The legislature finds that community-based energy programs are an effective means of implementing improved energy practices including conservation, greater efficiency in energy use, and the use of alternative resources. Further, community-based energy programs are found to be a public purpose for which public money may be spent.
Statutory and home rule charter cities, counties, or Indian tribal governments of federally recognized Minnesota-based bands or tribes, individually or through the exercise of joint powers agreements, may create community energy councils. Membership on a council shall include representatives of labor, small business, voluntary organizations, senior citizens, and low- and moderate-income residents, and may include city, county, and Indian tribal government officials, and other interested parties.
In order to develop and implement community-based energy programs, a community energy council may:
(1) analyze social and economic impacts caused by energy expenditures;
(2) plan, coordinate, advertise, and provide energy programs to minimize negative social and economic impacts;
(3) seek, accept, and disburse grants and other aids from public or private sources for purposes authorized in this subdivision; and
(4) exercise other powers and duties imposed on it by statute, charter, or by ordinance.
The commissioner may provide professional and financial assistance to communities to establish community energy councils, and develop and implement community energy programs, within available resources.