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Ribbon cutting at new EV charging station in Austin powered by solar
Michelle Palm
08/21/2015 - 9:15am
Over thirty people gathered in Austin, Minnesota on Wednesday, August 5th at Jay C. Hormel Nature Center to hear from community members and civic leaders taking clean energy action across multiple sectors on a wide range of projects in Austin. The event was a Southeast Clean Energy Resource Team (SE CERT) regional meeting. Media: The event got a lot of attention from local media outlets. In fact, you can see stories from KIMT TV, KTTC TV, and the Austin Daily Herald. Recap & Presentations: Michelle Palm gave an overview of CERTs (...
Beltrami's Northern Sun CSG project
Anna Carlson
08/21/2015 - 8:57am
As the sun beats down on a hot summer day in downtown Bemidji, the question begs: How much energy could be harnessed if solar panels covered the roofs, awnings, and parking lots of our homes and businesses? A report conducted by the Institute for Local Self Reliance suggests 24 percent of Minnesota’s electricity needs could be met by installing current solar technologies on existing residential and commercial rooftops right here in the state. Yet, currently in Minnesota, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of our electricity comes from solar. Integrating and storing intermittent electricity into the electrical grid are ongoing challenges. However, communities around the world are successfully finding ways to reliably integrate upward of 30 percent of their electricity from intermittent renewable sources such as solar and wind. The beautiful wooded environment in which we live...
National Drive Electric Week
Joel Haskard
08/21/2015 - 7:49am
National Drive Electric Week, coming up September 12-20, 2015, is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. You probably already know this, but electric vehicles are fun to drive, are less expensive and more convenient to fuel than gasoline vehicles, are better for the environment, and promote local jobs. That’s a lot of good stuff! Join Drive Electric Minnesota and partners at the second annual National Drive Electric Week! They will be hosting multiple events around the Twin Cities celebrating and educating the public on the benefits of driving electric: Ride and Drive at the...
Tesla Powerwall
Isaac Mielke
08/21/2015 - 7:48am
Tesla generated much publicity after its April introduction of the Powerwall. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery, it stores electricity for consumption, load shifting, and backup power. Intended for residential purposes, Tesla has partnered with SolarCity to sell the 10 kWh Powerwall systems for $5,000. The Powerwall can store solar energy from your solar panels and act as a backup power source during a power failure. It collects cheap energy from off-peak hours and releases it during peak consumption time, flattening demand spikes and saving money. Powered by renewable energy, this battery sits on a wall and autonomously switches on. One 10 kWh Powerwall supports a refrigerator, computer, lighting, alarm systems, and electrical outlets—and an optional second Powerwall completes the household. A 7 kWh model will also be...
Welcome to Bemidji
Peter Lindstrom
08/06/2015 - 12:41pm
The City of Bemidji is the first local government in Minnesota to work on a performance contract across the city’s buildings and operations through the new statewide Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP) for energy efficiency improvements. Peter Lindstrom, CERTs Local Government Outreach Coordinator, interviewed City of Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht, Finance Director Ron Eischens, City Manager Nate Mathews, and Honeywell Regional Sales Director Mike Taylor to learn more about their experience. What is Performance Contracting?   Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) is a performance-based procurement and financing mechanism that leverages maintenance, operations, and utilities savings achieved through the installation of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures to finance the cost of the facility retrofit and renewal project, without bonding or raising...
Jamie Long from Linden Hills talking about community solar at CERTs event
Jesse Thorson
08/06/2015 - 11:40am
The Southwest Minneapolis neighborhood of Linden Hills wants to do what it can to tap into renewable energy, and community solar is sure to be its next move. Jamie Long, member of the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council and board member of Linden Hills Power and Light, said that these two groups partnered to work on this mutual interest in 2013, advocating within the community for a solar alternative and exploring options for how to make it happen. Mr. Long explained that community solar was appealing because it presented the opportunity to make solar power an option for homeowners and renters in the neighborhood who otherwise do not have access to a site with adequate sunlight or cannot afford to install panels on their property. Commenting on the feedback from...
Minnesota GreenStep Cities
Patrick Mathwig
08/05/2015 - 5:55pm
The workshops during the 2014-2015 GreenStep Workshop Series covered a wide range of topics that are important to cities, providing a wealth of information and resources. To access that information and the resources from the workshops check out their webinar recordings and PDFs of their presentation and additional resources on this page!   October – Benchmarking and What the Heck is Step 4 Anyway?   No webinar recording is available for the October workshop, click here for a summary of the workshop.   November – Bike, Ped and Transit Options:   November workshop presentations and resources: GreenStep Transportation BPs...
40 Under 40 Award
Dan Thiede
08/05/2015 - 11:26am
CERTs is a proud partner of Midwest Energy News’ recently launched 40 Under 40 Award program that seeks to highlight emerging leaders throughout the region who work to accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy. The program is open to Midwest-based innovators from all sectors—government, business, regulatory, academic, advocacy, and industry—and nominations will be accepted until 10:00pm on Monday, August 17th. Are you, or do you know, a strong emerging leader who fits this criteria? Nominate her or him today!
Curious consumers tour LREC community solar garden in Pelican Rapids
Sarah Hayden Shaw
08/04/2015 - 11:42am
On a sunny afternoon July 9, 2015, four regions of Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) and Lake Region Electric Cooperative (LREC) co-hosted an event on community solar gardens (CSGs) at LREC’s facility in Pelican Rapids. Open to the public, the event included a discussion on CSGs, a panel of northern and central Minnesotan utilities to review their community solar efforts, and a tour of LREC’s Community Solar Installation. Students, local community members and leaders from utilities, businesses, and schools networked over lemonade. After a welcome from CERTs and LREC, Dan Husted, VP Energy Services, and Steve Haiby, Energy Services Supervisor of LREC, led a tour of LREC’s Community Solar Garden Installations on the grounds of the cooperative’s headquarters. With 100 kW of panels and 60 subscribers, the system utilizes tenK solar panels (which include a reflective film in the...
Isaac Mielke
07/30/2015 - 2:11pm
Drive Electric Minnesota – an organization that promotes electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in charging infrastructure statewide—presents the Zero Emission Charging Challenge (ZECC). ZECC hopes to power all public charging stations with Windsource, Xcel Energy’s renewable energy program. EVs produce no air pollutants, but the electricity necessary for charging exhausts fossil fuels. However, EVs can use either wind or solar power. When paired with renewable energy, EVs eliminate all air pollutants while driving and charging. Solar-powered EV charging stations already exist in Albert Lea and Austin, as well as in the metro area at Como Park, McMurray Fields, SunRay Library, River Centre, the State Capital, Haaf Ramp, and the Minneapolis Public School Headquarters. Check out this interactive map to...

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