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

Erin Smith
West Central CERT Coordinator, UMVRDC
Email, 320-289-1981 ×108

Eden Valley-Watkins High School installs solar panels and inverters

Recent Blog Posts

LED lighting in Lango farms barn
Fritz Ebinger
Mon, 11/23/2015 - 2:15pm
Minnesota is the #1 turkey producing and processing state in the U.S., with 450 family farmers raising approximately 44 million to 46 million turkeys annually. The cost of energy can have a big impact on the cost of food. So as new technologies have emerged that help turkey farmers reduce the use...
Attendees discuss our energy future
Lissa Pawlisch
Tue, 11/17/2015 - 12:39pm
During the month of October, 2015, folks in Mankato, Staples, and Grand Rapids had a chance to share their input on the Minnesota 2025 Energy Action Plan. CERTs hosted these three events (as well as an event in St. Paul) to gather feedback, with attendees participating in small group discussions...
Thank you note from the teacher
Joel Haskard
Sun, 11/08/2015 - 1:49pm
Looking for a CERTs Seed Grant project example that educated students and the greater community about energy efficiency AND reduces costs AND improves the lighting quality? Look no further than the Madison, Marietta, Nassau Elementary School! Madison, Minnesota (pop. 1,551) is located in West...

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, UM West Central Regional Partnership Board & Willmar Utility Commission
  • Eric Buchanan, University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center
  • Kristi Fernholz, Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission
  • Jennifer Frost, Swift County RDA
  • Troy J. Goodnough, University of Minnesota Morris
  • Sonya Gylsen, Master Naturalist
  • Steve Nelson, Environmental Well & Septic
  • 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 and we’re currently accepting applications! 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.

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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