Small Town, Small Homes, Big Savings + EVs!

July 2023


Electric vehicle drivers, take note! There is a new level II charger making your trips in northwest Minnesota that much easier! 

World's largest sugar beet and EV charging station

The sweet city of Halstad (pop. 564) in Northwest Minnesota is located at the intersection of Highway 75 (running north) and highway 200 (running west into North Dakota). With the help of a CERTs Seed Grant, a level II EV charging station is now available! Thanks to ZEF Energy, Halstad Municipal Utilities and local contractors, the station opened at the end of May 2023. 

“This is a local investment that will help alleviate range anxiety and be able to help
support the Minnesota corridors for EV stations,” says Lucas Spaeth with Halstad Municipal Utilities. “Our public charger was used in the first 24 hours of operation,” he noted. 

“We believe this will serve as a growth opportunity for the EV markets and the whole of Norman County. We have fast chargers available in neighboring counties, but this is the first public charger in our Norman county.” -Lucas Spaeth with Halstad Municipal Utilities

Now there are no excuses to not visit the world’s largest Sugar Beet… The charging station is mere feet away from the statute!

Read more below about energy savings happening in Halstad.

Just a few blocks down from the statue of the World’s Largest Sugar Beet (and site of a level 2 electric vehicle charging station in 2023!) sit the Wimmer Homes. Originally built in the 1960s for low-income elderly residents to preserve their independence, these fourteen small but sturdy homes, owned by the city of Halstad (pop. 564), have since been opened up to all renters.

With the help of a recent CERTs seed grant, those homes became more comfortable and energy efficient with additional insulation. 

Lucas Spaeth, superintendent of Halstad Utilities, was able to share an update with CERTs staff, the Grand Forks Herald, and the local radio station KRJB 106.5 about the energy-saving project.  “Insulation was completed in the attic spaces of fourteen units. These single story one-bedroom houses were able to see significant savings in electric heating costs.  Each home was fully filled with insulation to the rafters; twenty plus inches in the center and around six inches near the soffits.”

Residents immediately noticed a difference.

“We heard back in just the first two months from some of our customers that were happy with it. It was less drafty, it was warmer, they don’t want to go back to how it was before.”

Lucas Spaeth, Halstad Utilities superintendent

Clean Energy Focus: Energy efficiency with added blown-in fiberglass insulation in attics of 14 homes

Northwest CERT Seed Grant: $5,000

Other Funds Leveraged: Self-funded

Energy Saved Each Year: 8,065 kWh (575 kWh per home)

Money Saved Each Year: $1,000 ($70 per home)

People Involved and Reached: 31

Besides the electric vehicle charger soon to be installed, Spaeth is looking at the laundry building that serves Wimmer Homes for additional energy savings. “We’re looking into off-peak storage systems, and also maybe heat pumps.” With cost savings and comfort in mind, Spaeth and the city of Halstad keep moving forward with innovative ways to serve their customers and those folks passing through. 

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