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Sister City Park in Duluth, future site of public solar PV installation
Joel Haskard
09/02/2015 - 1:55pm
Solar projects in parks can be a great way for the general public to get familiar with the technology while at the same time reducing energy costs for the city. With the help of a CERTs Seed Grant, Duluth did site assessments of several locations: the Duluth Rose Garden, Sister City Park above Duluth’s Lakewalk, the Lakeview Chalet on Seven Bridges Road (where the solar PV installation would serve the Amity/Lester Ski Trail lighting) and the music stage at Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park. DyAnn Andybur, the Energy Coordinator for the City of Duluth during the grant period, noted the next steps: Site visits were scheduled and Minnesota Power’s renewable energy team members were notified so that they could attend the site visit to answer questions, ask questions and gather information in the event that the City would submit interconnection agreements for any of the sites. The...
Joel Haskard
09/01/2015 - 5:40pm
The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES), a non-profit that promotes solar energy in Minnesota through education and the demonstration of practical application, has been conducting the Minnesota Solar Tour for about 14 years via volunteers or staff located in the Twin Cities area. The goal of the tour is to increase people’s confidence that they can make improvements to their own homes or businesses by giving them a “hands on” experience with working products and a friendly interaction with someone who is an owner and user, rather than a sales person. MRES has found the Greater Minnesota portion of the tour to be consistently lagging behind in media attention and attendance. Hoping to rectify that, the strategy for 2014 was twofold: First, to separate the Twin Cities Metro Solar Tour...
CERTs Seed Grants
Diana McKeown
08/24/2015 - 6:49pm
Do you and your community need funding to get an energy efficiency or renewable energy project off the ground? The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) can help! On August 24, 2015 the Statewide CERTs Partnership, including the Great Plains Institute, released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking applications for limited financial assistance for community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. This funding is for LABOR COSTS ONLY for all seven CERTs regions, which cover the entire State of Minnesota. The primary objective of these funds is to spur action on local clean energy projects. This will be the 4th round of Seed Grants in the 11-county Metro CERT region. We have funded 23 projects for a total of $80,000 since 2010. These projects were chosen from hundreds of competitive proposals over that time frame,...
Ribbon cutting at new EV charging station in Austin powered by solar
Michelle Palm
08/21/2015 - 9:15am
Over thirty people gathered in Austin, Minnesota on Wednesday, August 5th at Jay C. Hormel Nature Center to hear from community members and civic leaders taking clean energy action across multiple sectors on a wide range of projects in Austin. The event was a Southeast Clean Energy Resource Team (SE CERT) regional meeting. Media: The event got a lot of attention from local media outlets. In fact, you can see stories from KIMT TV, KTTC TV, and the Austin Daily Herald. Recap & Presentations: Michelle Palm gave an overview of CERTs (...
Beltrami's Northern Sun CSG project
Anna Carlson
08/21/2015 - 8:57am
As the sun beats down on a hot summer day in downtown Bemidji, the question begs: How much energy could be harnessed if solar panels covered the roofs, awnings, and parking lots of our homes and businesses? A report conducted by the Institute for Local Self Reliance suggests 24 percent of Minnesota’s electricity needs could be met by installing current solar technologies on existing residential and commercial rooftops right here in the state. Yet, currently in Minnesota, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of our electricity comes from solar. Integrating and storing intermittent electricity into the electrical grid are ongoing challenges. However, communities around the world are successfully finding ways to reliably integrate upward of 30 percent of their electricity from intermittent renewable sources such as solar and wind. The beautiful wooded environment in which we live...
National Drive Electric Week
Joel Haskard
08/21/2015 - 7:49am
National Drive Electric Week, coming up September 12-20, 2015, is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. You probably already know this, but electric vehicles are fun to drive, are less expensive and more convenient to fuel than gasoline vehicles, are better for the environment, and promote local jobs. That’s a lot of good stuff! Join Drive Electric Minnesota and partners at the second annual National Drive Electric Week! They will be hosting multiple events around the Twin Cities celebrating and educating the public on the benefits of driving electric: Ride and Drive at the...
Tesla Powerwall
Isaac Mielke
08/21/2015 - 7:48am
Tesla generated much publicity after its April introduction of the Powerwall. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery, it stores electricity for consumption, load shifting, and backup power. Intended for residential purposes, Tesla has partnered with SolarCity to sell the 10 kWh Powerwall systems for $5,000. The Powerwall can store solar energy from your solar panels and act as a backup power source during a power failure. It collects cheap energy from off-peak hours and releases it during peak consumption time, flattening demand spikes and saving money. Powered by renewable energy, this battery sits on a wall and autonomously switches on. One 10 kWh Powerwall supports a refrigerator, computer, lighting, alarm systems, and electrical outlets—and an optional second Powerwall completes the household. A 7 kWh model will also be...
Installing new LED street lighting in Bemidji
Peter Lindstrom
08/06/2015 - 12:41pm
The City of Bemidji is the first local government in Minnesota to work on a performance contract across the city’s buildings and operations through the new statewide Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP) for energy efficiency improvements. Peter Lindstrom, CERTs Local Government Outreach Coordinator, interviewed City of Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht, Finance Director Ron Eischens, City Manager Nate Mathews, and Honeywell Regional Sales Director Mike Taylor to learn more about their experience. What is Performance Contracting?   Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) is a performance-based procurement and financing mechanism that leverages maintenance, operations, and utilities savings achieved through the installation of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures to finance the cost of the facility retrofit and renewal project, without bonding or raising...
Jamie Long from Linden Hills talking about community solar at CERTs event
Jesse Thorson
08/06/2015 - 11:40am
The Southwest Minneapolis neighborhood of Linden Hills wants to do what it can to tap into renewable energy, and community solar is sure to be its next move. Jamie Long, member of the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council and board member of Linden Hills Power and Light, said that these two groups partnered to work on this mutual interest in 2013, advocating within the community for a solar alternative and exploring options for how to make it happen. Mr. Long explained that community solar was appealing because it presented the opportunity to make solar power an option for homeowners and renters in the neighborhood who otherwise do not have access to a site with adequate sunlight or cannot afford to install panels on their property. Commenting on the feedback from...
Minnesota GreenStep Cities
Patrick Mathwig
08/05/2015 - 5:55pm
The workshops during the 2014-2015 GreenStep Workshop Series covered a wide range of topics that are important to cities, providing a wealth of information and resources. To access that information and the resources from the workshops check out their webinar recordings and PDFs of their presentation and additional resources on this page! Also, don’t forget to register for upcoming workshops and webinars for 2015-2016!   October – Benchmarking and What the Heck is Step 4 Anyway?   No webinar recording is available for the October workshop, click here for a summary of the workshop.   November – Bike, Ped and Transit Options:   November workshop presentations and resources:...


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Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission