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Joel Haskard
02/07/2017 - 11:40am
This is an excerpt from a recent article by Al Edenloff in the Alexandria Echo Press. Imagine zipping down the road in your new electric car but with one nagging question: Is there a charging station nearby? Soon you won’t have to worry as much. The Interstate 94 corridor from Detroit, Mich., to the Minnesota/North Dakota state line is one of 55 routes the Federal Highway Administration has designated nationally to promote alternative fuels and help drivers find vehicle charging stations nationwide. Spanning 35 states and covering 85,000 miles, the new network was created under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. The alternative fuel corridors designation will be used to promote electric, hydrogen, propane and natural gas vehicles by encouraging development of fueling...
Dan Thiede
02/07/2017 - 10:55am
This excerpt is from a recent article by Nick Williams in the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. A year-long project to connect ten public housing high-rises in Saint Paul to a community solar garden is nearly complete. When complete, the St. Paul Public Housing Agency will become the first public housing organization in the U.S. to completely offset electrical consumption with solar energy, according to St. Paul housing officials. “We blazed the trail,” said Louise Seeba, general counsel for the organization. Subscribing to the solar energy garden will save the PHA $130,000 per year, and $3 million over the length of a 25-year contract with Edina-based Geronimo Energy. To learn more,...
Lester-Amity Ski Trails
Peter Lindstrom
01/26/2017 - 1:16pm
The 11 km Lester-Amity ski trail traverses moderate terrain and stunning woodlands from the confluence of Lester and Amity creeks on the north side of Duluth. This is the most popular ski trail in the city due to the easy skiing and 5 km of lighted trail (now powered by solar). The lights provide a huge benefit to the early morning or after work skier but also presented a challenge for the city to maintain. “We had to have two electricians replace the light bulbs, rent a 4-wheel drive boom lift which ripped up the trails and required park maintenance to go back in to smooth out the trails and re-groom them,” said Erik Birkeland, property and facilities manager for the city. It wasn’t unheard of for the city to spend upwards of $10,000 annually to keep the lights on and trails in good shape. The city replaced the outdated...
City of Elk River Green City Fleet Guide
Diana McKeown
01/26/2017 - 11:30am
Cities across Minnesota and the country are working to reduce costs and fuel consumption by greening and electrifying their vehicle fleets. The City of Elk River recently produced a Green City Fleet Guide as part of a Metro CERT Seed Grant funded project that can guide other cities in taking action. The goal of the guide is to provide communities with some tools needed to create greener city fleets. The guide provides information about alternative fuel vehicles, suggestions for efficient fleets, benefits of electric vehicles, a list of electric vehicles on the market, financial incentives, global trends in fleets and additional resources. The guide also shares results of short fleet survey in some Minnesota cities. The...
Fritz Ebinger
01/25/2017 - 1:44pm
According to a recent article by Elizabeth Dunbar at Minnesota Public Radio, “It took about 10 years to go from virtually nothing to 35 megawatts of capacity in 2015, but last year that jumped to 250 megawatts.” Click here to listen to the full story >> More and more cities, counties, businesses, and homeowners are finding that solar makes sense for their bottom line. The technology has never been more accessible to Minnesotans, and we’ll continue to explore the models and tools that will allow solar installations—and in turn jobs—to continue to grow. If you’re ready to learn more about solar and take action, check out the...
Community Solar Garden
Joel Haskard
01/20/2017 - 3:33pm
Although still in the early stages of planning, there is an exciting model brewing to help residents of the Hillcrest Community Cooperative in Clarks Grove, MN reduce their energy costs and power their manufactured homes with community solar. We spoke first with Timothy DenHerder Thomas, the General Manager of Cooperative Energy Futures, to learn more, and then with Kevin Walker, Director of Business Development with the Northcountry Cooperative Foundation. Why is this partnership meaningful to you?   Timothy DenHerder Thomas: As a co-op that exists to help everyone build community wealth through clean energy, CEF is excited to work with Northcounty Cooperative Foundation (NCF) to help residents of manufactured housing co-ops grow community-powered energy. NCF is...
Solar PV on top of Timm's Trucking in Morristown, MN
Chris Meyer
01/17/2017 - 10:55am
Electricity at Timm’s Trucking in Morristown is now provided by the company’s new 30.5 kW Solar PV array, locking in today’s energy costs for years to come. Business owner Randy Timm described the double benefit of installing a renewable energy system that was “not only good for the environment, but saved money on my electric bills and improved my bottom line.” “I’d been looking at different ways to save money on some of our utility bills and solar seemed like a natural option,” said Timm, who knew there was money to be saved on this deal. “It just made sense. It adds value to the business and our building site.” The solar project was financed through an innovative new Minnesota program called Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE. PACE is designed to advance adoption of energy...
City of Farmington
Katie Hosch
01/15/2017 - 11:54am
Building operation is a huge cost that most cities, counties, and other local governments have in common. But often there’s a disconnect between building operation and energy savings, one that a new manual available to Minnesota local governments is designed to fix. It is well documented that most energy-consuming devices in buildings can perform their intended function while using less energy—but often these energy hogs go undetected. It’s important to have some sort of check to make sure that buildings are operating efficiently. The University of Minnesota’s Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR) developed the B3 SB 2030 Energy Efficient Operations Manual, which provides this type of check to the building system. “The B3 SB 2030 Energy Efficient Operations Manual...
Getting to 80% renewables in St. Cloud, MN
Joel Haskard
01/13/2017 - 12:15pm
St. Cloud is one of eight communities in Minnesota recently recognized at the 2016 Clean Energy Community Awards sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The awards recognized communities that contribute to the state’s clean energy goals by planning and implementing programs, policies, and technologies that encourage energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy generation. We spoke with Patrick Shea, St. Cloud’s Public Services Director, to learn more. There seem to be a lot of exciting clean energy projects happening in St. Cloud. How did the city come up with its energy goals and projects?   Patrick Shea: The City has been recognized for sustainability and livability by several organizations including the State of...
Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive
MN Dept. of Commerce
01/12/2017 - 1:47pm
Applications for the fourth year of the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be accepted beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, and ending Feb. 28, 2017. The 10-year, $150-million program helps fund new solar electric and solar thermal systems for Minnesota residents, businesses, and communities. The program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. In its first three years, the Made in Minnesota solar initiative has catalyzed the state’s rooftop solar market and helped put Minnesota on track to meet its renewable electricity and solar electricity goals. The program has boosted Minnesota’s clean energy economy, making solar more affordable for homeowners and businesses, helping to create more clean energy jobs and diversifying the state’s renewable energy portfolio. Applicants of Made in...


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