City of Elk River & Utilities: Offering Sustainable Energy choices to Local Communities

City of Elk River & Utilities: Offering Sustainable Energy choices to Local Communities Main Photo

14 Mar 2022


The City of Elk River has many programs that focus on local sustainability. This includes the City’s recycling and organics programs, planning and zoning policies, code enforcement, the Energy City Commission. The City and the Utilities purchase 100% clean, renewable energy for all their operations facilities with the Clean Energy Choice program. The city also partners with the utilities to promote electric and water efficiency in residential and commercial buildings.

ERMU recognized as Smart Energy Provider

For the second consecutive time, Elk River Municipal Utilities has earned the Smart Energy Provider designation from the American Public Power Association, making it a distinguished member of more than 90 public power utilities nationwide.

What is The Smart Energy Provider designation all about? For one, it recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate a commitment to staying energy efficient, Secondly, it acknowledges utilities that display proficiency in distributed generation and adopt environmental initiatives that support the goal of providing safe, reliable, low-cost, and sustainable electric service.

Tom Sagstetter, Conservation & Key Accounts Manager for Elk River Municipal Utilities said that the designation provided national recognition for ERMU. “The program serves as a benchmark for all utilities to learn from and adopt best practices that fit their community’s needs. Energy conservation is the need of the hour and our effort has been to incorporate energy efficiencies and sustainability practices into our business model while providing safe, reliable, and affordable electricity to our consumers,” Tom says. 

The Smart Energy Provider program: A positive impact on the environment & community

Sagstetter affirms that the SEP program is about making life simpler and more sustainable by sharing programs and ideas that work. “Each community can learn from one another, adapt the knowledge, and have success with its own local approach,” he states. “ERMU’s mission is to provide customers with safe, reliable, cost-effective and quality long-term electric and water utility services, and to communicate and educate customers in the use of utility services, programs, policies, and future plans while delivering these products and services in an environmentally and financially responsible manner.”

City of Elk River, Energy CityEncouraging smart energy use within the community - City of Elk River & ERMU

Working towards the use of clean and safe energy the city has, besides enrolling in the Clean Energy Choice program, spearheaded other initiatives - an electric vehicles (EV) study to determine how the City could incorporate EVs into its fleet, the police department’s transition to hybrid patrol cars, wind and solar energy demonstration sites, and a partnership with Sherburne County and Waste Management to produce almost 480,000,000 kWh of renewable energy from the local landfill. 

The ‘Energy City”: Offering incentives for smart energy usage

Each year ERMU and the City offer over $250,000 of incentives for residential and commercial customers to make the change to more sustainable practices. This occurs through rebates and/or financing programs. Programs are available to any customer receiving electric or water service from the municipal utilities.

Ever since 1997, Elk River has been known as the "Energy City", this was when the Minnesota Environmental Initiative chose it from over 30 other applying communities to act as a geographical focal point for the demonstration of efficient and renewable energy products, services, and technologies. 

“Elk River is a community committed to providing a safe, affordable, and environmentally sustainable place to live and do business. We are proud to be recognized, both, as a utility, and community at the forefront of sustainable living initiatives,” Sagstetter asserts.