Agenda & Presentations | CERTs 2015 Conference

CERTs2013: Community-Driven Clean Energy
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CERTs 2015 began on Tuesday, March 10 with a full day of informative and timely sessions, generous networking opportunities, and exhibits, ending with an evening reception. The event continued on Wednesday, March 11 with a half day of in-depth clean energy workshops, more networking, and exhibits.

For all speakers who used presentations, their slides are available by clicking on the links below.


Full-Day Conference

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


8:30-10:00AM Registration, Light Breakfast, Networking & Exhibitor Time
10:00-11:00AM Morning Kick-Off & Lightning Talks
We began the conference with six fast-paced lightning talks on a range of projects in MN:

  1. Alicia Wold, CostumeRentals
    Eating Your Energy Elephant: How We Saved 20%

  2. Matt Kazinka, Lake Street Council
    Bring the Savings to Their Doorstep: Small Business Energy Coaching in Minneapolis

  3. Tracy Tebben, New London-Spicer High School
    Building the Solar Active Greenhouse

  4. Christine Sazama, Harmony Food Cooperative
    Harmony’s Solar Awning Project

  5. Jason Edens, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance
    Community Solar for Community Action: A New Model of Energy Assistance

  6. Dan Juhl, Juhl Energy, Inc.
    Local Distributed Energy: A Solar & Wind Hybrid
11:00AM-12:00PM Breakout Sessions
  Solar Incentives & Tools
This session provided an update on the Made-in-Minnesota (MiM) solar rebate, an overview of utility solar incentives, an introduction to the Minnesota Solar Suitability App, and tools for decreasing solar soft costs.
  • Moderator: Lissa Pawlisch, CERTs & UMN RSDP
  • Kim Havey, MN Dept. of Commerce – Presentation
  • Dan Thiede, CERTs & UMN RSDPPresentation
  • Brian Ross, Great Plains Institute – Presentation
  LED Street Lighting
This session introduced attendees to the basics of energy-saving LED street lighting. We learned from local governments and utilities alike who have installed LED street lighting. They included technologies, costs, financing, lessons learned, and more!
  • Moderator: Netty Fiedler, CERTs & Southwest Regional Development Commission
  • Blake Redfield, City of St. Cloud – Presentation
  • Brian Jeremiason, Lyon-Lincoln Electric Cooperative – Presentation
  • Andrea Lauer, City of Royalton – Presentation
  Utility Programs for On-Farm Efficiency
Utilities serving farms across Minnesota gave an overview of their programs, from energy audits and rebates for efficient equipment to tailored technical assistance and beyond.
  • Moderator: Dan Husted, Lake Region Electric Cooperative
  • Shannon Jerabek, McLeod Coop & Fritz Ebinger, The Minnesota Project – Presentation
  • Jon Fabre, Otter Tail Power Company – Presentation
  • Paul Gillis, Dairyland Power – Presentation
  Garnering Community Financial Support for Your Project
Community members can be a vital source of financial support for clean energy projects. This session provided an overview of crowd funding approaches, with case studies from Bonnie’s Grocery in the West Central region, El Norteño Restaurant in the Metro, and Rural Renewable Energy Alliance in Central Minnesota.
  • Moderator: Trevor Drake, CERTs & Great Plains Institute
  • Moderator: Jason Edens, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL)
  • Kathy Draeger, UMN RSDP & Extension – Video & Kickstarter
  • Matt Kazinka, Lake Street Council – Presentation
12:00-1:15PM Lunch, Networking & Exhibitor Time
Lunch was time for attendees to connect with people from across the state working to build a clean energy future.
1:15-2:15PM Breakout Sessions
  EVs & Charging Infrastructure
Electric vehicles are hitting the streets of Minnesota. During this session people learned about current vehicle technology, existing efforts to expand the state’s network of EV charging stations, and utility efforts on EVs.
  • Moderator: Brendan Jordan, Great Plains Institute
  • Lisa Thurstin, American Lung Association in Minnesota – Presentation
  • Matthew Blackler, ZEF Energy – Presentation
  • David Ranallo, Great River Energy – Presentation
  Behavior Change Approaches for Energy Conservation
Have you ever been exasperated by how difficult it can be to motivate people to change behaviors for energy conservation? Prompting behavioral change is not easy! Fortunately, social scientists took the guesswork out of how to influence people to change their habits. This session provided an overview of behavior change strategies, a few community-based project examples, and an opportunity to reflect on and integrate behavior change science into energy work.
  Strategic Opportunities for Solar Thermal & Solar Transpired Air
Heating with solar energy offers excellent opportunities in Minnesota. This session provided an overview of various technologies and applications; costs, benefits, and limitations; and efforts to promote solar thermal strategically across the state.
  • Moderator: Stacy Miller, Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • BJ Allen, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) – Presentation
  • Ralph Jacobson, Innovative Power Systems – Presentation
  • Todd Marron, SolarWall – Conserval Engineering Inc. – Presentation
  • Recommendations for advancing solar thermal – Overview
  Solar Financing Models: Solar Endowments, 3rd Party, & others
Paying for it is often the hardest part of any project, solar energy included. This session provided an overview of challenges and opportunities with conventional private financing, loans, and crowdfunding approaches. We then heard from speakers who dug into innovative loan models, solar endowments, and third-party financing.
  • Moderator: Laura Burrington
  • Jeremy Kalin, Eutectics – Overview
  • Nick Hylla, Midwest Renewable Energy Association – Presentation
  • Jamie Borell, Innovative Power Systems – Presentation
2:15-2:30PM Passing Time
2:30-3:30PM Breakout Sessions
  Community Solar in Minnesota: Projects Across Utility Territories
This session provided an introduction to community solar gardens in Minnesota. We reviewed basic concepts and then heard about existing projects and how they work, including projects from cooperatives and in Xcel Energy territory. We ended with tips about questions potential subscribers should ask.
  • Moderator: Lissa Pawlisch, CERTs & UMN RSDP
  • Stacy Miller, Minnesota Department of Commerce – Presentation
  • Mark Rathbun, Great River Energy – Presentation
  • Thor Bjork, Xcel Energy – Overview
  Strategic Opportunities for Biomass
Are you curious about biomass projects that communities and businesses are using to reduce costs and expand their clean energy options? This session provided an overview of biomass technologies in use in Minnesota, project models, and tools for funding and implementation.
  • Moderator: Joel Haskard, CERTs & UMN RSDP
  • Anna Dirkswager, MN Dept. of Natural Resources – Presentation
  • Chris Waltz, Franklin Energy – Online Tool
  LED Farm Lighting
This session offered an opportunity to hear about and discuss the range of LED lighting technologies for farming, including technologies/applications under study, new products on the market, and tried and true applications that are being combined with delivery approaches for greater adoption.
  Financing Public & Commercial Energy Efficiency Projects with GESP & PACE
This session offered an overview of new financing energy efficiency and clean energy opportunities for cities, counties, schools, and businesses in Minnesota through the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP) and commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). We also dug into program and project eligibility, with time for questions.
  • Moderator: Peter Berger, Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • Moderator: Peter Klein, Saint Paul Port Authority
  • Peter Lindstrom, CERTs & UMN RSDPPresentation
  • Richard Otten, Otten Energies – Presentation
  • Mayor Rita Albrecht, City of Bemidji – Presentation
3:30-3:45PM Passing Time
3:45-5:15PM Regional Sessions on Kickstarting Community-Driven Clean Energy Projects
During these sessions, people identified top project ideas and themes from each region of Minnesota, and helped people with project ideas find the resources they need to move forward. Project ideas from these sessions will help CERTs Regional Steering Committees plan out the next year of meetings, prep for the 2015-2016 Seed Grant Round, and determine how to align CERTs staff resources to address the region’s most pressing clean energy needs.
  Central Region
  Metro Region
  Northeast Region
  Northwest Region
  Southeast Region
  Southwest Region
  West Central Region
5:30-8:00PM Reception at the Kelly Inn
This was the party at the conference! We kicked it off with three lightning talk presentations focused on big clean energy ideas—the kind that give you goosebumps:

  1. Mindy Granley, University of Minnesota Duluth
    $5 Million and Change for Duluth!

  2. Jukka Kukkonen, PlugInConnect, LLC
    Charge, Drive, Have Fun. Repeat.

  3. Michael Noble, Fresh Energy; Russ Henry, Giving Tree Gardens; Marla Spivak & Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota
    The Pollinator Pledge
These presentations sparked great conversation throughout the evening, accompanied by drinks, dinner-worthy appetizers, and live folk music by the Moonlight Duo of Nick Jordan and Mary DuShane.
8:15PM Bus Leaves for Twin Cities

Half Day of Workshops

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


8:00-9:00AM Registration, Light Breakfast, Networking & Exhibitor Time
9:00AM-12:00PM In-Depth Workshops
  Digging in to Community Solar Gardens
Community solar gardens are not a one-size-fits-all sort of effort. There are a number of Solar Garden Operators (and Developers) now working in Minnesota. They work at different scales with different business models, target audiences and missions. Participants got a sense for the range of scales and players working on projects in Minnesota. We discussed how to inform and empower communities about how they can move community solar gardens forward. There was particular interest in exploring these questions: “How do we put the community back in community solar gardens?” and “What does community mean in terms of community solar gardens?”

  • Moderators:
    • Lissa Pawlisch, CERTs & UMN RSDP
    • Laura Burrington
  • Developer Panel:
    • Ken Bradley, SunShare
    • Dustin Denison, MN Community Solar
    • Timothy DenHerder-Thomas, Cooperative Energy Futures – Overview
    • Pete Giese, SunEdison
  • Community Panel:
    • Mary Jo Cristofaro, Northfield Area Community Solar
    • Chris Meyer, Power Up Winona
    • John Dunlop, MN Interfaith Power & Light
    • Jen Hassebroek, City of Oakdale
  Accomplishing GreenStep Cities Energy Best Practices
Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability and quality-of-life goals. This free continuous improvement program, managed by a public-private partnership, is based upon 28 best practices. Many of these best practices are focused on ways that cities can save energy through conservation and efficiency measures, and also produce renewable energy. In this workshop we dove into these best practices, and heard from member cities who have already done the work in their own operations and communities. The workshop also included an award ceremony hosted by the Weidt Group for those cities who have been most successful in saving energy as tracked in the B3 Benchmarking database.
  • Moderator: Beth Mercer-Taylor, UMN Institute on the Environment
  • Chris Swanson, City of Maplewood – Presentation
  • Jason Lindahl, City of Rosemount – Presentation
  • Amir Nadav, Great Plains Institute – Presentation
  Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) Grants
This interactive workshop featured poster presentations from more than a dozen energy professionals about their efficiency research in an array of sectors in Minnesota. All of the presenters received Conservation Applied Research & Development (CARD) grants from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. They provided overviews of their research and work to the full group, and then made themselves available for one-on-one conversations with attendees.

  • Moderator: Jessica Burdette, Minnesota Department of Commerce

  • Corrie Bastian, Center for Energy and Environment
    Reducing the Energy Cost of Effective Ventilation in Multi-Unit Buildings
    Research Poster

  • Russ Landry, Center for Energy and Environment
    Condensing Boiler Optimization in Commercial Buildings
    Research Poster

  • Ben Schoenbauer, Center for Energy and Environment
    Heat Pump Water Heaters
    Research Poster

  • Ben Auchter, Energy Center of Wisconsin
    Adjusting Lighting Levels in Commercial Buildings
    Research Poster

  • Claire Cowan, Energy Center of Wisconsin
    Characterizing Residential High Users
    Research Poster

  • Scott Pigg, Energy Center of Wisconsin
    Quality Install and Maintenance of Residential HVAC Equipment
    Research Poster

  • Todd Berreman, CenterPoint Energy
    Advanced Heat Recovery System Field Deployment
    Research Poster

  • Nancy Kelly, Michaels Energy
    Cost-Effective Recommissioning of Restaurants
    Research Poster

  • Fritz Ebinger, CERTs & The Minnesota Project
    Dairy Cooperative Partnerships for Improved Program Adoption
    Research Poster

  • Martha Carney, Outsourced Innovation
    Improving Energy Efficiency in Controlled Environment Crop Production
    Research Poster

  • Amalia Hicks, Sustainable Engineering Group
    Energy Conservation Potential of Displacement Ventilation in MN Climate
    Research Poster

  • Tom Syring, Franklin Energy
    Minnesota Multifamily Rental Characterization Study
    Research Poster

  • Jon Vanyo, Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP)
    Energy Conservation Potential at Minnesota Data Centers
    Research Poster

  USDA Rural Energy for America Program Funding
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) from USDA Rural Development is a great opportunity for Minnesota farmers and rural businesses to save energy with efficiency work and add renewable energy systems. Grants can cover up to 25% of eligible project costs, and loans can cover up to 75% of eligible project costs. This workshop reviewed changes to the program and offered assistance with preparing applications. The workshop was designed for potential applicants, those assisting potential applicants, and any parties interested in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
12:00-1:30PM Lunch, Networking & Exhibitor Time



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    CERTs Partners:

Minnesota Department of Commerce University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission