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Students, staff, and faculty in the Nature Nook with the new light
Joel Haskard
04/06/2015 - 5:36pm
Tucked away near Owen Hall on the University of Minnesota – Crookston campus is the Nature Nook. With the recent help of the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), a new solar-powered LED light now helps illuminate this little oasis. We spoke with Laura Gabrielson, now a Senior majoring in Software Engineering with an ITM Minor, and Linda Kingery, Executive Director for the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, to find out more. Joel Haskard: Linda, how did this project come about? Linda Kingery: This LED demonstration project surfaced during the Northwest regional session at the CERTS conference in February, 2013. It was developed by students in the Crookston campus. Joel Haskard: Laura, what did you do on this project? Laura Gabrielson: What I did on this project was fill out the grant...
Exploring energy financing
Anna Carlson
04/06/2015 - 4:09pm
The Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) recently used grant funding from CERTs to conduct a community survey in Beltrami County, Minnesota in order to identify and understand the community’s renewable energy and energy efficiency financing needs. HRDC partnered with the Sustainability Office at Bemidji State University for the project and commissioned the University’s Marketing Assistance and Research Solutions (MARS) program to carry out the survey.   The Process   In the fall of 2014, the Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) assessed and evaluated the level of small business interest in renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Bemidji area – as well as the availability of financing tools for such projects. Before starting on the project, HRDC connected with the Sustainability Office at Bemidji State...
New Streetlights in Russell
Joel Haskard
04/06/2015 - 11:35am
Cities across Minnesota are finding real savings converting their streetlights to LEDs. We spoke with Brian Jeremiason, Energy Services Manager with Lyon-Lincoln Electric Cooperative, to learn more about his experiences. Joel Haskard: It sounds like you have several LED streetlight projects in the works. Can you tell us more? Brian Jeremiason: We completed the conversion for the City of Russell this past spring, and hope to get started soon in the communities of Lynd and Arco. Joel Haskard: Why switch to LED streetlights? Brian Jeremiason: We were approached by the City of Russell, they were looking for ways to reduce their energy usage and costs. We identified the streetlight conversion project as an easy to implement improvement that could meet both goals. In 2012, street lighting in the City of Russell accounted for 84,473 kWh of usage and cost the city and its residents...
36 Lyn Refuel Station
Joel Haskard
04/03/2015 - 9:06am
The Clean Energy Resources Teams (CERTs) is spearheading a statewide campaign, Light Up Your Station & Save, to help convenience stores reduce energy and maintenance costs and improve their businesses with LED lighting. We spoke with Lonnie McQuirter, owner of the 36 Lyn Refuel Station at 36th Street & Lyndale Avenue in south Minneapolis. Joel Haskard: Why did you decide to upgrade your canopy lights to LEDs? We have been familiar with LED technology for some time. However, price and financial incentives as well as the long-term reliability of LED lights became clear to us a couple years ago (2013). I was tired of pulling out our 24-foot ladder in the brisk winters to change out our old metal halide bulbs. The ballasts, which use even more energy beyond the bulb itself, also were a pain to deal with. Joel Haskard: Have you seen a reduction in...
Community Solar Gardens
Frank Jossi
03/27/2015 - 3:18pm
This story is republished from the original in Midwest Energy News. A Minnesota faith group will announced last week an effort to make community solar more accessible to people with lower incomes. Julia Nerbonne, executive director of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, said that early discussions with solar garden developers in the Twin Cities revealed that they will be targeting potential customers with credit scores of 700 or above. That would leave a substantial portion of the population without access to solar garden subscriptions due to modest to low incomes or past credit problems. “That’s alarming and people are not talking about it,” she said. “It’s probably less than half the people in country who have a score that high...
Made in Minnesota Solar Thermal Rebate Program
Joel Haskard
03/27/2015 - 1:44pm
More Minnesotans will have access to affordable solar thermal systems after the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced that it will offer rebates beginning March 18 to residents, businesses, nonprofits, and government entities as part of its Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program. “Moving to solar thermal can help smooth spikes in heating costs by using renewable energy as a complement to current heating sources, whether it’s propane, natural gas, wood or electricity,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “The rebates will now help make installing solar heating a more affordable option for Minnesota businesses and residents.” The solar incentive program...
The Gibbs family installed a 39,840-watt PV solar system on the south side of a livestock barn
Dan Thiede
03/26/2015 - 3:26pm
This article is republished from the original by Andrea Johnson, Assistant Editor of Farm and Ranch Guide. It’s time to consider solar power again.   Better technology and lower prices are making solar power in 2014 achievable and more affordable than in the past. Two types of solar power are available – thermal collectors heat air and water; photovoltaic (photo – light and voltaic – electrical potential) systems convert light to electricity. “We’re really past innovators and early adopters with solar and looking at the ‘early majority’ now. The cost of solar has come down a lot, and all sorts of people are now installing solar energy projects,” said Dan Thiede, Clean Energy Resource Team communications manager,...
Jake Jacobsen with his wind turbine
Alexis Troschinetz
03/26/2015 - 3:06pm
Zoom around the Upper-Midwest (and linger a while in Minnesota!) to see excellent on-farm renewable energy projects. The potential uses and benefits of renewable energy to rural communities are huge. In fact, they’re already being realized as innovative people and organizations put ideas into action. This is a project of the Center for Rural Affairs in partnership with Clean Up the River Environment (CURE), The Environmental Law and Policy Center, and Clean Wisconsin. Click here to take the tour >> Take action: If you’re a farm or rural small business interested in energy saving solutions and renewable energy, you should consider USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program...
Minnesota GreenCorps Program
Dan Thiede
03/26/2015 - 2:42pm
Looking for support to advance your energy and environment projects? Minnesota GreenCorps members are a great way to add capacity to your organization and grow young leaders. About the Program: Minnesota GreenCorps is an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program coordinated by the MPCA, which places AmeriCorps members with organizations around the state to spend a year of service addressing critical environmental issues, while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills. MPCA is planning to place up to 40 full-time members with various host sites for the 2015-2016 program year. Members serve approximately 40 hours a week for 11 months beginning in mid to late September 2015 through August 2016. Program Eligibility Eligible organizations include public entities (local, regional, state, tribal), school districts, not for profit institutions of higher education, and 501...
CERTs staff getting silly at the conference
Dan Thiede
03/25/2015 - 4:10pm
On March 10-11, 550 Minnesotans from all over the state gathered in St. Cloud for the CERTs 2015 Conference to learn about successful energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, connect with peers, and get ready to take action in their communities. It was a great turnout, and it reflected the great excitement around the expansion of solar and other clean energy projects around the state, as well as the broad implementation of innovative energy efficiency projects. You can learn more about the event, download speaker presentations, and see photos from the conference at http://2015.mncerts.org. Or just scroll down to see photos and more! Stories about the event were featured in the St....

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