt Perry criticized municipalization as expensive and lacking necessary planning work. Current Ward 13 Council Member and mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges applauded the dialogue between Rybak and Sparby in a statement issued Thursday night.

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