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The sun rises over Hutchinson’s new solar PV project, the largest on a landfill in Minnesota, and the first ballast-mounted on a brownfield. Hutchinson’s wastewater treatment facility, the recipient of the array’s electricity, can be seen in the background
Dan Thiede
08/09/2016 - 2:34pm
EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative (RE-Powering) encourages the revitalization and reuse of current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites through the development of renewable energy projects, when such development is aligned with a community’s vision for the site. In this way, communities can expand their energy portfolio, make dormant or under-utilized sites productive, and boost their local economy. To learn more about RE-Powering, CERTs interviewed Adam Klinger, who runs the initiative for the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management. Why should people consider siting renewable energy projects on contaminated lands?   Adam Klinger: Siting renewable energy projects on formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites allows communities to make lands with limited...
Touring NRRI's biomass research
Joel Haskard
08/08/2016 - 3:24pm
The mission of the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) is to “deliver research solutions to balance our economy, resources and environment for resilient communities.” On a recent Northeast CERT tour, participants were given a sneak peek at the innovative ways NRRI is fulfilling their mission in the realm of energy. “We want to deliver solutions for resilient communities,” noted Director Rolf Weberg. “$18 billion dollars of energy costs goes out of Minnesota every year. We are looking at ways to chip away at that very large outgoing budget by using biomass energy.” Although there are many energy-themed studies being pursued by NRRI (measuring the efficacy of three unique solar panel installations and testing a new wind turbine prototype were both mentioned), the tour focused on...
Attendees learn about 10MW solar PV array under construction at Camp Ripley
Sarah Hayden Shaw
08/05/2016 - 3:22pm
The U.S. Military and National Guard have been leaders when it comes to adopting clean energy, and Camp Ripley in Little Falls is ahead of the pack in Minnesota. What are they doing? That’s what 50 Minnesotans recently found out! On Tuesday, August 2nd, the Minnesota National Guard Camp Ripley Training Center opened their doors to the public for a Central CERT tour to show off their amazing work to make their facility a national leader in energy efficiency, renewable energy production, and energy security.   We started off with a lineup of great presenters Marty Skoglund, Environmenal Program Manager for the Minnesota National Guard: Marty started out by telling us about the incredibly biodiverse setting the Camp is located in and their efforts to protect and preserve this unique wilderness. He then...
Clean Energy Accelerator
Trevor Drake
08/04/2016 - 3:29pm
Communities across Minnesota are looking to take action on clean energy projects, but sometimes knowing where to start, who to involve, and how to get from an idea to a completed project are steps that make the process seem daunting. Making those difficult steps easier, and getting through them faster, is what the Clean Energy Accelerator is all about. Community groups applied for support, and four projects were selected to receive targeted support from Metro CERT through the Clean Energy Accelerator. Check out the projects below! Chisago Area Clean Energy Hub The Chisago Area Clean Energy Hub, with leadership by Chisago County in partnership with the Chisago Lakes Area Chamber and support from Eutectics Inc., is seeking to increase the adoption of clean energy...
Solar panels on the roof of Falcon Heights City Hall
Mauricio Leon
07/29/2016 - 3:12pm
Five Minnesota cities in the Twin Cities Metro have been selected as partners for the Local Government Project for Energy Planning (LoGoPEP), an initiative that is developing energy planning tools for local governments. The five selected partner cities include Oakdale, Eden Prairie, Falcon Heights, Maplewood, and Saint Louis Park. These cities will help pilot test the tools developed by the LoGoPEP team, including case studies of exemplar cities, a scenario planning or “wedge” tool that will quantify the level of action needed to meet reduction targets, and an energy planning template that can be incorporated into local government comprehensive plans. After the pilot testing is complete (anticipated March 2017), these tools will be made publicly available and training sessions will be offered to help local governments integrate energy planning into their comprehensive plans....
Mural in Lindstrom, MN
Diana McKeown
07/29/2016 - 3:09pm
As part of our efforts to advance clean energy in the 11-county metro area, Metro CERT is supporting a community-wide effort in Chisago County to engage residents, businesses, cities, and institutions to stop wasting energy dollars and create more sustainable energy from renewable sources such as solar energy via the Chisago Area Clean Energy Hub. While the audience is broadly Chisago County, the Chisago Lakes Area (spanning the cities of Chisago, Lindstrom, Center City, Shafer, and Taylors Falls) became one of 50 communities in the nation to receive $50,000 from the America’s Best Communities (ABC) competition to develop a Community Revitalization Plan. Then, in April 2016, the Chisago Lakes Area...
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
Join NW CERT Aug. 31st in Bemidji for a free event to learn more about electric vehicles! >>   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...
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,...


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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