Dept. of Commerce
02/06/2014 - 8:09am
Fifteen research and development grant projects that will ultimately help Minnesota consumers and businesses save energy, cut energy bills, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions were announced recently by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. The grants, totaling nearly $3.3 million, are funded by the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) Grant Program and administered by staff of Commerce’s Conservation Improvement Program.
The CARD Grant Program was created to help achieve the state energy conservation goal as established by the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. The Act established an energy conservation policy “to achieve annual energy savings equal to 1.5 percent of annual retail energy sales of electricity and natural gas” directly through utility conservation improvement programs and indirectly through energy codes, education, market...
02/05/2014 - 10:15am
Minnesota has a new statewide team for supporting high efficiency wood energy systems. The Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team includes diverse organizations and individuals with expertise to support effective use of wood energy technologies. With support from the USDA Forest Service, the team’s 2014 programs include making funds available to support businesses and other facilities that are interested in commercially available wood energy systems.
“Minnesota led the nation in 2007 with the development of sustainable woody biomass harvesting guidelines and we have invested in research at the University of Minnesota to ensure we balance new, renewable energy systems with natural resource protections,” said Anna Dirkswager, Biomass Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and manager of the Statewide Wood Energy Team.
The team has been developed to help Minnesota...
02/05/2014 - 9:34am
Have you ever seen the “icicle show” at the Federated Church in Morris, Minnesota? The icicles occurred following roof snowmelt and subsequent freezing and grew to be as long as 6 feet hanging from the edge of the roof (see picture). Some of these icicles were massive and if they broke off and hit you, it could’ve been a disaster.
Well, the icicles are gone for good. The icicles were the visible symbol of a major heat loss problem that has plagued the church for the last 42 years. The structure was showing physical damage and interior water spots resulting from heat loss caused by the complex roof lines of the church, the lack of ventilation, and poorly or non-insulated thermal boundaries. The architect apparently was not familiar with West Central Minnesota winters, and engineering design and construction did not allow for simple addition...
Dept. of Commerce
02/04/2014 - 2:54pm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) has posted three reports as required by state legislation passed in 2013.
The three reports are available as PDFs on the Energy Reports section of the Division of Energy Resources website, or can be accessed using the links below.
The three reports, commissioned by DOC, include:
Scoping an Energy Future Study for Minnesota – The Scoping an Energy Future Study for Minnesota develops a scope for a study of how Minnesota can achieve a sustainable energy system that does not rely on fossil fuels. The report identifies potential approaches and considerations to assess cross-sector opportunities in electrical, transportation, thermal, industrial, and agricultural sectors....
02/04/2014 - 2:39pm
Dairyland Power has signed an agreement with Minnesota-Three, LLC, to purchase the renewable energy produced by a planned large solar facility, to be located along U.S. Highway 52 north of Rochester, Minn.
The new solar installation will be 517 kilowatts (kW), and could produce enough energy to power nearly 60 homes. The facility will be located in the Oronoco Crossings business park and interconnected to People’s Energy Cooperative power delivery system. Construction of the solar facility is scheduled to begin this spring and planned to be operational by June 1, 2014.
The solar installation will be developed, owned and managed by Minnesota-Three, LLC, owned by three Dairyland member cooperatives: Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services (Albert Lea, Minn.), People’s Energy Cooperative (Oronoco, Minn.) and Tri-County Electric Cooperative (Rushford, Minn.). Dragonfly Solar of Lakeville,...
Nick Hylla - MREA
01/31/2014 - 4:30pm
It seems like every year brings a new normal to the U.S. solar industry. The industry is dynamic, full of business innovation, and often hard to predict. However, two general trends have emerged over the past few years:
We consistently outperform our installed capacity projections
We often under-perform when it comes to new job creation
Unfortunately, many job seekers make assumptions about the first trend that do not match the reality of the second. Before we jump into strategies for pursuing professional development, it may be helpful to discuss why we aren’t seeing a solar employment boom. First, don’t fret too much. Employment in the industry is growing. We are a new industry with a lot more room to grow and have the potential to hire hundreds of thousands of new employees in the United States alone. Currently though, there are two major challenges with creating...
MN Dept. of Commerce
01/31/2014 - 4:05pm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce is now accepting applications for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program. Made in Minnesota is one component of last year’s solar energy bill passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor that is aimed to grow the solar energy sector in Minnesota.
“Minnesota businesses, nonprofits, and residents that have been interested in solar as a renewable energy source should quickly apply for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “This program will help Minnesota meet our renewable energy and solar goals by creating an opportunity to buy local and invest in solar.”
Who can apply for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program?
The solar incentive program will be available to customers of the following investor-owned utilities: Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and...
MN Dept. of Commerce
01/31/2014 - 3:37pm
Are you considering a renewable energy system to help power your home? Are you planning to add solar panels or perhaps a small wind system? Perhaps you are thinking about purchasing green power from your utility, but you want to employ your own clean energy source to increase your energy independence and reduce your carbon footprint?
Taking the step in developing your own renewable energy system is an admirable goal and to help you achieve this goal, the Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources recommends that homeowners first apply some simple, energy-saving measures before investing in a renewable energy system. By investing first in energy efficiency and energy conservation up front, you can lessen your energy demand, which will reduce the size of the investment needed for your renewable energy system and optimize the returns on your system.
MN Dept. of Commerce
01/31/2014 - 2:20pm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced yesterday that Minnesota will receive an additional $15,814,434 in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for the Energy Assistance Program (EAP). The total amount of funds Minnesota has received this year is $114,540,746. The LIHEAP program in Minnesota helps low-income homeowners and renters pay heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors on behalf of customers.
This announcement is critical for Minnesota’s low-income households, especially those with seniors, young children, veterans, and people with disabilities. The ongoing sub-zero, arctic weather and sky-rocketing propane prices have added additional stress to family budgets. To address this need, the Department of Commerce recently increased crisis benefits from $500 to $1,000 for households that heat with...
01/23/2014 - 5:01pm
Interviewee: John D. Paulson, Environmental Specialist, City of Hutchinson
Interviewer: Lindsay Wimmer, GESP Outreach Coordinator, Clean Energy Resource Teams
The City of Hutchinson used an energy savings performance contract to finance and upgrade the Wastewater Treatment Plant and retrofit to more efficient lighting in their City Hall, Library, Liquor Store, and Recreation Center. Energy performance contracts are a turnkey implementation method to audit facilities, install upgrades, and pay for those upgrades over a period of time with the resulting savings in the operations and maintenance budgets. Further, the energy savings are guaranteed by the energy service company, and if the upgrades do not result in the determined savings, the energy service company is responsible to pay for the difference.
Total Project Cost: $375,114
Guaranteed Annual Savings: $32,571