In November, the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP) awarded the Metropolitan Council for efforts to help the region adapt to climate change.
At its annual conference, MCAP cited the Council’s integrated, cross-divisional and collaborative approach to climate adaptation planning and operations. MCAP recognized the Council for:
Providing technical assistance, including the Climate Vulnerability Assessment tools, to the region’s 188 municipalities.
Offering more than $1 million in grants for green infrastructure projects to benefit water quality.
Preparing future leaders through a collaboration with the University of St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership.
Addressing climate change though mitigation and adaption is a priority of the Council, which has set a goal to use renewable energy for all its operations by 2040. Efforts underway include an agreement with Xcel Energy to work on increasing the use of wind, solar and other renewable power sources, as well as developing solutions for charging electric buses. This year the Council continued the rollout of online tools to help cities identify areas vulnerable to flooding and excessive heat brought on by a changing climate.
The Council is one of the region’s top consumers of electricity. Most of that demand comes from operating eight regional wastewater treatment plants for the seven-county metro area. From 2008 to 2015 alone, the Council reduced its energy purchases by about $4 million per year through conservation and onsite electrical generation. Additional efforts are expected to yield another $1 million in annual savings by 2020.
“We have a responsibility to work with communities to plan for climate change, as well as being part of the shift towards a greener economy,” said Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff. “The investments we are making today will save money in the long run. It’s the right thing to do as well as the most cost-effective path forward.”
MCAP is led by the University of Minnesota and works closely with partners from state government, nonprofits and private industry who have an interest in climate change.