Wed, 03/19/2014 - 4:26pm
Tesla Motors is building a SuperCharging network that enables long distance driving with an all-electric Tesla Model S. This week the project reached an important milestone-there are now enough stations in place to allow all-American road trips from coast to coast by using these stations to charge your car along the way.
To celebrate this milestone, three members of the Minnesota Plug-in Vehicle Owners’ Circle are going to drive from the Twin Cities to Los Angeles and then along the coast to San Francisco, culminating in a visit to the Tesla Motors factory in Freemont, CA. Lee Bakewell, Jukka Kukkonen and Pavel Zhuravlev left the Twin Cities on Monday February 3rd to head to the open road. It turned out that the weather stayed bitterly cold for the first part of the trip putting the Tesla Model S and the crew to a real test.
We started to plan for this trip in the...
Mon, 03/17/2014 - 6:37pm
The Rural Energy for American Program (REAP) from USDA Rural Development is a funding opportunity for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs for farmers and rural small businesses.
We recently held a webinar to walk participants through through the 2014 USDA Rural Development REAP funding cycle and example project ideas. The webinar recording and PowerPoint slides are available here for you to review.
In the webinar:
Ron Omann, the State Energy & Environmental Coordinator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development reviews key changes to REAP, eligibility to seek funds, filling out the application, and how projects are scored.
Download slides >>
Fritz Ebinger, the Energy Program Manager of The Minnesota Project, a...
Dept. of Commerce
Tue, 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....
Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:20pm
The Clean Energy Resource Teams are excited to announce the projects awarded Seed Grants in each of the seven Minnesota CERTs regions. Most regions awarded $20,000 worth of seed grants, catalyzing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across the state. The funding is provided by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources.
There were 34 seed grants awarded in total, across a broad spectrum of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Many projects also include components of education, outreach and community building, and research. Read on for all of the details! Thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal.
Since 2006, CERTs has awarded $922,500 to more than 223 projects. To learn more about past funded projects, visit our CERTs-Supported Projects page....
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...
Tue, 10/15/2013 - 4:13pm
The Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC) developed a new website with a renewable energy portal on the homepage.
Julie Rath with RADC is excited about the new site and content: “Having the portal right on the homepage will open up opportunities for citizens and businesses to find easier access to the tool they need for their own projects, energy rebates, funding sources, etc.”
Posting of actual stories and the energy portal have helped to increase the awareness of CERTs, the GreenStep Cities Program, and other energy-related programs that communities and residents may not have been aware of. Along with the energy portal, postings on Facebook and Twitter have been highlighting energy projects in Redwood County. This marketing of information will help to spark interest in these initiatives and help to promote energy conservation in southwest Minnesota. “I know the website is...
Mon, 09/30/2013 - 8:00am
For students like Kimberly Colgan, participating in the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) program is a life-changing experience. “YES! has definitely impacted my college and career plans. I am now pursuing a degree in industrial process engineering (looking at processes to reduce waste) and I hope to work in a recycling facility to help improve cost and efficiency so that we can recycle as much as possible,” says Colgan, a YES! student and recent graduate from Apollo High School in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
One of the goals of the YES! program is to increase awareness of career, economic, and entrepreneurial opportunities. YES!, a program partnership between Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) and Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center (PWELC), is a team-oriented youth program that uses hands-on, experiential learning and energy action projects to address energy opportunities and...
Thu, 08/22/2013 - 8:15am
Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, has been looking at all things energy in a series of videos and reports on energy use. He and other reporters have been trying to break down how and where different types of energy are employed in the U.S.
As it stands, renewable energy makes up only about 10 percent of what we use in the United States. But as energy from fossil fuels declines, renewable energy will likely be asked to shoulder more of the load.
Listen to the discussion on MPR’s Daily Circuit among Alexis Madrigal, Kerri Miller, and listeners.
See the post on the MPR website >>
Tue, 08/06/2013 - 1:57pm
A plant once thought of as only a weed is being investigated as a potential biofuel. Camelina, a two-foot tall plant described as “spindly,” packs a mighty punch.
The seeds are 30-32% oil and can withstand temperatures down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. A 24 acre plot is currently being utilized for testing camelina alongside soybeans at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Cambridge, Minnesota.
Get the full story on the Minnesota Public Radio’s website
Mon, 06/24/2013 - 2:35pm
The term “wastewater” may become a misnomer—or at least the “waste” part. The City of Brainerd investigated the possibility of using its wastewater as a resource to produce energy for municipal buildings. With the help of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) of $45,000 to conduct research on the topic of untapped energy in wastewater streams, Brainerd is now at the forefront in this field of renewable energy research.
In 2010, a research partnership between the City of Brainerd, Brainerd Public Utilities, the Brainerd School District and an area firm called Hidden Fuels looked into the potential to heat and cool schools and other public buildings by extracting energy from the wastewater stream.
Hidden Fuels is a renewable energy company providing services and products to efficiently capture and distribute unused energy from waste...