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CERTs Seed Grants
Lissa Pawlisch
02/01/2018 - 4:55pm
The Clean Energy Resource Teams are excited to announce 39 Seed Grant awards to organizations in our seven regions! Each region awarded around $20,000, catalyzing energy efficiency and renewable energy across the state. CERTs has awarded more than $1 million to over 300 projects since 2006. Continue reading to explore a map of projects and see details about each of the grants. To learn more about past funded projects, visit our CERTs Seed Grants page. Download a PDF with all projects   |   Download a Press Release   |   Share on Facebook and Twitter...
MnTAP helps Altura explore energy-saving opportunities at their wastewater treatment facility
Chris Meyer
01/26/2018 - 10:37am
You may not know this, but wastewater treatment facilities use a huge amount of energy—usually 20-35% of a municipality’s total energy costs, but in many communities the cost can rise to a whopping 60%. Thus, wastewater facilities offer great potential for savings, since the majority are typically neither designed nor operated with energy efficiency as a priority. With recent help of the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Rural Water Association, the City of Altura is on track to save an estimated $4,680 per year—and potentially as much as $14,000 per year—while being assured that the city’s water quality is maintained. Keep reading for their story, and go even further to see highlights from other cities around the state. In 2017 the City of Altura was selected to be part of a project to reduce energy use in Minnesota waste water treatment plants funded by...
Pictured is the 7 MW Buffalo Solar installation
Joel Haskard
01/25/2018 - 9:54am
The Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (MMPA) has committed to purchasing 100 percent of the renewable power output from the Buffalo Solar facility. The 7 Megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar facility, located in the Agency’s member community of Buffalo, Minn., has entered commercial operation and is now providing power to local homes and businesses. Joseph Steffel, Utilities Director for Buffalo Municipal Utilities said, “We are excited to have this renewable power generation asset in our community.” The Buffalo Solar facility, comprised of more than 25,000 solar panels, connects directly to the City of Buffalo’s electric distribution system. Power from the facility will help MMPA meet the Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard, which requires 25 percent of the Agency’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2025. Oncu Er...
Bridgeview Farms in Zumbrota harvesting solar power to reduce energy costs
Fritz Ebinger
01/25/2018 - 7:59am
This blog post is an excerpt of the original story by Tim Krohn at Mankato Free Press. Ellen Anderson, who worked for two decades in state government on renewable energy and is now with the University of Minnesota Energy Transition Lab, said the progress on renewables has been breathtaking. “When we first started talking about this, we were told that renewables would never be more than 1 to 3 percent of total (energy generation),” she said. Today 23 percent of total production is from renewables and the state’s goal is for more than 25 percent in the coming years. Anderson along with Mike Bull, of the Center for Energy and Environment, and Hal Kimball, solar installation specialist with Blue Horizon Energy of...
LoGoPEP logo
Diana McKeown
01/24/2018 - 12:51pm
Metro CERT Director Diana McKeown with the Great Plains Institute took a moment to interview Ellen Anderson, Executive Director of the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, about an important new project to help communities reach and measure progress toward their energy and emissions goals.   What does LoGoPEP stand for, and what is the goal of the project?   Ellen Anderson: Local Government Project for Energy Planning (LoGoPEP). The project builds upon existing efforts to engage local governments in committing to actionable strategies for energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions. LoGoPEP will provide communities with planning tools and actual results to measure progress toward their goals. This project is being developed at the Twin Cities metropolitan regional scale with the goal of future replicability and institutionalization throughout the state...
Map of Xcel Energy’s hosting capacity analysis
Laura Hannah
01/24/2018 - 11:38am
This blog is being re-posted with permission from the original by Laura Hannah at Fresh Energy. It’s here! The highly anticipated second iteration of Xcel Energy’s hosting capacity analysis has been published. The tool provides public transparency into the results of 1,047 feeder models analyzing the ability of the grid to host distributed energy resources (like a community solar garden) without adversely impacting power quality or reliability. This user-friendly tool tells us where new energy systems can be connect to the grid most efficiently. A (much) better mouse trap: This year’s version is accompanied by a map! The image at the top of the post is a snapshot of Xcel’s twin cities service territory. The...
Solar Video Contest
Dan Thiede
01/22/2018 - 10:49am
For the last two years the Clean Energy Resource Teams have hosted a Solar Video Contest at the Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association’s Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference. We’ve been blown away by the creative, powerful, funny, and informative submission we get, and this year was no different! Keep reading to see who won this time around and watch their videos.   First Place Video: “The Generation for Solar” by Edina Project Earth Edina High School’s Project Earth environmental club made this video to show that the next generation supports an increase of solar energy in Minnesota. We know that this is the best choice for our future, and want to promote the benefits of solar energy.   Second Place Video: “Solar Powers Minnesota” by Marley & James   The future isn’t what it used to be. Go...
Viking Company owner Bill Koenig of Albany, MN with a handfull of wood chips that will soon be used to heat one of his broiler chicken barns
Fritz Ebinger
01/16/2018 - 1:17pm
Viking Company of Albany, MN, along with partners Clean Energy Resource Teams and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, are pleased to announce the findings of the Advantages of Wood Heat for Poultry (PDF) field study. The demonstration project field-tested a 1.65 million Btu (British thermal unit) wood chip furnace in a live commercial poultry operation. The wood furnace demonstrated considerable fuel cost savings against historically low liquid propane prices, saving an average of $8,029 per year against liquid propane prices just above $1.00 per gallon. As anticipated, fuel cost savings from using woody biomass were highest in the colder months when thermal demand is greatest. Viking Company observed additional flock production benefits beyond fuel cost savings, including reduced bird losses and improved feed conversion. These...
Keep your home warm and cozy with an energy audit and weatherization work
Dan Thiede
01/12/2018 - 11:25am
It’s official, winter is here. If you have a drafty house, you’ve now had a couple months to be reminded of the comfort issues that come along with poor insulation and air sealing in homes. This roundup of recent stories below offers insight into how some Minnesotans are making their homes more comfortable, safe, and energy-efficient this winter, along with tools for you to follow in their footsteps.   Weatherization is a win-win for Miltona man, Minnesota   Steven Koelln of Spruce Hill Township in Douglas County was especially grateful in December 2016, after his home was weatherized. His house received a complete energy overhaul—a new fuel oil furnace, attic air sealing and insulation, repaired duct work, a new whole house fan, and much more—at no cost to Koelln. “It was probably the best Christmas present I’ve ever received,” said Koelln, a former...
UMN’s new Main Energy Plant helps reduce campus emissions by 50 percent
Joel Haskard
01/11/2018 - 12:41pm
“We’ve pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from operations to zero as fast as possible,” said Shane Stennes, the university’s sustainability director. The University has been exploring renewable energy opportunities to meet their goals. In its 2011 Climate Action Plan, the University set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2020 and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The University of Minnesota is taking a comprehensive approach to meeting their goals with renewable energy. In a recent presentation, Shane Stennes talked about community solar, on-site solar (details below), Renewable*Connect from Xcel Energy,...


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