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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...
BJ Tersteeg receives a rebate from Chuck Heins, Superintendent of Redwood Falls Public Utilities
Keith Butcher - SMMPA
07/13/2016 - 4:03pm
Started in 1936 by Ed and Garnette Tersteeg, Tersteeg’s Market and Holiday Gas has been a cornerstone family business in the Redwood Falls community for 80 years. In 1967, Jim succeeded his father in ownership of the business. Their current location at 1111 East Bridge Street has been their base of operation since 1983 and employs over 130 people. This longevity has provided them the ability to make long-term investments in their facility to save energy and reduce overall operating costs. For assistance they turned to Redwood Falls Public Utilities to identify potential equipment upgrades and provide utility rebates. The partnership with Redwood Falls Public Utilities started many years ago with Jim and is continuing with the next generation as BJ, Jim’s...
National Community Solar Partnership
Dan Thiede
07/13/2016 - 9:42am
More than 80 people gathered in Minneapolis last month for the last of four regional workshops on community solar sponsored by the Department of Energy’s National Community Solar Partnership. A major thrust of DOE’s outreach efforts is to engage solar developers, clean energy advocates and policymakers on community solar issues, while also providing a forum for developers to share best practices and strategies for bringing solar to millions of Americans who lack the ability or means to install systems on their own rooftops. Among the core demographic groups embracing community solar, officials said, are urbanites, middle- and low-income residents who rent rather than own their rooftops, and millennials, who have a personal interest in technologies and market structures that advance the...
Anna Knott, owner of Knott's Corner Bar & Grill in Lucan
Joel Haskard
07/13/2016 - 9:04am
Folks in Redwood County might know Knott’s Corner Bar and Grill in the town of Lucan (pop. 191) for their delicious Buffalo Wings. What they might not know is that the business has become much more energy efficient and is saving energy dollars with the help of the Rural Minnesota Energy Board’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. Not familiar with PACE? Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a new way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to the buildings of commercial property owners. Energy-saving measures pursued by the owners receive project financing and are repaid as a separate item on their property tax assessment for a set period. After a couple years successfully running Knott’s Corner,...
Image courtesy InHabitat
MN Dept. of Commerce
07/11/2016 - 4:44pm
Keeping our homes cool and comfortable during Minnesota’s hot, humid summer months is a challenge for all of us. And it sounds like we’re getting ready for a scorcher next week! Many of our daily activities produce heat and moisture inside our homes. But a few simple changes in our routines can reduce temperature and humidity levels, adding comfort while also saving on air conditioning costs: Use appliances at cooler times. Plan to use appliances such as ovens, clothes dryers and dishwashers in the evening, when it is cooler. These devices can give off a lot of heat when they operate, adding to the air conditioning load. Turn it off. Make sure that any unneeded devices or lighting, especially incandescent lights, are turned off or unplugged. Computers, TVs,...
GreenStep Cities at the 2016 LMC conference
Dan Thiede
07/01/2016 - 9:34am
When it comes to sustainability, it’s more likely these days that cities are working on advancing energy, water, economic, and environmental practices than not. This sense that ‘everyone’s doing it’ with sustainability is in part due to a statewide program called Minnesota GreenStep Cities, a voluntary challenge, assistance, and recognition program designed specifically for Minnesota that now has over 100 participating cities. “Over 40% of Minnesota residents now live in a city that participates in the GreenStep Cities program,” noted Don Reeder with the League of Minnesota Cities. “An overwhelming number of cities are actively working on actions that fall into the five best practice categories of Building and Lighting, Land Use, Transportation, Environmental Management, and Economic and Community Development.” Awards and Recognition...
Pollinator-friendly prairie habitat around DNR solar installation
Fritz Ebinger
06/27/2016 - 3:03pm
Things are in bloom all over Minnesota right now, including solar energy, and more and more solar installations across the state will be supporting the creatures that pollinate our plants. Gov. Dayton recently signed the Solar Sanctuaries Act into law on May 31, 2016. The Solar Sanctuaries Act establishes voluntary native vegetation and habitat management practices for solar developers and local governments alike to maximize habitat creation for birds, pollinators, and other small wildlife. The new law serves to verify claims that commercial solar installations are helping to create pollinator habitat when they sign a Pollinator Pledge. CERTs...

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