American Farmland Trust wants to better understand farmers' engagement with solar development and opportunities to create better solar programs.

Solar panels on farmland

The new Clean School Bus Program provides five billion dollars over five years to replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models. The EPA is expected to accept rebate applications May 20 through August 2022.

Electric school bus

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is accepting applications for Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grants through August 4, 2022.

all electric terminal tractor

It's been five years since the Midwest's first electric school bus arrived in Minnesota. We reached out to Great River Energy's Jill Eide, commercial industrial and agricultural strategist at the electric cooperative, to learn about the early results from the Lakeville pilot. 

Electric school bus by a ferris wheel

The Department of Commerce will conduct an April 26 webinar on the Solar for Schools 2nd round grant program (outside Xcel Energy territory).

Solar PV

Every year the Environmental Initiative Awards celebrate people and projects working in partnership at the nexus of a healthy environment, a prosperous economy and an equitable society. We are honored to receive the 2022 Energy and Climate award for our work to reduce energy use and costs for manufactured home residents!

2022 Environmental Initiative Awards

After a decade with CERTs, we send best wishes to our Rural Energy Development Program Manager Fritz Ebinger as he embarks on his next professional journey. Learn about the impact and reach of his work, as well as "The Greatest Hits of Fritz." 

 

Fritz Ebinger

The Green Neighbor Challenge is looking for feedback on a new tool that will help residents across the United States find and sign up for green energy. Find out how you can help!

Help the Green Neighbor Challenge grow

The MREA Clean Energy Leadership Award is designed to assist students who are pursuing degrees and/or relevant credentials in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainability, or clean technology. We touched base with MREA Executive Director Nick Hylla to learn more.

Midwest Renewable Energy Association logo

To kick off 2022, CERTs hosted a series of internal EV (electric vehicle) focused webinars. CERTs steering committee members and staff had a chance to hear from local experts on the latest EV facts and trends. Learning opportunities like these mean our statewide team can better support Minnesota communities in their EV journeys. Read on to learn what CERTs staff thought about the series.

 

CERTs logo on an electric vehicle charger

In 2021 CERTs received seed grant proposals from across the state related to electric vehicle (EV) charging. While we were unable to fund all of these projects, we're pleased to share an opportunity for purchasing level II EV chargers at a reduced rate. The offer comes from our friends at ZEF Energy. We sat down with Chris Grunseth, director of commercial sales for ZEF Energy, to learn more!

Electric car plugged into a charging station

Apply now to host a Minnesota GreenCorps member within your organization for the 2022-23 program year. Minnesota GreenCorps is an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program coordinated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Members serve at organizations throughout the state, completing community-focused environmental projects while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills.

greencorps

John Siegenthaler of Appropriate Designs presented details for crafting hydronic systems for modern low energy and net zero buildings at the Energy Design Conference Feb. 22, 2022. He also spoke with NE CERT Regional Coordinator Colby Abazs in an episode of Energetic Talk.

Energetic Talk with Colby Abazs

When people think of net-zero homes, many start thinking of solar panels and battery storage. We spoke with Patrick Huelman an associate professor and cold climate housing coordinator at the University of Minnesota, who makes the case for something more foundational (pun intended). 

Screen grab from timelapse smart wall construction video

In partnership with CERTs, the Metropolitan Council’s pilot Solar-for-Vouchers Program set out in the fall of 2020 to help address the demand for affordable housing and sustainability in the metro, resulting in new housing units for 30 Minnesota families.

Metropolitan Council logo on solar panel

The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) and our partner, the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) at University of Minnesota Extension, are delighted to welcome Emily Haeg Nguyen to our team as our new Sustainability Storyteller.

Emily Haeg Nguyen

It is an energizing and inspiring start to 2022 for communities across Minnesota. CERTs awarded seed grants to 74 innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in communities from Warren to Winona, Morton to Mountain Iron, Long Prairie to Lindstrom. These awards mark the 11th round of CERTs Seed Grants, totaling over $1.6 million to 467 projects since 2006.

seed grants

Greater Minnesota residents with an idea to strengthen their community can now apply for partnership support from the University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.

RSDP Call for project ideas

The Department of Commerce will conduct engagement sessions to share solar for schools grant program structure and requirements, the application process, and to provide technical assistance.

Solar PV

Do you represent and serve communities who have traditionally been underserved or underrepresented in the state-based energy conversation? The Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources is planning to issue three to five awards ranging from $10,000-30,000 to qualified organizations or individuals to develop an equitable process(es) to engage these communities in state-level energy planning, with the goal of establishing long-term trusting relationships. 

Commerce Department logo

Our 2021 Metro CERT Annual Event was online for the safety of all the participants and speakers. The event was in many ways a follow up to the 2020 Annual Event focused on the role of clean energy in the rebuild following the murder of George Floyd. The keynote presentation was by Abe Demmaj and the rebuilding of his business, G & L Furniture. Instead of our traditional Metro CERT “year in review," we asked some of our steering committee members to share work they participated in via lightning talks. The final presentation came from 2020 seed grant recipient Shannon Crabtree, Senior Planner & Community Development Manager with HOURCAR.

Metro CERT team members

CERTs formed a partnership to host the first electric vehicle event in Roseau, MN on September 29, 2021. This event was an opportunity for over 150 attendees to experience electric vehicles firsthand.

Attendees at Northern Exposure

One of my goals when starting my internship with Minneapolis Climate Action was to connect more directly with Minneapolis communities. As a college student living in Saint Paul, it is sometimes difficult to get out of the Macalester bubble, but it is necessary for growth and learning. Actually speaking to your neighbors and the neighborhoods around you is what gets you connected and allows for relationship building.

Minneapolis Climate Action group

Abby joins the Great Plains Institute, working on electric vehicles (EVs) with the Communities team and Metro CERT for an 11-month service term. In this role, Abby will conduct outreach and education encouraging the use of EVs and EV infrastructure in the Metro area and greater Minnesota.

Abby Hornberger

The Clean Energy Resource Teams are delighted to welcome Shaylyn Bernhardt as our new Communications and Engagement Manager! 

Shaylyn will work to advance CERTs’ clean energy mission through timely and relevant storytelling, engagement, and education, providing strategic direction to CERTs’ communications work.

photo of Shaylyn
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