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Joel Haskard
Thu, 03/16/2017 - 1:49pm
There is A LOT happening in the world of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) here in Minnesota. We asked Jukka Kukkonen with PlugInConnect, LLC, to tell us a bit more. The Overview   “This is a year of great developments in Minnesota,” says Jukka. “Auto manufacturers are bringing more plug-in vehicle choices to the market and first affordable battery electric vehicles with over 200 mile range will be available here this fall. Utility companies are working to become energy experts in the transportation area to better assist their customers and auto dealers are realizing the market potential of this new segment. Still there are a lot of questions but fortunately we already have many plug-in vehicle owners who are happy to share their experiences with general public. It is great to work with all these partners and line up things in Minnesota for electrified future of...
CERTs Right Light Guide for LED Tube Lights
Alexis Troschinetz
Mon, 03/13/2017 - 5:01pm
LED linear tube lights are an emerging energy-efficient technology. With the popularity of the CERTs Right Light Guide, we decided it was high time to offer some basic guidance on LED tubes. This is the second version of the guide with slight revisions from the original.   Why are people considering LED tubes?   Fluorescent lighting is everywhere. Fluorescent lighting is universal. Look up, and you’ll likely find these familiar tubes lining the ceilings of many buildings. Linear fluorescent tubes (LFLs) have largely reached their maximum energy-saving potential, and they also require recycling. LED lighting is a new alternative. LED lighting is rapidly evolving and providing an alternative to LFLs. Building owners and facility managers are adopting LED lighting for its long life span, energy efficiency, and controllability.  ...
Amy Collins
Joel Haskard
Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2017, which is Women’s History Month. As part of the series we interviewed Amy Collins, Energy Services Field Representative with Missouri River Energy Services, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Amy Collins: I work for Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), a not-for-profit, joint-action agency based out of Sioux Falls, SD that supplies wholesale electricity to 60 municipal...
Robin Weis
Joel Haskard
Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2017, which is Women’s History Month. As part of the series we interviewed Robin Weis, Economic Development Director at Southwest Regional Development Commission, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Robin Weis: Robin is the Economic Development Director at the Southwest Regional Development Commission and the Program Director of the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE)...
Chris Meyer
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 10:30am
This is an excerpt from a recent story by Mark Fischenich in the Mankato Free Press. The city of Mankato will reduce its future electrical bills by $1.9 million through subscriptions to solar energy projects in the area, boosting the savings by more than 50 percent from its initial agreement last summer. The subscriptions mean nearly all of the power going to the city’s 10 biggest municipal consumers — ranging from the street lighting system to the civic center to the sewage treatment plant — will be supplied by Xcel Energy at a discounted rate. That figure could grow if more community solar gardens are developed in Blue Earth County or adjacent counties, said Public Works Director Jeff Johnson. “Right now, we’re at 92 percent,...
Zero Energy Schools program
Peter Lindstrom
Mon, 02/20/2017 - 1:39pm
Minnesota and California along with six school districts and several national organizations are implementing partners in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) new Zero Energy Schools Accelerator program, the DOE announced on Dec. 6. The Accelerator is part of the DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative and its ongoing strategy to advance energy efficiency and accelerate the market adoption of Zero Energy Buildings. “K-12 schools have good replication potential and can lead the way to market transformation of zero energy construction,” according to the DOE. “The Zero Energy Schools Accelerator aims to reduce the energy consumption of schools, while enhancing the educational environment for our nation’s students and making Zero Energy Buildings mainstream.” A Zero Energy Building is an energy-efficient building, where, on a source energy basis, the actual delivery of energy is less than or...
Kruse Motors in Marshall, MN goes solar
Annette Fiedler
Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:48am
This is an excerpt from a recent Marshall Independent story by Deb Gau. Over the past few months, Heather Westman said, there have been plenty of questions from the community about the solar panels going up behind the Kruse Motors dealerships in Marshall. “It’s been really positive. The biggest question has been whether they belong to the hockey arena, or to the city, or us,” said Westman, dealer at Kruse Buick GMC in Marshall. Although they are in the same neighborhood as the Red Baron Arena and Marshall High School, the two rows of solar panels running behind the dealerships are part of Kruse Motors. Since the beginning of the January, they’ve been helping to generate electricity for Kruse Ford Lincoln and Kruse Buick GMC. The solar panels at Kruse Motors can generate about 236...
2016-2017 GreenCorps Members
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/08/2017 - 10:29am
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is accepting applications from organizations interested in participating as a host site for the 2017-2018 year of the Minnesota GreenCorps program. Applications from eligible organizations interested in hosting Minnesota GreenCorps members are due by 5:00pm on Friday, March 17, 2017. About: Minnesota GreenCorps is an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program coordinated by the MPCA, which places AmeriCorps members with organizations around the state to spend a year of service addressing critical environmental issues, while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills. More Info: Host site application packets, including a detailed guidance document and the application are available on the...
Fritz Ebinger
Wed, 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...
Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive
MN Dept. of Commerce
Thu, 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...
LED holiday lights - More merry and less money
Dan Thiede
Thu, 12/22/2016 - 1:53pm
Are you still stringing the same old incandescent decorative lights for the holidays?   For many Minnesotans, the house, porch, shrubs and trees are donned with holiday lights. Depending on one’s holiday lighting enthusiasm, a home can save between $10 to $250 each holiday season by switching to LED holiday lighting. This is because, according to the Department of Energy, LED holiday lights save up to 90% of the energy used by traditional incandescent holiday lights. LEDs are also safer, sturdier, longer lasting, and easier to install. Fill your stocking with energy savings: For every old holiday lighting string recycled and replaced with more efficient LED holiday lighting, 19 kilowatt-hours of electricity are saved over the course of the holiday season. This is the same amount of energy as a common CFL household light bulb would use if left on for 24 hours a day for 2...
MN Dept. of Commerce
Tue, 11/01/2016 - 1:33pm
There are some basic energy-saving steps we can all take to keep the warm air in and our utility bills down this fall and winter. A few simple no-cost or low-cost measures can make a big difference for the safety, comfort and efficiency of our homes. The Minnesota Commerce Department, which includes the State Energy Office, offers the following tips: Get an energy audit. The first step to energy efficiency is an advanced home energy assessment to diagnose the best ways to save energy. An audit can be arranged through your utility or a nonprofit energy group. Lower your thermostat. When you are at home or awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. When you are asleep or away from home, turn your thermostat down about 10 degrees—either manually or...
Clean Energy Community Awards
MN Dept. of Commerce
Tue, 10/25/2016 - 10:39am
Eight communities are receiving 2016 Minnesota Clean Energy Community Awards from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The program recognizes communities that contribute to the state’s clean energy goals by implementing programs, policies, and technologies that encourage energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy generation. The eight awardees and their clean energy efforts are summarized below.     Achievement Awards City of Hutchinson Clean Energy Generation: Capped Landfill Solar Development In November 2015, the City of Hutchinson completed construction of a 400 kW solar array constructed on a capped landfill. The array is the first of its kind in Minnesota and will be a model for ushering in the solar revolution in Minnesota while minimizing environmental impacts of solar arrays.   City of Minneapolis...
Project North Star in Minnesota receives funding from DOE SunShot Initiative
Dept. of Commerce
Thu, 10/20/2016 - 4:08pm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce has been awarded a $2 million grant that will help realize Minnesota’s goal of generating 10 percent of its electricity from the sun by 2030. The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, is called “Project North Star: Illuminating the Way to PV Integration.” It will combine a stakeholder collaboration process with technical analysis to support Minnesota’s deployment of solar electricity, also known as photovoltaics (PV). “Diversifying Minnesota’s energy portfolio with additional solar electricity will create new economic opportunities for people across our state, while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels that hurt our health and environment,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “I thank the U.S. Department of Energy for providing the grant, and look forward to working with our Minnesota-based...
Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 award program
Dan Thiede
Wed, 10/05/2016 - 2:21pm
Midwest Energy News’ 40 Under 40 award program highlights emerging leaders throughout the region and their work in America’s transition to a clean energy economy. This year’s cohort of Midwest-based leaders and innovators from all sectors—industry, government, regulatory, business, academic, and advocacy—have just been announced. Below we’re highlighting the Minnesota winners, but you can click here to see all of them across the Midwest. Congrats!   Matthew AndersonVice President of Climate, National Audubon Society Matthew Anderson began as the Director of Audubon’s Climate Initiative in 2015. He joined Audubon in 2013 as the Executive Director of Audubon Minnesota. Anderson...
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Fritz Ebinger
Wed, 09/28/2016 - 12:31pm
Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson asks livestock producers to apply for a portion of $2 million in grants available for on-farm improvements. “Livestock Investment Grants help farmers stay competitive and reinvest in their industry. Last year, we had 104 livestock farmers receive grants to improve their operation,” said Frederickson.   What have farmers already done with the grant funding? Jared Franke of Hayfield constructed a new beef barn to increase efficiency and allow the next generation to enter into the family farming operation. Michael Laue of Fairmont constructed a 2,400 head swine facility to increase profitability and allow a young farmer to start farming full time. Matthew and David Hanson of Goodridge expanded and improved current dairy facilities by adding a robotic milking unit and installing equipment to improve...
If your furnace looks like this it may be time for an upgrade
MN Dept. of Commerce
Wed, 09/21/2016 - 8:24am
As another Minnesota winter approaches, homeowners may be looking to replace an old, worn-out or inefficient heating system with a new high-efficiency model. Most furnaces have a useful life of 15-20 years, while most boilers will last 20-30 years. If your furnace or boiler is nearing the end of its expected life, you should start planning your replacement strategy, including what to buy and how to pay for it. If you have made the decision to buy a new heating system, the Minnesota Commerce Department wants you to be aware of some options to help pay for it: Loans: The Lending Center at the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) offers the Home Energy Loan Program for Minnesota homeowners to make energy improvements. It offers secured loans of up to $20,000 (4.99% fixed rate, terms up to 10...
Community solar garden resources
Sarah Hayden Shaw
Tue, 09/20/2016 - 3:36pm
This past spring, thanks to support from the University of Minnesota’s Central Region Sustainable Development Partnership, Central CERT Coordinator Sarah Hayden Shaw had the opportunity to work with Connor Schaefer, a Masters student at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Connor did all sorts of research for CERTs on community solar gardens, and we wanted to take an opportunity to share a compendium of resources that Connor compiled. Enjoy!   Community Solar Garden Resource Guide   There is a wealth of information regarding community solar gardens available from various sources, including many that we at CERTs have helped to create. Thanks to Connor Schaefer’s work, we now have a categorized compilation of resources in Guides & Reports, ...

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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