Let's get local projects done!

Collaborating on Local Projects: Digging into the Regional Sessions at the CERTs 2013 Conference

The 5th Statewide CERTs Conference – Community-Driven Clean Energy – is coming up on February 20-21, 2013 in Saint Cloud, and more than ever before it will be focused on conversations and action.

You should return home with connections, project ideas, and even collaborators who live and work in your part of the state. The conference will culminate in Regional Sessions that allow you to do just that ( see how they fit into the full agenda ). Because it’s the first time we’ve done something like this, we wanted to fill you in more about exactly what the Regional Sessions hold in store.

What are the goals of the Regional Sessions?

The ultimate goal of the CERTs Conference Regional Sessions is to identify five energy efficiency or renewable energy projects that can be implemented by the next CERTs Conference in February 2015.

Along with identifying the potential projects, we hope to leave the Conference Regional Sessions with a clear idea of attendees’ willingness to work in partnership with CERTs staff and others to realize each project’s goals.

The project ideas are yours to come up with and bring forward. You might already have a group behind an idea that just needs an extra nudge, or you might have an idea that you just know would work, but you need a few more hands to make it happen. Whatever the case, we hope YOU will come ready to share your project idea(s) and recruit others to your clean energy cause.

What sorts of projects do you mean?

In general, CERTs supports clean energy projects—energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects—that are in the public sphere (not policy projects). A few examples of project ideas that might fit include:

  • District geothermal systems for your city’s new multi-family housing development
  • Retrofitting to low-flow faucet aerators at all local hospitals and nursing homes in a county
  • Solar power projects at your local school(s)
  • Competitions between your neighborhood/community and its rival to see who can save the most energy
  • Electric vehicle (EV) plug-in sites at your local library/community center/business park
  • Volunteer event to do no-cost, low-cost energy efficiency improvements at a local senior center
  • Biomass heating systems that source local fuels to lower fuel oil bills at a courthouse or church
  • Local revolving loan fund or Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program to spur local business energy efficiency upgrades

How will the process work?

During the conference, anyone will be able to propose an idea and then work with a small group to refine the idea during the Thursday afternoon session of the conference.

Facilitators will be available in each region’s session to provide guidance on how to develop a seedling of an idea into a potential project for implementation by working through a series of project planning questions.

What will happen after the conference?

We will head back to our communities and work hard on the five identified energy efficiency or renewable energy projects leading and prepare to celebrate their success in February 2015 at the sixth CERTs Conference.

For regions that identify more than five project ideas leaving the conference, Regional Steering Committees will review these projects to prioritize efforts to which they can give the greatest support.

What kind of support from CERTs might my idea receive?

As each Steering Committee looks at how to support each project, CERTs staff time and technical assistance may include the following:

  • Help identifying other resources, champions, and connections to move your project forward
  • Assistance with community/group meetings
  • Support telling your story and promoting your project
  • Connections to potential project funding resources
  • An extra shoulder to the wheel to keep things moving

So, what are you waiting for?

You should register to attend so you can meet people with similar interests and get to work in your community!

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