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CERTs Seed Grants
Dan Thiede
05/29/2014 - 3:59pm
The Southeast Clean Energy Resource Team (SE CERT) is pleased to announce its second round of Seed Grant awards in 2014 for community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. See below for a list of the four projects funded in Spring 2014. This is in addition to the 34 Seed Grant projects funded by CERTs across the state in 2014. Click here to see all of the projects. Austin Utilities – Photovoltaic Electric Vehicle Public Charging Station Austin, MN – Austin Utilities plans to install the first public electric vehicle charging station in the city. Combining the station with solar photovoltaic panels will not only help Austin Utilities with their conservation efforts, but also Riverland Community College’s solar installer program. The goals of the project are to supply a charging station for the public, provide a study for Austin Utilities on...
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officially announced the 2014-2015 Environmental Assistance Grants Program.
Stacey Pederson
05/22/2014 - 12:01pm
On May 12, 2014, with the publication of the Request for Proposals (RFP) Notice in the State Register, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has officially announced the opening of the Fiscal Years (FY) 2014-2015 Environmental Assistance (EA) Grant Program for applications. Approximately $1 million is available for EA grant awards to provide financial assistance for researching, developing, or implementing projects and practices related to all aspects of waste management and prevention including hazardous substances, toxic pollutants, and problem materials. Additionally, market development and education grants are also allowed. The MPCA seeks to encourage environmentally-sustainable practices and approaches to pollution prevention and resource conservation. Eligible applicants, grant award amounts and minimum matching fund requirements will vary by Focus Areas and Preferred...
Carrot Mobbers at El Norteño
Mariella Ojeda
05/20/2014 - 4:00pm
Nearly 200 people showed up to El Norteño Restaurant in Minneapolis on Saturday, April 19, for a “Carrotmob” to support the efforts of the owners, Clemen and Estela Serna, to improve the energy efficiency of their restaurant. Over the course of three hours, 100% of the proceeds from the restaurant’s taco buffet line were set aside for making upgrades to the lighting system throughout the business. “On April 19th I was able to walk to a neighborhood restaurant with my family and support their efforts to go deeper on energy efficiency and conservation in their independently-owned business,” shared Diana McKeown, Metro CERT Director. “I was so happy to be able to directly support their efforts, and I applaud El Norteño for being the first business on Lake Street to pilot the Carrotmob concept. Hopefully they are trendsetters!” Patrons expecting a quiet Saturday...
Made-In-Minnesota Solar Thermal Rebate Program
MN Dept. of Commerce
05/20/2014 - 2:48pm
Are you on delivered fuels and looking for a way to supplement your winter heating needs? Or perhaps you’re just ready to transition to renewable energy? Solar thermal may be a good fit… and better yet there are rebates to help buy down the cost for those systems. Read on for details! What’s the rebate? Solar thermal energy is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat). A Made-In-Minnesota Rebate Program is available through the state for people who install solar thermal systems made by certified solar thermal system manufacturers and installed by a factory authorized solar thermal installer. For the purposes of the Made in Minnesota program, a “Solar Thermal System” means a flat plate or evacuated tube with a fixed orientation that collects the sun’s radiant energy and transfers it to a storage medium for distribution as energy to heat or...
Minnesota Power's Bison Wind Energy Farm
Bill Mittlefehldt
05/20/2014 - 11:09am
Talk about meeting a deadline early. This year, Minnesota Power will reach the state mandated-requirement of producing 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources. That’s 11 years early. With substantial investments in wind energy in recent years, the Duluth-based utility will reach that 2025 mandate by the end of 2014, Al Hodnik, Allete’s chairman, president and CEO, told nearly 900 people gathered for the company’s annual shareholders meeting last week at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Minnesota Power, which provides electric service to 143,000 customers in a 26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota, is one of Allete’s utilities. Its investment in wind energy includes nearly $800 million in the growing Bison wind energy operation in North Dakota—the largest in that state—which Minnesota Power will own and operate. “Investing in...
Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources
Stacey Pederson
05/19/2014 - 1:28pm
There are three separate opportunities currently open through the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Two of them are for Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) projects, and the third is for combined heat and power (CHP) support. Please look closely at deadlines as some of these RFPs have quick turnarounds. Good luck! CARD Grant RFP for projects in nine specific topic areas   The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources seeks proposals from organizations or individuals interested in conducting applied research and development projects in nine specific topic areas: Survey and Analysis of Minnesota Municipal and Cooperative Utility Programs Statewide Policy Analysis and Evaluation of Low-Income Programs in Minnesota Utility CIP Portfolios Behavioral Programs Literature Review and Benchmarking Study...
Lindsay Wimmer
05/12/2014 - 5:00pm
The Youth Energy Summit (YES!) Team Westbrook-Walnut Grove Public Schools entered building and utility data into the B3 Energy Benchmarking System for ten buildings in the City of Westbrooke to learn about energy use, as well as help the city better track energy use and utility costs in public buildings. The YES! Team is a group of nine motivated students that are interested in creating community environmental and economic vitality through hands on projects, so B3 Energy Benchmark data entry was the perfect project.The B3 Energy Benchmarking System is a State administered program to benchmark public buildings in the State of Minnesota. The B3 Energy Benchmarking system is free for government entities to use that compares public building benchmarks throughout Minnesota and generates reports to help public entities better understand energy use within buildings. Learn more about B3 and...
Connexus Energy offers SolarWise program
Stacey Pederson
05/12/2014 - 2:43pm
Connexus Energy, a cooperative electric utility serving the northern Twin Cities suburbs, said recently that it plans to build one of the state’s ­largest community solar gardens. With 792 solar panels and an output of 245 kilowatts, the project is several times larger than other solar gardens now operating or under construction in Minnesota. The project opens the door for hundreds of the utility’s customers to buy a share of the electrical output and have it credited to their monthly bills. It’s also a sign that cooperative power companies are leading Minnesota’s community solar development. Connexus’s $750,000 SolarWise project will be the state’s largest co-op solar garden. Two other co-ops have built smaller ones, and a third co-op will open a 73-kilowatt solar garden in June. At least 18 other co-...
Sioux Trail Elementary won the Battle of the Buildings by conserving energy!
Stacey Pederson
05/12/2014 - 11:26am
The “191 Battle of the Buildings” (modeled after the EPA’s national contest) was a challenge for Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 to reduce their carbon footprint. Energy reductions (calculated from buildings that saved) resulted in nearly 9% in energy reductions for the district. In the recent “191 Battle of the Buildings” energy competition, held in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, Sioux Trail Elementary took first place with a staggering overall reduction of 29.1% in energy use in the five-week long challenge. When asked about the secret to their success, Shannon McParland, Principal of Sioux Trail discloses, “It was truly a student-led effort which staff supported and embraced. More important than the initial savings was the opportunity to educate and empower the next generation of consumers.” The five week-long energy competition, coordinated by MN...
Metro CERT Annual Event
Andrew Felton
05/07/2014 - 3:46pm
The Metro CERT Spring Resource and Networking Event on April 17th at the Como Zoo hosted an exciting group of speakers and energy professionals all focused on achieving the goal of cleaner and more sustainable energy use in our local communities. The gathering was also a celebration of the seven years that Metro CERT has been actively connecting local communities to the resources they need to achieve those sustainability goals. Panel – Perspectives on Community Solar: The evening began with an introduction from Trevor Drake, Metro CERT Coordinator at the Great Plains Institute, who went on to moderate a panel on the concept of solar community gardens. The panel was kicked off by Lissa Pawlisch, CERTs Statewide Director, who spoke in depth on the topic of community solar, further expanding on how communities can achieve community solar usage through investments in...

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