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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...
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?...
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...
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...
Shanelle Montana with EDF Renewable Energy
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 9:24pm
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 Shanelle Montana, Senior Project Developer with EDF Renewable 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?   Shanelle Montana: I focus on development in the MISO (Midcontinent Independent...
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...
Tina Koecher with Minnesota Power
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 3:55pm
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 Tina Koecher, Manager of Customer Solutions with Minnesota Power, 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?   Tina Koecher: I work for Minnesota Power, an electric utility based in Duluth that is...
Christine Huston with Blattner Energy, Inc.
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 3:34pm
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 Christine Huston, Business Development and Communications Coordinator with Blattner Energy, Inc., 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?   Christine Huston: I work at Blattner Energy, a...
Beth Soholt with Wind on the Wires
Dan Thiede
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 3:15pm
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 Beth Soholt, Executive Director with Wind on the Wires, 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?   Beth Soholt: Wind on the Wires (WOW) works across 9 states including Minnesota. In Minnesota...
CERTs Seed Grants
Lissa Pawlisch
Thu, 02/01/2018 - 4:55pm
The Clean Energy Resource Teams are excited to announce 39 Seed Grant awards to organizations in our seven regions! Each region awarded around $20,000, catalyzing energy efficiency and renewable energy across the state. CERTs has awarded more than $1 million to over 300 projects since 2006. Continue reading to explore a map of projects and see details about each of the grants. To learn more about past funded projects, visit our CERTs Seed Grants page. Download a PDF with all projects   |   Download a Press Release   |   Share on Facebook and Twitter...
UMN’s new Main Energy Plant helps reduce campus emissions by 50 percent
Joel Haskard
Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:41pm
“We’ve pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from operations to zero as fast as possible,” said Shane Stennes, the university’s sustainability director. The University has been exploring renewable energy opportunities to meet their goals. In its 2011 Climate Action Plan, the University set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2020 and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The University of Minnesota is taking a comprehensive approach to meeting their goals with renewable energy. In a recent presentation, Shane Stennes talked about community solar, on-site solar (details below), Renewable*Connect from Xcel Energy,...
Award recipients from the 2016 Clean Energy Community Awards
MN Dept. of Commerce
Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:46pm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce has announced the opening of the application process for the 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards (CECA) to recognize the good work of Minnesota communities in helping achieve the state’s clean energy goals. Commerce is the sponsor and coordinator of the program, with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy. Applications and award information are available, and applications will be accepted until February 12, 2018. The awards will recognize communities that implement planning, programs, policies, and technologies that encourage energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy generation and will be given in two categories, Achievement and Planning. This is the second year the awards have been given, and you can...
Energy-themed pumpkin stencils
Dan Thiede
Tue, 10/31/2017 - 10:17am
As Energy Awareness Month comes to a close, celebrate with these clean energy-themed pumpkin stencils! It’s a fun way to energize your neighborhood and teach your kids about energy efficiency and renewable energy. While you’re at it, you can also avoid cold weather terrors like phantom power and see tips for bundling up your house before winter hits. Or check out our Right Light App to find the perfect LED bulbs to keep you out of the dark… Click here to download the energy-themed pumpkin patterns (created by the U.S. Department of Energy). Have a safe and...
In 2016 there were 57,351 clean energy jobs in MN
Dan Thiede
Thu, 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...
2017 Midwest Farm Energy Conference
Dan Thiede
Tue, 04/04/2017 - 3:25pm
Interest in reducing the energy consumption of livestock has certainly grown, not only from a consumer’s perspective, but also from producers—for both cost-saving and environmental reasons. For example, within swine facilities, electricity is used in two major areas. First, for delivering feed and water, and secondly, for removing heat in the summer and providing heat in winter. This raises the question—are there things producers can do in the summer to lessen the need for electricity and make facilities more efficient? Similarly, are there things producers can do during the winter months to reduce the use of propane? Researchers at the U of MN West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), Morris, have been working to address these challenges by developing optimized and cost-effective energy systems for both swine and dairy production systems. The Midwest Farm...
Credit: Gerry Machen
Frank Jossi
Tue, 04/04/2017 - 10:08am
Later this year the nation’s first “integrated” wind and solar hybrid project will begin producing power outside a small city in northwest Minnesota. Developed by Juhl Energy, Inc., the Red Lake Falls Project combines two 2.3 megawatt (MW) General Electric 116-meter rotor turbines with a 1 MW solar photovoltaic installation. Dan Juhl, the company’s founder, said it will be the first project in the country to use wind integrated solar energy (WiSE) allowing turbines and panels to share a converter, which transforms electrical direct-current voltage for use on the grid. Each turbine is designed to allow 500 kilowatts of solar energy to be processed through the converter, he said. Typically, converters cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Juhl said, so the savings are substantial when deploying a hybrid. “It reduces the capital costs because you don’t have to have duplicates,” he...
Small wind turbine being installed
Joel Haskard
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 3:43pm
Talk Inc. in Sauk Centre, MN focuses it’s business on installing and remanufacturing wind turbines, and also on solar installations. Leading up to the national Small Wind Conference taking place in the Twin Cities on April 10-11, 2017 we thought it would be nice to catch up with Talk Inc. Owner Adam Suelflow to learn more about their wind turbine work. How did you discover remanufacturing wind turbines as a business venture?   Adam Suelflow: I started out installing turbines in Alaska for islands with a massive price for their power. The state of Alaska contacted me because I had grown a reputation for myself that established me as a “say-it-like-it-is” installer. I was upfront with the customers, and gave them the honest facts about buying a wind turbine. As I...
Sophie Lutz
Wed, 01/11/2017 - 3:48pm
St. Olaf College, located in southeast Minnesota, is taking energy matters into their own hands and making the leap toward 100% renewable energy. This great feat has taken commendable initiative in order to completely relinquish dependence on non-renewable electricity sources. According to Pete Sandberg, St. Olaf Assistant Vice President for Facilities, “The role we’re playing in bringing more renewable energy resources online is something we can all be proud of.” Accompanying the wind turbine located on campus, the school of about 3,000 students has allocated acreage of College-owned land toward the implementation of five one-megawatt Community Solar Gardens. This combined with subscriptions to other community solar gardens and Xcel Energy’s Windsource program is all coming together to make the College’s carbon-neutral dream a reality!...
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)
Lise Trudeau
Wed, 08/24/2016 - 10:59am
People are interested in reducing their impact and powering their homes, schools, businesses, and organizations, and local governments with wind and solar energy. One way they can do this is through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits, or RECs, and companies sell them. RECs can be confusing, so we thought we’d pose five key questions you should ask before buying.   1. How can I make sure the RECs are not double counted?   Ask the company whether their RECs are retired in a REC tracking system so that they can’t be used twice. The REC tracking system for Minnesota is the Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (MRETS). See also:...
The sun rises over Hutchinson’s new solar PV project, the largest on a landfill in Minnesota, and the first ballast-mounted on a brownfield. Hutchinson’s wastewater treatment facility, the recipient of the array’s electricity, can be seen in the background
Dan Thiede
Tue, 08/09/2016 - 2:34pm
EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative (RE-Powering) encourages the revitalization and reuse of current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites through the development of renewable energy projects, when such development is aligned with a community’s vision for the site. In this way, communities can expand their energy portfolio, make dormant or under-utilized sites productive, and boost their local economy. To learn more about RE-Powering, CERTs interviewed Adam Klinger, who runs the initiative for the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management. Why should people consider siting renewable energy projects on contaminated lands?   Adam Klinger: Siting renewable energy projects on formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites allows communities to make lands with limited...

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