Conservation Minnesota

Rochester Energy Survey Results

Rochester-Mayo-Clinic-ThumbnailA year ago, Conservation Minnesota members like you helped to get the ball rolling on the discussion of clean, renewable, sustainable energy in Rochester by filling out our energy survey, the results of which are detailed below. Since then, it has become one of the most talked about issues in our community. There are currently a number of initiatives underway to help the city respond to future growth as it pertains to energy usage and sustainability, including:

  • RPU’s commitment to going coal-free after 2030
  • McKnight’s grant to sponsor the research of Clean Energy and Environment’s study into future options for the DMC
  • The Energy Commission’s Energy Action Plan to be adopted into the City’s Comprehensive Plan
  • Mayor Brede’s call for Rochester to be 100% renewable energy-fueled by 2031

But, what does it all mean for the future of Rochester and how does it all tie together? Come find out and provide your input into on what you’d like to see going forward. Questions can be directed to Anna at 507-261-0011 or

Rochester & Renewable Energy

The City of Rochester is a worldwide leader in healthcare. The community is currently creating long-range plans as part of its Destination Medical Center initiative. Community leaders are making decisions today that will impact the city, state, and entire region, for decades to come. This is a tremendous opportunity to positively impact future generations of Minnesotans. We hope that by asking city residents about past and potential energy decisions, Conservation Minnesota can provide information that is useful to community leaders in making strategic decisions.

The Rochester Energy Survey

Conservation Minnesota mailed 10,000 surveys to Rochester residents asking if they support or oppose actions related to energy use and conservation. The goal of the survey was to reach a broad cross section of community. We mailed surveys to every neighborhood in the community.

It is important to note that this is not a scientific survey, but can still provide important insight about community opinions and attitudes.

Key Findings

  • Rochester residents were very interested in the survey. The direct mail survey had a response rate of over 12% with, 1561 people completed the survey. This is 5-10x higher than a typical direct mail response rate.
  • Respondents strongly support past community actions aimed at promoting conservation and use of renewable energy.
  • Respondents are strongly supportive of the city taking more steps to use health, renewable energy in Rochester and believe the city should support similar efforts at the state level.

Responses to Survey Questions

( )Strongly

Question 1: Rochester Public Utilities has sponsored the Neighborhood Energy Challenge to help homeowners understand and reduce their energy use.

– Support: 69% (48%)
– Opposed: 14%

Question 2: The Rochester City Council and Mayor have formed the Rochester Energy Commission to coordinate and develop plans for reducing carbon emissions.

– Support: 68% (49%)
– Opposed: 17%

Question 3: Rochester has adopted policies that encourage walking, riding bicycles, and using mass transit to reduce energy use.

– Support: 74% (54%)
– Opposed: 12%

Question 4: In 2013, several electric utilities in southern Minnesota lobbied against including Rochester in new state standards that increase the use of solar renewable energy to at least 1.5%

– Support: 23%
– Opposed: 52% (36%)

Question 5: Burning coal for power is linked to increased mercury in lakes, asthma, and heart disease. As a national leader in healthcare, should Rochester transition away from burning coal for power?

– Support: 68% (54%)
– Opposed: 19%

Question 6: Would you support a City Council resolution requiring future energy growth for the city to be supplied with renewable energy?

– Support: 68% (47%)
– Opposed: 20%

Question 7: Should the City of Rochester support increasing our state’s renewable energy goals?

– Support: 73% (55%)
– Opposed: 17%

Important Note: In response to Question 5 which references use of coal for electricity, several people commented that Rochester had already stopped using coal by retiring the Silver Lake Power Plant. There may be a substantial number of residents who don’t realize that approximately 80% of the power provided to Rochester residents by Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) is generated by burning coal.