The City of Northfield is looking for alternative energy to power their public buildings and properties. City Administrator Ben Martig said the city is eligible for programs through Xcel Energy. They subscribe to solar power from grids. The Developers get credit through Xcel and pass some of those savings on to the City. Investing in clean energy fits neatly into one of the Council’s Strategic Plan priorities. Several companies have approached them. Subscribers can sign up for a Floating option or a Fixed option on 25 year agreements, the risk vs return is different. There were plenty of questions from Council including
risk of a long term agreement and what technology changes there could be over 25 years. This is a complex issue but with legislative changes coming for next year that would impact the savings potential they’re feeling some urgency. The City’s total usage is 5.5 MW, 3.3 is in Dakota County where the wastewater treatment plant is. The remaining 2.2 MW is in Rice County. That adds to the complexity as subscriptions to community solar must be located in or adjacent to the county with the usage. Termination clauses are very expensive, however, you can transfer power usage to another area. The City is allowed to invest up to 40% of their total power usage in solar. This statement is incorrect. CORRECTION: Subscribers can commit up to 120% of their consumption.
No subscriber to a CSG can take more than 40% of its production. Perhaps some confusion crept in there. Thank you Pete Sandberg for the clarification. Martig said to max out on usage, the city would have to use multiple companies per State restrictions on solar projects. Martig said in the meeting that staff’s suggestion is to have the companies they’re working with clarify their options to end any assumptions. One company, Minnesota Community Solar, which has strong ties in Northfield, although the solar garden is in Steele County, wants an answer by August due to their own timeline. This will come back to council July 18th.
Leibensteins inducted into Rice County Agriculture Hall of Fame
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Rice County Agriculture Hall of Fame. Honorees include Paul and Barb Leibenstein of Wolf Creek Dairy in Dundas. They’ll be honored at the Best of the Best Breakfast on Wednesday morning at 7:30 at the Rice Co. Fairgrounds. Paul and Barb have owned and operated Wolf Creek Dairy near Dundas for 23 years, and currently milk 400 cows. The Liebensteins volunteer the farm for classes, camps, and tours; Wolf Creek Dairy sees approximately 500 people a year. The Liebensteins have served on multiple dairy boards and have been active in the Rice County Extension Committee and the Rice County 4-H program throughout the years. Read the full press release for the other honorees including former Govenor Al Quie.
“Our system relies on the jury trial”
Jury duty is one of those civic responsibilities that everyone tries to get out of. Rice County Attorney John Fossum said they’ve had trouble where people don’t respond to the summons, they don’t show up or those that do, say they don’t want to, can’t do it, and make a lot of excuses. He says it can get boring but that’s part of the process. He added that, “Our system relies on the jury trial In European courts just judges make these decisions. Our founding fathers thought it more fair to have juries than have bureaucrats make those determinations”. Fossum says it’s harder and harder to get 12 people in the jury box. There are 6 person jurors for civil cases, misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors. Constitutionally they must have 12 jurors for a felony case. Bottom line, if you get the summons, get ready to perform your civic duty.