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Minnesota's electric mix getting cleaner and cleaner
Dept. of Commerce
Thu, 12/13/2018 - 10:07am
Minnesota’s clean energy progress is continuing at a strong pace! Overall, renewable energy generated 24.9% of the state’s electricity in 2017 compared to 8.4% in 2007, an increase of about 300% in the past decade, according to the most recent Minnesota Renewable Energy Update from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Wind alone generated 18.2% of Minnesota’s electricity in 2017, and large increases in wind power are expected over the next three years from projects that are already approved and currently under construction or in development. Meanwhile, electricity produced in the state from coal dropped to 39% in 2017 from 59% in 2007. For specific updates on wind and solar and utility plans for expanded renewable energy, read the...
The GE 2.0-116 rotor being lifted in place.
Joel Haskard
Wed, 12/05/2018 - 2:31pm
Juhl Energy, GE Renewable Energy, and Bank of America are partnering for what they call the first commercial, integrated solar-wind hybrid power generation project in the United States, according to articles in North American Windpower and Utility Dive. Minnesota-based Juhl Energy developed the 2 MW, community-based renewable energy project to provide locally generated energy to the Lake Region Electric Cooperative of Pelican Rapids, MN. The project will use one GE 2.0-116 wind turbine, supported by 0.5 MW of PV solar. “The Solar-Wind Hybrid project was supported in-part by the University...
David and Lissa facilitate conversation after the film screening and presentations
Lissa Pawlisch
Mon, 12/03/2018 - 4:43pm
On November 27, over 140 people from the Red River Valley attended a film screening of the new documentary, The Power of Minnesota, that took take place at the Historic Fargo Theatre. Event highlights included a social with appetizers, presentations from local speakers, a screening of the documentary, and a community conversation to explore the Red River Valley’s clean energy developments. Read on to see all of the details!   The Program   The Historic Fargo Theatre was bustling with more than 140 attendees chatting over appetizers before the program started. At 7pm David Ripplinger from North Dakota State University Extension welcomed everyone and, with help from Lissa Pawlisch at the Clean Energy Resource Teams, thanked partners (Prairie Public, City of Moorhead, NDSU Extension, UMN Extension, and CERTs). We...
Swine farmers learn about energy efficiency and solar at CERTs event in Fairmont
Fritz Ebinger
Tue, 11/27/2018 - 1:21pm
Over 35 farmers, utility staff and community members met on the morning of November 15 to learn about methods and technologies to manage energy consumption in swine barns. The event was hosted by Southwest CERT, Great River Energy, and the Minnesota Pork Producers Association. And a huge thank you to the Martin County Pork Producers for the great pork chops at lunch!   Start with Energy Efficiency and Know Where Your Barn Uses Energy   Jill Eide, CEM from Great River Energy kicked off the session explaining Great River Energy and its member cooperatives focus on energy efficiency to keep production costs down. Jill described Great River Energy’s new farm audit program, “Energy Wise for your Farm” which launched this past summer with funding from the...
Minnesota Solar Video Contest
Dan Thiede
Tue, 11/13/2018 - 2:01pm
For the last three years the Clean Energy Resource Teams have hosted a Minnesota 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: “Let’s Go Solar” by Fernando Saldivia and Alan Zheng, Students at Carleton College in Northfield Acceptance speech: “Renewable energy sources are among our most valuable and democratic allies at the moment as we face the challenges of global climate change. It is everybody’s mission to work our way toward a sustainable future. We would like to thank...
Map of Minnesota locations on the National Solar Tour
Bailey Atkinson
Sat, 10/20/2018 - 2:58pm
Billed as “the largest grassroots solar, renewable energy, and sustainable living event in the nation,” the National Solar Tour is a collection of solar open houses and local solar tours around the country on October 6 & 7 in 2018. 725 homes across the country participated in 2018, with 45 participating homes and other sites right here in Minnesota. A CERTs member was able to visit a participating home in Falcon Heights. Roger Aiken gave a tour of the inside and outside of his home and was informative and ecstatic to be introducing household sustainable technology. On the roof, the Aiken’s have 15 solar panels that generate approximately 4.4 kW. “Each panel will produce about a kilowatt per hour,” noted Roger. “Whenever we make any excess, our energy provider buys off that extra energy and we can either pay...
Bill Sanford at Lakeland PBS leading a tour. Photo by Sarah Gazelka
Joel Anastasio
Thu, 10/18/2018 - 4:43pm
Back to back clean energy events at Lakeland PBS on Thursday October 11th featured a tour of solar, geothermal, and energy efficiency projects, a screening of a new MN clean energy documentary, and local speakers.   Geeking out: Touring clean energy projects at Lakeland PBS in Bemidji   An afternoon event featured a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lakeland PBS facility, including their cost-saving solar, geothermal, and energy efficiency projects. Over 40 people from Bemidji and across the region attended the tour, with interests ranging from sustainability to economics, and from technology to community engagement. Bill Sanford, CEO and Director of Engineering at Lakeland PBS, led the tours and elaborated on their energy projects and how others could do the same. “We’re excited to be partnering with...
Chisago County Solar Celebration on October 4, 2018
Dan Thiede
Fri, 10/05/2018 - 4:26pm
On Thursday, October 4, Chisago County took center stage at the Chisago Lakes High School Performing Arts Center in Lindstrom to celebrate the county’s role as the Solar Energy Capital of Minnesota. Solar in Chisago County: The 100MW North Star Solar installation in Chisago County is Minnesota’s largest, and produces enough electricity to power about 20,000 homes. Chisago County is also home to several community solar gardens and installations on area homes and businesses. This event, and The Power of Minnesota film, focused on telling the many stories of the people behind this enormous accomplishment. Event highlights: Michael Noble, Executive Director of Fresh Energy, kicked off the event with a talk about the country’s dramatic shift to a clean energy economy, and the role that Chisago County is playing. He spoke about the drastic price reductions in solar, wind, and battery...
The Power of Minnesota evening in Canby
Lissa Pawlisch
Mon, 10/01/2018 - 4:56pm
On September 18th, over 100 people gathered at the Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Canby for the first official screening of The Power of Minnesota documentary. Pioneer Public Television also unveiled a segment of an upcoming Prairie Sportsman episode that features solar and pollinator habitat (and honey and beer and cider). The Power of Minnesota film is about people, their communities, and their stories about clean energy development around the state. Following the screenings, participants shared conversations with their neighbors about what they learned and what surprised them about the film. For example: people we shocked to learn that there are nearly 60,000 clean energy jobs in Minnesota! They shared their clean energy questions: for example, how do we get more youth engaged in the clean energy industry and careers?...
Hill Vue Farm in Rushford upgrades solar to cover energy needs
Kirsten Zoellner
Wed, 09/26/2018 - 1:02pm
This article was republished from the original by Kirsten Zoellner with the Fillmore County Journal. With the costs related to farming on the rise, Rushford resident and farmer Jon Peterson is always on the lookout for ways to increase efficiencies and maintain sustainability efforts. This May, Peterson and his family installed a 37.5 kilowatt-generating solar array at Hill Vue Farm, their 800-acre organic farm. “This was really the only option we considered,” says Peterson. “I had thought about wind in the past, but decided on solar because of much less maintenance and cost.” The farm currently milks 65 cows, feeding out bull calves and replacement heifers, along with a herd of beef cattle and sheep. Specific energy drains on the farm including milk cooling, vacuum pump, ventilation fans, water heaters...
PACE counties and stories
Peter Lindstrom
Fri, 09/21/2018 - 3:45pm
From the Greenway Office Building in Minneapolis to Timm’s Trucking in Morristown and from AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji to the First National Bank in Saint Paul, businesses are benefitting from solar and efficiency improvements with no up-front costs and streamlined payments through their property tax assessments. Updated map: 63 of Minnesota...
The state of Minnesota recently installed solar panels on the roof of a legislative office building.
Frank Jossi
Fri, 09/14/2018 - 9:57am
This article is reposted from the original by Frank Jossi in Midwest Energy News. Cities, school districts, and government agencies are using a shared contract to streamline the process of procuring solar power. The state of Minnesota and nearly a dozen other government entities will use a collaborative buying approach to build 4 megawatts of on-site solar. Called Solar Possible, the initiative used a master contract and a joint request for proposals to select vendors and gather pricing data. The Minnesota Department of Administration’s Office of Enterprise Sustainability and two partner organizations developed the program. Participating school districts, government agencies and city...
Solar ribbon cutting at the MN Capitol
Peter Lindstrom
Fri, 06/08/2018 - 11:03am
Electricity to the Minnesota Capitol complex is getting greener with the activation of the first phase of a large new solar array on the roof of the Minnesota Senate Building (MSB). The project, overseen by the Minnesota Department of Administration, was formally opened last month with a ribbon-cutting. Partners in the project include Mortenson Construction and Gephardt Electric, who installed the system, and Xcel Energy. “The State of Minnesota is leading by example, working to increase renewable energy at the State Capitol to better protect Minnesotans’ health and our environment,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “Thanks to statewide, bipartisan efforts, Minnesota has already met our goal to generate 25 percent of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2025.” The solar project consists of 414 twenty-one square foot panels that produce 133,000 peak watts of direct current power...
Photos from the 2018 CERTs Conference
Lissa Pawlisch
Fri, 04/06/2018 - 12:54pm
Over 500 Minnesotans attended the seventh statewide CERTs Conference, connecting to build a clean energy future in their communities! March 28-29 were two truly energizing days in St. Cloud, MN for the 2018 CERTs Conference. Communities, organizations, and individuals showed up to figure out how they can get projects done, save money, and be part of Minnesota’s fastest growing jobs sector. See photos from the event:   Conference presentations available for download   The 2018 CERTs Conference featured 80 speakers who shared their experience and expertise. Their presentations are now available so you can see what you...
Seven communities won 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards
MN Dept. of Commerce
Tue, 04/03/2018 - 2:15pm
Seven Minnesota communities are recipients of the 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy. The awards were presented March 28, 2018 at the CERTs Community Driven Clean Energy Conference in St. Cloud. This year’s awards honor community-organized clean energy initiatives in the Town of Crystal Bay, City of Edina, Hennepin County, Minnesota State University Mankato, City of Red Wing, City of Warren, and Sustain Winona. These communities are contributing to the state’s clean energy goals with programs, policies and technologies that encourage energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy generation. “Minnesota has ambitious clean energy goals and the objective of our Clean Energy Community Awards is to acknowledge the great work of...
School solar installation in Minnesota | Photo by IPS Solar
Peter Lindstrom
Wed, 03/07/2018 - 3:17pm
Recent publications point out that clean energy and schools might be the best combination since the first peanut butter and jelly sandwich made it into a school lunchbox! But seriously, utility spending in our nation’s schools is no laughing matter. According to the blog Meeting of the Minds, schools spend over $8 billion annually on energy, more than textbooks and computers combined. Why save energy and go solar?   Schools in Minnesota can get a great understanding of their electrical consumption by first, participating in B3 Benchmarking, an online tool that tracks energy use and provides accurate comparisons to similar facilities. Second, schools can participate in the Department of Commerce’s...
Kate Wolford with The McKnight Foundation
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 9:56pm
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2018, which is Women’s History Month, culminating in a reception at the 2018 CERTs Conference in St. Cloud on March 28th. As part of the series we interviewed Kate Wolford, President of The McKnight Foundation, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Kate Wolford: I serve as president of The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation...
Michelle Gransee with Minnesota Department of Commerce
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 9:46pm
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2018, which is Women’s History Month, culminating in a reception at the 2018 CERTs Conference in St. Cloud on March 28th. As part of the series we interviewed Michelle Joy Gransee, State Energy Office Manager – Clean Energy & Programs at Minnesota Department of Commerce, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Michelle...
Erica Forsman with US Solar Corporation
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 4:43pm
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2018, which is Women’s History Month, culminating in a reception at the 2018 CERTs Conference in St. Cloud on March 28th. As part of the series we interviewed Erica Forsman, Project Developer with United States Solar Corporation, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Erica Forsman: I work as a Project Developer for US Solar, a developer, owner, and...
Anne Hunt with Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s Office
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 4:25pm
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2018, which is Women’s History Month, culminating in a reception at the 2018 CERTs Conference in St. Cloud on March 28th. As part of the series we interviewed Anne Hunt, Former Environmental Policy Director for City of Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Anne Hunt: I was honored twelve years ago to be appointed by...
Gayle Prest with City of Minneapolis
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 4:20pm
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2018, which is Women’s History Month, culminating in a reception at the 2018 CERTs Conference in St. Cloud on March 28th. As part of the series we interviewed Gayle Prest, Former Sustainability Director for the City of Minneapolis, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Gayle Prest: Up until recently I was the...
Tena Monson with Geronimo Energy
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 4:15pm
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2018, which is Women’s History Month, culminating in a reception at the 2018 CERTs Conference in St. Cloud on March 28th. As part of the series we interviewed Tena Monson, Director of Solar Development at Geronimo Energy, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?   Tena Monson: As renewable energy developers, my team identifies locations for...

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