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03/24/2016 - 12:52pm
Over 30 people gathered at the Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center in Rochester on Wednesday, March 2nd, to network and set priorities around local clean energy projects. The two and a half hour event started off with Andy Krogstad, the Managing Director of the Mayo Civic Center, talking about his experiences using the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program as a way to finance energy efficiency upgrades. He was followed by Jeff Beckman, President of AgInspire about the Renewable Energy Education Kits. AgInspire received CERTs seed grants in three regions with the understanding that their kits—a collection focused on wind, solar, biomass/fuel, and general energy concepts—will be highlighted at county fairs during the summer of 2016. Taylor Gronau, City Administrator with Lake Crystal, was not able to attend the event to present on...
03/18/2016 - 8:42am
On Tuesday, March 8th, over 40 people gathered in Sunburg, MN (pop. 100) at their Community Center to participate in the West Central CERT Energy Networking & Priority Setting event. After lunch and networking, the attendees heard a presentation from David Krueger, Executive Director, Meeker County Economic Development Agency, about the role that Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) can play for economic development and clean energy implementation. Next, Shelli-Kae Foster, Program Manager with the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) was joined by Samantha Gilbert and Mia Dahl, students from Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City’s YES! Team. They highlighted the program in general and the projects that the student leaders are currently working on (hint: LED parking lot lights with solar panels…...
03/17/2016 - 5:09pm
The Woodbury City Council took a giant leap into clean energy when they approved a community solar garden subscription at the March 9th council meeting. The agreement with Geronimo Energy locks in nearly $1.5 million in savings for the city over 25 years. This calculates to $57,000 annual savings on the city’s electric utility bill. Community Solar Garden’s allow organizations and residents the opportunity to participate in a shared offsite solar project within Xcel Territory. A community solar garden is a centrally located solar photovoltaic system that produces electricity for subscribers. A third-party developer, in this case Geronimo Energy, owns the garden, and sells subscriptions to commercial and residential customers in Xcel Energy’s territory. Subscribers get a significant credit from Xcel Energy for the electrical production of the solar garden. Over the...
03/17/2016 - 3:40pm
The Association of Energy Service Professionals, or AESP, is the premier organization for professionals dedicated to improving the delivery and implementation of energy efficiency, energy management, and distributed renewable resources. AESP members have one thing in common—the desire to advance their professional growth and development through acquiring current practical knowledge and building their network in the energy field. We spoke with Paul Bertucci of Franklin Energy, the current president of the AESP Midwest Chapter, to learn more. Why should someone consider becoming an AESP Midwest Chapter member? Paul Bertucci: If you work in or with a utility, if you are working in the energy services world, if you work in the energy efficiency or renewable energy fields…Join us! It is an...
03/17/2016 - 9:08am
Dan Linehan with the Mankato Free Press recently published a great article about solar development in south-central Minnesota and the opportunities that landowners and local governments are finding. Excerpt: When John Frey of Mankato received an inquiry about putting a solar array on his land, he didn’t need to be persuaded on the merits. Renewable energy was already his sole focus after retiring as a dean at Minnesota State University. Solar power, he said, is a virtual requirement if we’re to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. When 40 acres of solar panels go up on his rural Lake Crystal land, perhaps this May, he’ll be looking at it as part of a global solution to climate change. In south-central Minnesota, landowners are seeing new...
03/17/2016 - 8:33am
Examples of communities saving energy and money with LED lighting just keep rolling in. Down in Winona County, the Ridgeway Community School utilized a CERTs Seed Grant back in 2014 to improve their lighting efficiency. Ridgeway Community School is a public charter school serving the families of Pleasant Hill Township as well as the neighboring townships. The lighting projects included: Identification and installation of quality LED lighting fixtures to replace 175 to 500 watt metal-halide wall packs on the exterior of the building. These wall packs run on photo-sensors and therefore operate between 10 and 15 hours per day. Replacement of 32 watt T-8 light bulbs in the school hallway with 25 watt T-8 lights. This is a more cost-effective upgrade for lights which are also on 10 to 15 hours per day as the LED fixtures that could...
03/09/2016 - 4:28pm
Minnesota’s ethanol industry contributed $2.13 billion to the state’s gross domestic product in 2015, according to a new study by ABF Economics out this week. The study, commissioned by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, said the industry generated $7.37 billion in gross sales in 2015 for Minnesota businesses. This, in turn, generated $1.6 billion worth of income for Minnesota households, supported 18,116 full-time jobs in the state and contributed $93 million to state and local taxes last year. “The ethanol industry continues to be a significant contributor to Minnesota’s economy and is vital to continued economic growth in the state,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota...
MN Dept. of Commerce
03/07/2016 - 2:13pm
It might be hard to measure Janet Streff’s impact in BTUs saved, clean energy megawatts generated, or carbon emissions reduced. But it’s clear that the State Energy Office manager of the past 17 years has been a true champion of energy policies and programs that have greatly benefited Minnesota—and that rank with the nation’s best. Streff will retire on March 4 after 20 years of public service. “Janet has been the consummate professional, and no one has been a better advocate for energy efficiency and renewable energy over the past 20 years,” said Bill Grant, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, who oversees the Energy Division. “She has led an exemplary clean energy agenda and has been vital in implementing Minnesota’s energy policies and programs. As she leaves, our state is poised to meet or exceed its ambitious clean energy and energy-saving goals.”...
03/07/2016 - 1:32pm
The new Energy Fit Homes is a certificate program that focuses on energy efficient upgrades that are cost-effective to the homeowner. Primarily a Twin Cities metro program (but with hopes of expansion), it is being provided by the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), a Minneapolis nonprofit that has been helping Minnesota residents reduce their energy use for 35 years, and Neighborhood Energy Connection, a Saint Paul based nonprofit that has delivered high quality energy conservation services for 29 years. We spoke with Isaac Smith, the Energy Fit Homes Program Manager at Center for Energy and Environment, to learn more. What do people like best about the program? Isaac Smith: Homeowners enjoy the ease and low-cost of getting their home certified. Energy Fit Homes is a tangible way to show...
MN Dept. of Commerce
03/07/2016 - 12:46pm
Looks like we’re on pace to exceed Renewable Energy Standard of 25% by 2025! Minnesota generated 21 percent of its electricity from renewable energy in 2015, up from just six percent a decade ago, putting the state well on pace to exceed its Renewable Energy Standard of 25 percent by 2025, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Renewable energy includes wind, solar, hydro and biomass. “Minnesota’s commitment to renewable energy is showing clear results,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Since 2005, Minnesota’s electric power generated from renewal sources has more than tripled. We have reduced our dependence on polluting coal that must be imported from outside the state, while increasing our own clean energy made right here in Minnesota. It’s a tremendous benefit for our energy sector, our economy and jobs, and our environment.” In 2007, Minnesota...