Wed, 06/25/2014 - 10:20am
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) helps farmers evaluate energy saving opportunities and provides financial assistance to help make energy upgrades happen. EQIP requires an audit first (the program pays for most—if not all—of it). After the audit, you can apply for financial assistance for a lighting project or any other recommendations in the audit.
While applications for this program are accepted on a continuous basis, CERTs recently learned about the upcoming application cut-off dates. We wanted to be sure to share with you as soon as we knew about them!
The EQIP application cut-off dates in 2014 are: July 18, August 15. The NRCS reviews all applications received by these cut-off dates in groups (and any submitted by previous cut-off dates in the same year but not funded) following each of these cut-...
Wed, 06/18/2014 - 4:21pm
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has named five in-state bioenergy projects as recipients of NextGen Energy grants. The five projects were selected out of a pool of 35, according to MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson. All projects underwent consideration by a technical team made up of members from five state departments – agriculture, commerce, natural resources, pollution control, and employment and economic development. Projects were scored separately according to NextGen grant guidelines, and all are required at least a 50 percent match from the grantee.
Grant recipients include:
Easy Energy Systems, Welcome, Minn. – $500,000 – The project builds a showplace biofuel production facility capable of testing multiple feedstocks, verifying economic data, and confirming conversion rates in Welcome.
Central Minnesota Renewables LLC, Little Falls, Minn....
Wed, 06/11/2014 - 2:00pm
During our February CERT Conference back in 2013 several regions expressed interest in LED Street Lighting. Since that time interest has only grown and there are many local governments starting to move forward with projects – including a few CERT Seed Grant Recipients.
To help ourselves better respond to questions about LED street lighting we began to sift through recent reports to tease out answers to the most common questions we were hearing. Rather than keep that to ourselves, we decided we’d be better off sharing that information with all of you. Here goes!
The first question we were often asked was, “Is there funding for LED Street Lighting Retrofits?” The short answer is, maybe. The longer answer is that some utilities in Minnesota have LED Street Lighting rebates. Your best bet would be to talk directly with your local utility about what rebates they have to support this sort...
Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:08am
Taking leadership to accelerate private-sector adoption of EVs, Minnesota is the first state nationwide to require its investor-owned utilities to offer a special rate for off-peak (overnight) EV refueling. Signed in to law by Governor Mark Dayton, clean energy advocates, including Minnesota utilities, worked together to create bipartisan and market-driven policy that has the following outcomes:
Beginning in 2015, 1.3 million households will have access to a discounted rate for electric vehicle (EV) refueling.
Also beginning in early 2015, investor-owned utilities will provide customers the option of zero-emissions EV refueling with renewable energy.
State agencies can more easily consider electric fleet vehicles–previous purchasing decisions were not permitted to take into account the lower refueling and maintenance costs typical of EVs.
The policy removes roadblocks to...
Thu, 06/05/2014 - 3:51pm
There is scholarship funding available to participate in the Regional Indicators Initiative – Apply by July 3. Over 20 Minnesota cities currently participate in the Regional Indicators Initiative (RII), and new participants are being accepted. The Regional Indicators Initiative measures annual performance metrics for Minnesota cities interested in increasing efficiency and sustainability. The total cost to collect and report data for 2008 – 2012 data is $3,000 and a limited amount of funding is available to provide competitive matching scholarships to a few communities.
We expect to award scholarships to 3 – 6 cities on a competitive basis. Preference will be given to applicants that meet three or more of the following criteria:
GreenStep Cities participant
Community-wide population under 25,000
Located in Greater Minnesota
Interest in setting community-wide...
Wed, 06/04/2014 - 11:45am
Municipalities and other authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) are facing dramatic increases in rooftop solar permit applications. With this trend expected to continue and spread, streamlining building and electrical permitting processes will become increasingly important to more AHJs.
As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability U.S.A. and IREC present a series of webinars on solar permitting and inspection. The series will review the components of rooftop solar permitting processes, and share best practices and tools for improving them.
These webinars are free, but you must register to attend. The upcoming webinars will be held on June 26 and August 27 from 1:00p-2:00pm CST.
These webinars will be targeted at municipal permit review staff and inspectors, but should be useful to a diverse...
Tue, 06/03/2014 - 11:02am
Story by USDA Rural Development.
Tara Kraft, owner of Colonial Cleaners and Laundromat in Worthington, MN, has replaced all of her “employees” over the last couple of years – over 90 to be exact. See, Tara considers her washers and dryers employees, and she has been upgrading her equipment to more energy efficient models.
Although she doesn’t have to compensate her employees as your average business owner might, the old washers and dryers “ate” a lot – a lot of energy that is. Kraft’s 45 new washers and dryers totaling over $500,000, use less water, natural gas and electricity. As a result, the new units are far more efficient in their work, allowing customers to get their laundry done in less time.
Kraft used a $10,510 REAP grant to assist in the upgrade of some of the dryer units.
“The REAP Program is a great help to small business like ours,” said Kraft. “The savings on...
Thu, 05/22/2014 - 12:01pm
On May 12, 2014, with the publication of the Request for Proposals (RFP) Notice in the State Register, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has officially announced the opening of the Fiscal Years (FY) 2014-2015 Environmental Assistance (EA) Grant Program for applications.
Approximately $1 million is available for EA grant awards to provide financial assistance for researching, developing, or implementing projects and practices related to all aspects of waste management and prevention including hazardous substances, toxic pollutants, and problem materials. Additionally, market development and education grants are also allowed. The MPCA seeks to encourage environmentally-sustainable practices and approaches to pollution prevention and resource conservation. Eligible applicants, grant award amounts and minimum matching fund requirements will vary by Focus Areas and Preferred...
MN Dept. of Commerce
Tue, 05/20/2014 - 2:48pm
Are you on delivered fuels and looking for a way to supplement your winter heating needs? Or perhaps you’re just ready to transition to renewable energy? Solar thermal may be a good fit… and better yet there are rebates to help buy down the cost for those systems. Read on for details!
What’s the rebate? Solar thermal energy is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat). A Made-In-Minnesota Rebate Program is available in Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, Otter Tail Power Company, and Xcel Energy territory for people who install solar thermal systems made by certified solar thermal system manufacturers and installed by a factory authorized solar thermal installer. For the purposes of the Made in Minnesota program, a “Solar Thermal System” means a flat plate or evacuated tube with a fixed orientation that collects the sun’s radiant energy and...
Mon, 05/19/2014 - 1:28pm
There are three separate opportunities currently open through the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources.
Two of them are for Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) projects, and the third is for combined heat and power (CHP) support.
Please look closely at deadlines as some of these RFPs have quick turnarounds. Good luck!
CARD Grant RFP for projects in nine specific topic areas
The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources seeks proposals from organizations or individuals interested in conducting applied research and development projects in nine specific topic areas:
Survey and Analysis of Minnesota Municipal and Cooperative Utility Programs
Statewide Policy Analysis and Evaluation of Low-Income Programs in Minnesota Utility CIP Portfolios
Behavioral Programs Literature Review and Benchmarking Study...