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...
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...
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-...
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...
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...
05/06/2014 - 10:00am
USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced that USDA is seeking applications from rural small businesses and agricultural producers for funding to make energy efficiency improvements or to install renewable energy systems.
“Developing renewable energy presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America,” Landkamer said. “This funding will help rural small business owners, farmers and ranchers incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology into their operations, create jobs and help America become more energy independent. When small rural businesses and farmers cut their energy costs with cleaner and more efficient energy, we are both helping their bottom lines and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that affects our climate.”
The funding announced today is being provided through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program...
05/05/2014 - 4:12pm
Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church has announced that it will be the first community of faith in Minnesota to host a community solar garden. The Church has partnered with solar developer Minnesota Community Solar to host the project atop the education wing on Bethel’s south Minneapolis property. The Church will be the array’s anchor subscriber, consuming a significant portion of the electricity produced.
Community solar gardens allow Xcel Energy customers to subscribe to solar energy from large arrays at locations away from their own homes and businesses. Community solar dramatically expands the number of Minnesotans with access to clean, locally-produced solar electricity.
Describing the partnership, Pastor Brenda Froisland said, “We are very excited to be partnering with Minnesota Community Solar; they’ve made this process easy. Our congregation has long had a spiritual...
05/01/2014 - 4:01pm
Are you looking for a financing tool that helps for-profit businesses do energy efficiency retrofits on their property? Property Assessed Clean Energy, (or PACE for short) have the answers you’re looking for! PACE allows property owners to borrow money from newly established municipal financing districts to finance energy retrofits (energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades) and repay the loan through an annual special tax on their property bill. The premise of the program is that the business does not see a decrease in net profits—and once the loan is repaid, the business realizes the savings on their operating costs. Find the answers you’re looking for, including program objectives and requirements Property Assessed Clean Energy brochure about PACE.
05/01/2014 - 2:19pm
Minnesota Cities at the League of Minnesota Cities recently had a discussion with Philipp Muessig, GreenStep Cities program coordinator with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to learn more about the initiative. Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a free and voluntary program cities can join to help them improve their Earth-friendly efforts in a cost-effective way.
Minnesota Cities: How did the idea for the GreenStep Cities program come about, and when did the program take off?
Philipp Muessig: Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) held regional listening sessions around the state in 2007 to discuss community-based energy opportunities and the state’s Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. The idea was raised by Bob McLean of Hunt Utilities Group in Pine River to create a sustainable cities program that would, like...
04/25/2014 - 11:53am
Lakeville, MN’s Dragonfly Solar and SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer since 1975, will partner to deliver a 517-kilowatt solar array to four electric utility cooperatives in the U.S. Midwest. The project is the nation’s first and largest to be developed under a model of joint ownership among utility cooperatives, exemplifying how cooperatives can maximize their clean-power investment.
The solar array will be owned and managed by Minnesota-Three, an entity jointly owned by Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services of Albert Lea, Minn., People’s Energy Cooperative of Oronoco, Minn., and Tri-County Cooperative of Rushford, Minn. — all utility cooperatives whose member-owners have joined forces to curb energy costs. Dairyland Power of La Crosse, Wis., the cooperative power...