06/11/2014 - 11:08am
Taking leadership to accelerate private-sector adoption of EVs, Minnesota is the first state nationwide to require its investor-owned utilities to offer a special rate for off-peak (overnight) EV refueling. Signed in to law by Governor Mark Dayton, clean energy advocates, including Minnesota utilities, worked together to create bipartisan and market-driven policy that has the following outcomes:
Beginning in 2015, 1.3 million households will have access to a discounted rate for electric vehicle (EV) refueling.
Also beginning in early 2015, investor-owned utilities will provide customers the option of zero-emissions EV refueling with renewable energy.
State agencies can more easily consider electric fleet vehicles–previous purchasing decisions were not permitted to take into account the lower refueling and maintenance costs typical of EVs.
The policy removes roadblocks to...
06/05/2014 - 3:51pm
There is scholarship funding available to participate in the Regional Indicators Initiative – Apply by July 3. Over 20 Minnesota cities currently participate in the Regional Indicators Initiative (RII), and new participants are being accepted. The Regional Indicators Initiative measures annual performance metrics for Minnesota cities interested in increasing efficiency and sustainability. The total cost to collect and report data for 2008 – 2012 data is $3,000 and a limited amount of funding is available to provide competitive matching scholarships to a few communities.
We expect to award scholarships to 3 – 6 cities on a competitive basis. Preference will be given to applicants that meet three or more of the following criteria:
GreenStep Cities participant
Community-wide population under 25,000
Located in Greater Minnesota
Interest in setting community-wide...
06/05/2014 - 2:49pm
This article is reposted from the original by Camille LeFevre on The Line and MinnPost.
Solar power isn’t just for southern locales anymore. According to Aladdin Solar, LLP, one of the Twin Cities metro’s growing solar companies, Minnesota actually has the same or better “solar resources” than most of the southeastern and northeastern U.S., “with more ‘peak sun hours’ here (on an annual basis, 4.6 hours daily average) than Germany, the top solar market in the world.”
Back in 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy selected Minneapolis-St. Paul as one of its 25 Solar America Cities. The Twin Cities were chosen based on a competitive submittal that outlined plans “to build a sustainable solar infrastructure, streamline city-level regulations, and promote the adoption of mainstream solar technology among...
06/04/2014 - 11:45am
Municipalities and other authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) are facing dramatic increases in rooftop solar permit applications. With this trend expected to continue and spread, streamlining building and electrical permitting processes will become increasingly important to more AHJs.
As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability U.S.A. and IREC present a series of webinars on solar permitting and inspection. The series will review the components of rooftop solar permitting processes, and share best practices and tools for improving them.
These webinars are free, but you must register to attend. The upcoming webinars will be held on June 26 and August 27 from 1:00p-2:00pm CST.
These webinars will be targeted at municipal permit review staff and inspectors, but should be useful to a diverse...
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...
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...
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...
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 in Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, Otter Tail Power Company, and Xcel Energy territory 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...
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.
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...