CEE Statement on U of M's CIP exemption withdrawal

Nov 7, 2018

Today the University of Minnesota announced that it has withdrawn its request for an exemption from charges for the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP), for natural gas purchases for its Minneapolis campus. As the University’s withdrawal letter explained, “The University takes seriously our responsibility to advance Minnesota’s and the nation’s energy goals, in partnership with the public and private entities across the state.”

In response to the retraction, CEE’s president Chris Duffrin issued this statement:
The Center for Energy and Environment sincerely thanks the University of Minnesota for its decision to withdraw its request for an exemption from the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP). CIP guides our state’s energy efficiency efforts, and has been a cornerstone of Minnesota’s energy policy for over 30 years. CIP provides benefits to Minnesota’s environment, utility systems, and utility customers through reduced carbon emissions, reduced consumer costs, reduced utility capital costs, and right-sizing of energy loads.

True to its role as a community institution, the University of Minnesota's leadership and governance paused and listened to their community following the original filing. Leaders remained receptive to new information and an open conversation about CIP and its value to Minnesota and to the school. In the end, the University decided to retract the exemption request, and instead work with stakeholders to explore alternative ways to address related concerns. CEE is committed to working closely with the University to identify and achieve solutions that provide value to the University and to our state.

We at CEE also thank our many peers and colleagues who collaborated to contribute data and insights that helped inform the University's decision. This positive outcome required three things: a laser focus on shared goals, a community of partners unified around a fact-based case, and an invaluable anchoring institution that chose to model the power of listening, learning, and leading with principle.

The University of Minnesota's ongoing participation in the Conservation Improvement Program is a fitting reflection of the University's commitment to our state, and our state's commitment to meaningful energy savings that serve all businesses and residents statewide.
Minnesota’s Conservation Improvement Program requires the state's utility companies to provide customers with energy efficiency opportunities and competitive rebate incentives. Overseen by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, CIP offers a valuable framework that helps customers reduce utility bills and energy use, preventing energy waste and contributing to Minnesota’s growing low-carbon economy.

About CEE

Center for Energy and Environment is a clean energy nonprofit with special expertise in energy efficiency that stretches back nearly 40 years. CEE provides a range of practical and cost-effective energy solutions for homes, businesses, and communities to strengthen the economy while improving the environment.

Related links

University of Minnesota's exemption request withdrawal, 11/7/2018
CEE-led letter of response to the University original exemption request, 11/1/2018