West Central Region


West Central CERT empowers communities and their members to adopt energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy technologies and practices. Join us!

West Central Region Priority Areas:

  • Work with farmers and small rural businesses to educate them about opportunities around energy efficiency and renewable energy projects
  • Help farmers and rural businesses access funding for clean energy projects, including from existing resources like the USDA Renewable Energy for America Program(REAP) and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)
  • Foster closer connections with regional cooperative utilities and municipal utilities to help increase adoption of both energy efficiency and renewable energy
  • Advance community solar gardens in and with communities across the West Central region and work with local cooperatives to reach new subscribers
  • Explore connections between planning and energy, including around specific efforts like prairie restoration

Download a regional factsheet to learn more >>

View larger map

West Central Contact

Kristi Fernholz
Kristi Fernholz
West Central CERT Coordinator, UMVRDC
Email, 320-289-1981 ×106

Eden Valley-Watkins High School installs solar panels and inverters

Recent Blog Posts

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,...
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:...
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,...

West Central Case Studies

Director and Instructor of the Center for Renewable Energy Education & Demonstration, Roger Aiken recently took some time to sit down with CERTs...
NEEDS PDF; TPD: March 18-24 The City of Paynesville sensed for some time that they needed to replace their Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning...
In 2009, the University of Delaware created a model that helps to more effectively provide communities with support and information about...

West Central Steering Committee

  • Bob Bonawitz, UMN SW Regional Sustainable Development Partnership Board
  • Eric Buchanan, UMN West Central Research and Outreach Center
  • David Fluegel, UMN SW Regional Sustainable Development Partnership Director
  • Troy J. Goodnough, University of Minnesota Morris
  • Sonya Gylsen, Master Naturalist
  • Steve Nelson, Environmental Well & Septic
  • Yusef Orest, Agralite Electric Cooperative
  • John Paulson, City of Hutchinson
  • Leroy Petersen, Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission
  • Scott Randall, Solar Energy Professional
  • Bob Ryan, European Energy Connections
  • Connie Schmoll, Kandiyohi County & Willmar Economic Development Commission
  • Dan Tepfer, Kandiyohi Power Cooperative

West Central CERT Operating Procedures

Volunteer & Get Involved

Volunteer & Get Involved
Get involved and make connections with others passionate about clean energy! Learn more.

CERTs Supported Projects

See CERTs-supported projects
CERTs awards Seed Grants to community groups for energy efficiency and clean energy projects. See projects or learn more about grants.

West Central Community Groups

Use our map of local community organizations to connect with a group in your part of the state! Explore map.

Stay Connected

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More Resources for the West Central Region

Strategic Energy Plan: Each regional team spent considerable time mapping regional energy use and identifying clean energy opportunities in its Regional Strategic Energy Plan. Read all the details on the Regional Plans page.

Other Publications:

Minnesotans building a clean energy future


    CERTs Partners:

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