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First solar installation at Ney Nature Center
Joel Haskard
06/19/2017 - 4:38pm
Located in southeast Minnesota in Henderson (pop. 866), the Ney Nature Center is great place to visit for bird watching, hiking, cross country skiing…and learning about solar energy! To learn more about their Southeast CERT Seed Grant project we chatted with Becky Pollack, Ney Nature Center’s Executive Director.   Tell us a little about this project.   Becky Pollack: The Ney Nature Center partners with the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) Program and hosts a YES! Coordinator as staff within our office. Discussion on steps to reduce the Ney Nature Center’s carbon footprint began amongst staff as a way to model behaviors or habits to the general public that we would like to see others facilitate. These...
Speakers Morgan and Olya from CCLEP efficiency event
Marcell Mikkelson
06/19/2017 - 4:36pm
Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) is a community organization located in Grand Marais with a goal to educate people of all ages about energy efficiency and renewable energy. With help from Northeast CERT, CCLEP was able to host a series of events called Energy Efficiency Evenings aimed at educating people about ways to reduce energy consumption at home, and even think about their renewable energy options. There were four events in the Energy Efficiency Evenings series, all with different topics: The first event was a screening of Chasing Ice, a documentary highlighting the work of climate change photographer Jim Balog. The second and third events focused on increasing energy efficiency at home and information on solar PV systems, respectively. Guests were informed of simple ways that they could reduce energy use...
Solar installation at Minnesota Discovery Center
Marcell Mikkelson
06/16/2017 - 2:42pm
Since it opened its doors in 1977, the Minnesota Discovery Center (MDC) has been an important presence in educating Minnesotans about the history of the Iron Range and Minnesota. Today, the MDC is taking steps to educate Minnesotans about our energy future. With support from Minnesota Power, Silicon Energy, and of course, Northeast CERT, the MDC was able to bring their educational Solar PV project into reality. Although the MDC was able to ultimately receive assistance from multiple partners, it was not a project that was completed overnight. In fact, it took years (four and a half to be exact) of planning, communicating, and network building in order to make it happen. “The diligence to see this project from concept to completion was essential.” Said Jim Paulsen, who was the lead staff for the solar project. The goal was to not only...
Orr Recreation and Resource Center
Marcell Mikkelson
06/15/2017 - 3:56pm
The Orr Recreation and Resource Center recently purchased the old Orr High School and began the arduous work of remodeling it. One of the first changes that they decided to make was to replace the old light bulbs in the building with new LEDs. They decided to replace the exit, emergency, and security lighting to begin with; once that important step was out of the way they could focus on the rest of their remodeling plans. These LED bulbs were an excellent choice by the Center since they have a lifespan of up to five times longer than any other comparable bulb on the market. Although LEDs are more expensive than standard bulbs up front, that cost is brought down significantly when you take their extremely long lifespan and reduced energy consumption into account. To learn more see the CERTs Right Light Guide. Orr...
Beat the Peak with Lake Crystal Municipal Utilities
Joel Haskard
06/14/2017 - 4:41pm
Lake Crystal Municipal Utilities started with the goal of helping customers become more energy aware and lower their power bills by using energy more efficiently and reducing the energy consumed during peak usage periods. On top of that, the utility wanted to: Engage Lake Crystal customers and the community in efforts to provide safer, more dependable, and less costly energy Improve the energy consumption habits of their customers Reduce the costs (economically and environmentally) of transmission and consumption of electricity in Lake Crystal, specifically during periods of peak demand In order to accomplish these goals, the utility teamed up with the Lake Crystal GreenStep City Committee and Heartland...
Saving Watts and Drops
Alexis Troschinetz
06/12/2017 - 4:39pm
Minnesota utilities: Join CERTs in a webinar to hear all about our new campaign, Saving Watts and Drops. We’re focusing on utilities in this first wave of outreach on the campaign because utilities are such a big potential partner. Feel free to get acquainted with the campaign at savingwattsdrops.org. Saving Watts and Drops is rooted in the idea that many small energy savings throughout Minnesota will add up to big energy savings together. One option of the campaign helps youth and community groups conduct fundraisers with plug-and-play energy and water saving products in collaboration with their electric or natural gas utilities. Another option helps cities, community-level organizations, utilities, or other interested parties in distributing energy-saving products for free or at a low cost using one’s...
Glendale Townhomes in Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis
Joel Haskard
06/08/2017 - 3:11pm
Excerpt from Finance & Commerce article by Frank Jossi: Owned by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, the Glendale Townhomes in Prospect Park have not had many updates to improve their energy efficiency since they were constructed in 1952. Later this year a pilot project will begin with an energy audit of one of the complex’s eight-unit townhouse buildings. After that, a larger weatherization program will get underway to make the lives of all tenants more comfortable, said Tim Gaetz, the authorities managing director of facilities and development. “The weatherization will make the townhouses less drafty and warmer in winter and cooler in summer,” Gaetz said. “They will have a much more comfortable indoor living environment. And any money savings for [the housing...
Joel Haskard
06/08/2017 - 2:26pm
Join us as we dive a little deeper into two web resources for the electric vehicle shopper, mncharging.org and evsalespro.com. We interviewed several EV experts, utility staff, and EV sales personnel to learn more.   First, to learn more about mncharging.org, we reached out to Jukka Kukkonen, founder of PlugInConnect, LLC. Jukka, tell us a little about this new tool. Jukka Kukkonen: The mncharging.org webpage provides an easy way for people to find their local electric utility’s resources for EVs. They just pick their utility from a drop-down list and are immediately directed to the utility’s webpage on the topic. The purchase of an electric vehicle is not an event, it is a...
MN Dept. of Commerce
06/01/2017 - 3:24pm
On a bright, sunny Minnesota spring day, with solar panels in the background, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced that the state is enjoying dramatic growth in solar power, adding nearly as much new solar capacity in just the first three months of 2017 as in all of 2016. Rothman announced the latest solar statistics at the Schneiderman’s Furniture store in Plymouth, a Twin Cities suburb. The local family-owned furniture retailer has installed rooftop solar power systems at its Plymouth, Woodbury and Duluth stores, with support from state solar incentives. The solar projects were developed by Ideal Energies, a Minnesota-based commercial solar energy developer with over 140 commercial systems in operation. “Solar is already a bright spot in Minnesota’s energy picture, and it’s getting even bigger and brighter,” said Rothman, whose agency includes the state energy...
Project partners pose for an award photo
Trevor Drake
05/26/2017 - 10:51am
The Metropolitan Council, Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), and their partners are being awarded for their innovative solar garden work at the 25th Anniversary Environmental Initiative Awards. The awards program, hosted by the nonprofit Environmental Initiative, annually honors innovative projects that have achieved extraordinary outcomes by harnessing the power of partnership. The project is being honored in the Community Action category. The Governmental Solar Garden Collaborative is a joint effort by and for 31 local governments in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan region to procure solar garden subscriptions from a single Request...

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Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission