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The city of Bemidji, Bemidji State University, North Country Electrical Services, Inc., and Otter Tail Power Company partnered to provide electric vehicle charging stations and related equipment
Anna Carlson
07/28/2016 - 11:01am
Bemidji now has three electric vehicle charging stations available to city residents and visitors. The city of Bemidji, Bemidji State University, North Country Electrical Services, Inc., and Otter Tail Power Company partnered to provide the charging stations and related equipment. Drivers easily can recognize all three of the Level 2 32-Amp charging stations with signage and painted parking spaces. You’ll find them in the: Paul Bunyan Park parking lot at 300 Bemidji Avenue North. City Hall parking lot at 317 4th Street Northwest. Bemidji State University Bangsberg lot off Birchmont Drive Northeast, between Lake Boulevard Northeast and 12th Street. The charging stations at Paul Bunyan Park and City Hall are free, while Bemidji State University will require a permit. Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht said the effort demonstrated planning for the future. “While there might not be...
SolSmart Program
Brian Ross
07/27/2016 - 11:59am
This was reposted with permission from the original blog on the Great Plains Institute website. The Great Plains Institute, one of the CERTs partner organizations, is working with communities across the Midwest to develop local solar resources and capture the economic and environmental value of solar energy. The rooftop “solar reserve” of Midwestern cities (the solar equivalent of oil and gas “reserves”) is a vast and largely untapped local energy resource. Rooftop solar resources could, with current technology, generate an equivalent of 25-70% of the total local annual electric use in most cities. To help cities tap these resources, GPI works through the Grow Solar Partnership, a multi-state, U.S. Department of Energy funded effort led by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association to...
Lissa Pawlisch
07/25/2016 - 4:02pm
Community Solar Gardens can be an excellent opportunity for cities, counties, and other local governments to get involved in solar energy and engage community members. Some have already taken action, but many are still wondering whether or not a subscription is the right fit for their local government. To answer their questions, Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) staff ran a webinar to provide an overview of community solar and then dig into the details that can help local governments make decisions.   Webinar Recording   Click play below to watch the webinar, and scroll down further to find the slides and other tools from the event. Want to jump to specific content? Here are timestamps for our three speakers: Start: Community Solar Garden Overview (includes description of Xcel Energy’s Solar Community Program) – Lissa Pawlisch, Director, Clean Energy...
Participants learn about LED lighting at Blue Lake Plastics in Sauk Centre
Joel Haskard
07/19/2016 - 1:16pm
On Thursday, July 14th, over 20 people gathered in Sauk Centre for a tour of LED lighting for businesses and farms. The town was bustling with Sinclair Lewis Days, but CERTs was there to geek out about energy efficient lighting! Starting at ElmerZ in Sauk Centre, guests learned about REAP, PACE, utility rebates and a variety of useful resources. William Little, Chief Technology Officer for LumenPros, gave an overview of LED technology and Paul Streitz, Founder & CEO of LumenPros not only gave an overview of the day’s tour but also showed people his trailer containing a solar-powered back up system (similar to what a diesel generator does) that can be used in case of emergencies. After a short tour of ElmerZ’s restaurant with owner Chris Zimmer,...
Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources
MN Dept. of Commerce
07/19/2016 - 11:18am
The purpose of the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) Grant Program is to identify new technologies, strategies, and program approaches that utilities can implement to help achieve the annual state energy conservation goal of 1.5% as established by the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. Results of recent projects (summarized below) could prove promising for effective utility programs. Motivating Manufacturing Energy Efficiency The goal of Motivating Manufacturing Energy Efficiency, a CARD grant awarded to the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) in 2013, was to demonstrate and carry out a potential CIP program strategy that integrates energy assessments and lean manufacturing tools into MnTAP-sponsored...
Wastewater treatment plant from above
Peter Lindstrom
07/19/2016 - 10:46am
Minnesota wastewater treatment plants can get help to achieve energy efficiency through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wastewater Infrastructure Accelerator. The Minnesota Department of Commerce is a program partner and will help facilitate assistance for Minnesota plants. According to the DOE, “The Wastewater Infrastructure Accelerator will work over three years with state, regional, and local agencies that are engaging with water resource recovery facilities in their jurisdiction to accelerate a pathway toward a sustainable infrastructure of the future. The Accelerator aims to catalyze the adoption of innovative and best-practice approaches in data management, technologies, and financing for infrastructure improvement. Partners will seek to improve the energy efficiency of their...
USDA Rural Development Program Summary
Alexis Troschinetz
07/19/2016 - 10:24am
USDA Rural Development offers an array of programs to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural Minnesota. A new Program Summary guide offers an overview of all programs—it’s a must-read resource for learning about how your goals and projects could be supported. What exactly does USDA Rural Development do in Minnesota? Offer loans, grants and loan guarantees to support essential services such as housing, economic development, health care, first responder services and equipment, and water, electric and communications infrastructure. Promote economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks, credit unions and community-managed lending pools. Offer technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations. Provide technical assistance to help...
40 Under 40 Awards Program from Midwest Energy News
Dan Thiede
07/18/2016 - 2:10pm
The 40 Under 40 award program from Midwest Energy News seeks to highlight emerging leaders throughout the region who are working to accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy. The program is open to innovators from all sectors—government, business, regulatory, academic, advocacy, and industry—and nominations will be accepted until 12:00pm CT on August 5th. Do you know a strong emerging leader who fits these criteria? Click here to nominate him or her today!   Looking back at Minnesota’s 2015 winners…   Becky Alexander, Designer & Researcher, LHB: With a Master of Science in Sustainable Design supplementing her professional architecture degree, Becky Alexander combines sustainable building...
30kw solar and 10kw wind on Jorgenson Hog Farm in Westbrook, MN
Annette Fiedler
07/14/2016 - 8:31am
With energy costs on the rise and the cost of solar PV coming down, farmers like Jim Jorgenson of Westbrook, MN are cashing in on renewable energy. This spring, Jorgenson added a 30kW solar array to the 10kW wind turbine he installed a couple years back. With a cash grant from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and a 30% Federal Tax Credit, the solar installer estimates that the solar array—which was made in the USA and has a 25 year warranty—will payback in just under four years. Learn more about the project in...
Waste Wise from Mn Chamber of Commerce
Lissa Pawlisch
07/14/2016 - 7:22am
The Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation Annual Leader Award honors businesses that have made significant strides toward environmentally sustainable business practices. Award winners are an exceptional group of committed organizations that serve as models of excellence in environmentally sustainable operations within their industry and community. Leader Award winners are chosen each year by a panel of judges that may include Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation Board of Directors and Minnesota Chamber of Commerce employees. Two awards will be given; one will be given to a for profit business and one to a non-profit organization or public entity. Winners will be honored at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Business Conference and Annual Meeting on October 11, 2016 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Award winners will...


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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