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Tour participants gathered for a big group photo in front of Detroit Lake’s Community Solar Garden
Maggie Kozak
10/10/2017 - 4:27pm
On October 3rd, over 30 people joined a clean energy tour in Detroit Lakes hosted by Detroit Lakes Public Utilities, Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), and Central Clean Energy Resource Team (Central CERT). Community Solar Ribbon Cutting: Tour participants boarded a charter bus (kindly provided by Missouri River Energy Services!) and set off to see the Ribbon Cutting of Detroit Lakes Public Utilities’ Community Solar installation. Red ribbon and scissors in hand, folks from the Chamber of Commerce, local officials, Detroit Lakes Public Utilities Commission, Senator Kent Eken, and Josh Mason of Detroit Lakes Public Utilities cut the ribbon and made an official welcome. As folks gathered around to learn about the system, Vernell Roberts of Detroit Lakes Public Utilities explained, “We wanted the solar panels to be in a visible spot...
Melissa Birch
Joel Haskard
10/10/2017 - 1:19pm
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with communities in my home area to see how they can use clean energy to improve their lives,” says Melissa Birch, the new Central CERT Coordinator. After growing up in north-central Minnesota, Melissa earned a B.A. in French from Gustavus Adolphus College, then spent several years working as a 5th grade teacher in Mexico, a crewmember in the Minnesota Conservation Corps, and an environmental educator. Then it was off to graduate school for a Master’s degree in International Relations and Environment Policy at Boston University and a PhD from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where she focused on environmental sustainability, economic development, and public engagement in policymaking. During that period, she also worked on numerous clean energy-related projects at sustainable development organizations. “Clean...
Right Light App for energy-efficient LED bulbs
Dan Thiede
10/05/2017 - 11:17am
“All I wanted was a light bulb that would look and feel the same as my old bulb,” said Shaina Brassard, a Minneapolis resident. “When you go to the store you have so many choices now—it can be confusing.” It’s been a few years since new national light bulb efficiency standards took effect, and Brassard and others like her are seeing a lot more energy-saving LED—short for light emitting diode—options on store shelves, and that has made bringing home the right bulb a sometimes annoying process of trial and error. Enter the Right Light App, released today during Energy Awareness Month and Energy Efficiency Day, a free tool available at http://rightlightapp.org that helps people find just the bulb they need. “The app took me step by step through different options, and even made helpful suggestions...
Over 100 people attended the Metro CERT Annual Event
Diana McKeown
09/27/2017 - 4:48pm
If you were not able to make it to the event, please take a moment to share your ideas about Metro CERT priorities for 2018-2019.   The 10th annual Metro CERT event highlights included a keynote from Muhammad Jiwa with MN Interfaith Power & Light titled Clean Energy Lessons from a Mosque, a community panel, polling and networking, Oh my!   Keynote speaker   Muhammad Jiwa is an organizer in the Muslim community with MNIPL, working to end discrimination against Muslims. He is helping Minnesota mosques become some of the greenest in the nation. He talked about Environmental Ancestry Story Circles—environmental wisdom from cultural traditions, not necessarily intentionally environmentally minded, but coming from a place that interacts and connects more deeply with the...
Dan Thiede
09/21/2017 - 12:42pm
Wondering what strategies were particularly effective for CERTs Seed Grant recipients in 2016? Below are the top ten things that come out of their project reflections. Now we can all benefit from them!   1. Grow community support for your project early.   Taking the time to get strong support insured that projects proceeded regardless of funding sources, staffing, and other challenges. Many grantees relied on their strong community relationships to remove barriers necessary to get their projects done. Getting this support also helped them understand the broad range of local interests and needs.   2. Partner up.   Nearly all of the Seed Grant projects included some kind of partnership, giving them access to a wide array of expertise, audiences, funding, volunteers, and other resources. Key stakeholders included local government staff,...
Fond du Lac clean energy tour
Brian Bluhm
09/20/2017 - 4:02pm
On August 9, 2017 NE CERT and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa co-hosted a clean energy tour of both Fond du Lac Band’s Resource Management Division building as well as Black Bear Casino Resort. The tour included a 1MW solar PV installation, LED lighting, a wood pellet biomass system and other clean energy technologies. Joel Haskard, Co-Director for CERTs, noted that the resource management division building was a good example of what can be done to increase sustainability and clean energy. “This building is LEED certified. Here you can see the green roof, the 12KW solar system, solar tubes for lighting, LED lighting, and even motion sensors to power down the vending machines… They also used super-insulated spray foam for the walls and a storm water drainage system that feeds into a small wetlands in back. Impressive stuff!” Bruno Zagar, Environmental Specialist and...
Home Energy Squad truck and worker
Diana McKeown
09/20/2017 - 12:10am
Earlier this summer, Edna Gulbranson’s son came back from Wisconsin with a recommendation: A friend of his had recently had an energy inspection done, and it seemed like a good deal, with his friend’s home having received a host of energy-related upgrades and improvements. Gulbranson explained that her son encouraged her to explore the opportunity at her own abode, a townhome in Lindstrom. “He said he was so impressed with what his friend told him, and he really felt I should check into it. So, it came highly recommended to me, and I was curious—who wouldn’t be curious when you know you could have your house inspected and cut back on energy use?,” Gulbranson said. Soon after her son’s suggestion, Gulbranson placed a call to Xcel Energy, who referred her to representatives from the Center for Energy and the Environment to set up an appointment....
In 2016 there were 57,351 clean energy jobs in MN
Dan Thiede
09/07/2017 - 2:49pm
Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM) today released a new report called Clean Jobs Midwest from Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs that finds that Minnesota now has 57,351 total clean energy jobs. In the last 12 months, Minnesota’s clean energy industry grew by 5.3 percent, adding 2,893 jobs—3.8 times faster than overall job growth in the state. Despite the rapid growth that has already occurred, clean energy technology continues to present a significant opportunity for business and job growth. “This report tells the story of how Minnesota’s rapid transition to cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy is driving job creation all across our state,” said Gregg Mast, executive director of...
Karin Davey
Diana McKeown
09/05/2017 - 11:49pm
Hi, my name is Karin Davey and I am a senior Environmental Studies major at Macalester College. I grew up Mankato, Minnesota, in a family where the natural environment played a key role. Most days of my childhood found me outside covered in mud or snow, and I took regular camping and canoeing trips with my parents. My active interest environmental issues in began with involvement in my high school YES! Club, though it wasn’t until college that I realized our society has a long way to go to environmental sustainability and that I wanted (and needed) to be a part of the growing number of people working towards a healthier planet and greener lifestyle for all. When I’m not studying, I’m usually rehearsing for the next Macalester dance show, curled up reading, or baking chocolate chip cookies. The majority of my study and work so far has been in agriculture, particularly urban farming...
Drive Electric MN in Duluth
Pam Schmitt
09/01/2017 - 4:15pm
More than 150 people recently checked out a 100 percent battery-powered Nissan Leaf at two Whole Foods Co-op stores in Duluth. Minnesota Power, in collaboration with Drive Electric Minnesota, showed off the vehicle at “Kick the Tires” events this summer. “We had so many good conversations!” said Pam Schmitt, customer solutions analyst for Minnesota Power. “Using Drive Electric MN’s Nissan Leaf was a great way for us to connect with folks and answer the endless questions people have about this technology. People are often afraid of what they don’t know, so it was fun to dispel some of the common myths about EVs, but also provide information that can help individuals and families make a decision as to whether an EV is right for them.” Minnesota Power employees were on hand at the events to answer questions...


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