Tue, 12/10/2013 - 3:07pm
There’s been a lot of exciting action on solar energy in Minnesota in 2013. To keep the momentum going, we’d like to invite you to save the date for Solar Powering Minnesota, a conference that will take place in Saint Paul, MN on Friday, March 7, 2014.
We have great news: Minh Le—the Program Manager of the Solar Energy Technologies Program within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy—has been confirmed as our keynote speaker to kick off the conference in the morning. Minh Le helps manage and balance the portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment programs for the national SunShot Initiative.
Prior to his current role at DOE, Minh spent his career in industry developing technologies and scaling new technologies to high-volume manufacturing. Minh earned his SB and SM degrees from MIT where he...
Tue, 12/10/2013 - 1:54pm
Since the 1930s, Duluth, Minnesota, has continually drawn frigid water from Lake Superior, heated it to steam in a coal-fired boiler, then pushed that steam through a network of pipes to provide heat for downtown businesses.
The city is now studying its options for modernizing the aging system to make it more flexible, economical, and sustainable.
A consultant’s master plan presented Monday to the City Council recommends adding sawdust as a fuel source and converting steam lines into a more efficient, closed-loop hot water system. “If we are going to own this, we are going to bring this steam plant into the 21st century,” David Montgomery, the city’s chief administrative officer, said in an interview. “We want to turn this into a real asset, which we think it can become, from an...
Tue, 12/10/2013 - 1:46pm
The market share of condensing boilers, sometimes called high-efficiency boilers, has increased dramatically over the last several years, thanks in part to utility programs that provide rebates.
Unfortunately, many of these newly installed condensing boilers only achieve a fraction of their expected ideal case energy savings. Center for Energy and Environment’s Senior Mechanical Engineer Russ Landry explains why, and offers solutions to optimize their performance
When a boiler burns natural gas to heat water, it produces both carbon dioxide and water vapor—which is really just diluted steam. In a conventional boiler all of this steam goes right out the chimney with most of its potential heating energy wasted:
The lost heat up the flue results in an annual fuel utilization efficiency of about 80 percent for conventional boilers. In order to increase boiler efficiency...
Tue, 12/10/2013 - 1:20pm
A total of 100 rural small business and agriculture producers in Minnesota were assisted by funding through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in 2013. Funding for 75 of these projects was recently announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Doug O’Brien announced funding for the first 25 projects back in August during his visit to Minnesota to advocate for a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill at Minnesota’s 2013 IDEAg Farmfest show.
The 2013 REAP funding will provide $2.3 million to Minnesota-based rural small businesses and farmers who will then leverage personal funds and other incentives to construct $10 million worth of projects throughout the state. The total number of projects funded and total dollars awarded represent the second highest in the nation and reflect Minnesota’s continued success in securing REAP...
Tue, 12/10/2013 - 8:52am
Douglas Tiffany, assistant extension professor at the University of Minnesota, discussed the economics of co-locating torrefaction, ethanol and coal power plants at the University of North Dakota on Nov. 6.
“What we wanted to get an idea of was what would be the rates of return on equity for torrefaction plants and how that use of biocoal could help coal-fired power plants comply with new regulations that are hanging over their head at this time,” Tiffany said.
After the cost of biomass, an independent torrefaction plant may face a production cost of $42 per finished ton, Tiffany explained. However, if the plant was able to sell a certain amount of steam and gases, the cost would be estimated at $17 per ton. “A co-located torrefaction plant where it has an opportunity to sell those gases would be enjoying 16 percent rates of return on equity versus six percent without that [...
Mon, 12/09/2013 - 1:41pm
Southwest Regional Development Commission and Southwest CERT are excited to welcome Drew Hage to our team as a Development Planner! He’s not new to our team, but we wanted to take the chance to introduce him to the CERTs network.
Drew grew up in Southwest Minnesota and Northwest Iowa. Drew has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy with an emphasis in economic planning from the University of Northern Iowa and a B.S. is Economics from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Drew began work for the Southwest Regional Development Commission in November of 2012. At the Commission Drew works in areas related to Land Use, Transportation, Active Living, Community Development, and Energy. Drew began working on various CERTs projects and campaigns during the spring of 2013. During his graduate studies Drew worked for the Center for Social and Behavior Research were he got to assist with a...
Fri, 11/22/2013 - 3:52pm
The development of community solar gardens is a potentially exciting opportunity that will allow individuals to join with others in their community to advance clean energy projects.
CERTs is working to develop materials and resources to help individuals and communities better understand what this opportunity does—and doesn’t—mean for them.
We’re asking you to participate in a survey so that we can better understand what your needs are to make informed decisions about this emerging solar arena. We hope you’ll help!
Your responses will be kept confidential and will not be associated with your name. If you agree to participate in this study, we will ask you to complete an online survey (linked to below) that should take approximately 10 minutes. Please review the consent language before agreeing to be in the study.
Of course, should you have any...
MN Dept. of Commerce
Fri, 11/22/2013 - 3:14pm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced on Nov. 22 the 2014 incentive amounts for its 10-year, $15-million-a-year Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, to launch Jan. 1 2014.
Made in Minnesota was one of several initiatives enacted by the 2013 Legislature to increase deployment of solar energy throughout the state. It will help achieve the state’s new solar electricity standard, which calls for 1.5 percent of electric sales from investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power) to come from solar electricity by 2020.
The incentives for solar electric systems from the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be available to customers of investor-owned utilities who install solar electric, or solar photovoltaic (PV), systems using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Modules from two Minnesota...
Fri, 11/22/2013 - 2:25pm
There are a lot of great educational resources out there to help people understand their clean energy options, but often language barriers can get in the way. Now, for Spanish-language learners, there is a nice collection of clean energy resources available.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Carolyn Foundation, Do It Green! Minnesota is distributing a number of exciting new handouts on energy efficiency and renewable energy in Spanish!
Lista de Energía / Energy Checklist – a step-by-step list of easy tasks to do throughout the year to save energy
Alternativos de energía renovable en Minnesota / Renewable Energy Alternatives in Minnesota – two informative articles about the different types of renewable energy available in Minnesota
Preguntas de Energía / Energy Trivia Questions – good for...
Wed, 11/20/2013 - 2:56pm
The City of New Ulm achieved $98,000 in energy savings in one year after the installation of new aeration blower motors, variable speed drives, controls, and air distribution system in their Waste Water Treatment Plant. After the first year of measurement it is projected that the upgrades will have a 5 year payback.
Two years ago, two new 300 horse power aeration blower motors were installed to replace the existing 900 horse power motors. Variable speed drives were installed along with the motors, and as a result the motors run between 60-80% capacity when needed, as opposed to running at 100% capacity all of the time.
Controls were also installed to monitor dissolved oxygen levels and an air diffuser system to more efficiently digest solids. Now oxygen levels are known in real time so the motors are able to adjust their speed to efficiently operate the plant.