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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...
Seven communities won 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards
MN Dept. of Commerce
Tue, 04/03/2018 - 2:15pm
Seven Minnesota communities are recipients of the 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy. The awards were presented March 28, 2018 at the CERTs Community Driven Clean Energy Conference in St. Cloud. This year’s awards honor community-organized clean energy initiatives in the Town of Crystal Bay, City of Edina, Hennepin County, Minnesota State University Mankato, City of Red Wing, City of Warren, and Sustain Winona. These communities are contributing to the state’s clean energy goals with programs, policies and technologies that encourage energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy generation. “Minnesota has ambitious clean energy goals and the objective of our Clean Energy Community Awards is to acknowledge the great work of...
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...
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...
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...
USDA Rural Development Program Summary
Alexis Troschinetz
Tue, 07/19/2016 - 10:24am
USDA Rural Development offers an array of programs to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural Minnesota. A new Program Summary guide offers an overview of all programs—it’s a must-read resource for learning about how your goals and projects could be supported. What exactly does USDA Rural Development do in Minnesota? Offer loans, grants and loan guarantees to support essential services such as housing, economic development, health care, first responder services and equipment, and water, electric and communications infrastructure. Promote economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks, credit unions and community-managed lending pools. Offer technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations. Provide technical assistance to help...
Attendees discuss our energy future
Lissa Pawlisch
Tue, 11/17/2015 - 12:39pm
During the month of October, 2015, folks in Mankato, Staples, and Grand Rapids had a chance to share their input on the Minnesota 2025 Energy Action Plan. CERTs hosted these three events (as well as an event in St. Paul) to gather feedback, with attendees participating in small group discussions on two of these five topics: Energy planning Industry & agriculture Buildings & energy efficiency Mobility, transportation & fuels Energy supply & grid modernization “It was great getting input from such diverse stakeholders across the state,” said Lissa Pawlisch, CERTs Director. “Folks in every region noted the need to scale up energy efficiency in existing buildings, and there was real interest in distributed energy systems with the recent boom in solar, continued growth in wind energy, and opportunities for greater use of biomass.” We want your input, too...
Minnesota GreenStep Cities at the 2015 Awards Breakfast
Philipp Muessig
Mon, 07/06/2015 - 4:39pm
The League of Minnesota Cities recognized 26 member cities and one tribal community at an awards ceremony for completing one of three participation steps in the GreenStep Cities initiative. Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a free and voluntary program designed to help Minnesota cities achieve their environmental sustainability goals through implementation of 28 best practices. There are now a total of 83 cities in Minnesota that have completed one or more participation steps since the program began in 2010. Each of the GreenStep Cities program’s 28 best practice can be implemented by completing one or more specific actions from a list of four to eight actions in the areas of transportation, buildings and lighting, environmental management, land use, and economic and community development. The actions are tailored to all types of Minnesota cities, and they focus on cost savings, energy...
Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota
Fritz Ebinger
Mon, 06/08/2015 - 1:56pm
Farmers and rural small businesses are essential to the fabric of Minnesota—its economy, environment and communities. Helping them reduce costs with energy efficiency and take control of their energy expenses with renewable energy is the focus of a new program, Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota, launching this week with support from USDA Rural Development. There’s demand: “We’re seeing increased demand for information about renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements, and are excited to offer free project assistance to Minnesotans,” shared Fritz Ebinger, Rural Energy Development Program Manager with the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) and University of Minnesota Extension. Project support: For more than ten years, CERTs has been connecting Minnesotans with the resources they need to plan and implement energy efficiency and...
Midwest farm Energy Conference
Joel Haskard
Wed, 03/25/2015 - 3:07pm
The Midwest Farm Energy Conference and Renewable Energy Tour is coming up in Morris, MN on June 17-19, 2015! To learn more we interviewed Michael Reese, Renewable Energy Director at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris. Joel Haskard, CERTs: Tell us a little bit about the Midwest Farm Energy Conference. Mike Reese: The Midwest Farm Energy Conference will showcase renewable energy and energy efficient technologies in a production agriculture setting. In addition to presentations on a wide variety of agriculture energy-related topics, attendees will tour innovative energy systems including solar electric, solar thermal, wind energy, and renewable hydrogen and ammonia production. This is an opportunity to see the systems in use, and learn about some...
USDA Rural Development
Alexis Troschinetz
Wed, 01/07/2015 - 4:28pm
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. The funding has just been opened for 2015, and there is twice as much money available as usual (which may mean you have an even better chance of being funded). There is also a shorter application that can be completed without the help of a grant writer for smaller projects. See details below!   What is REAP all about, and how can I learn more?   The Basics: This year there will be two application windows for the renewable energy or energy efficiency grants: April 30 and June 30 Projects requesting grants of $20,000 ($80,000 total project cost) or...
USDA
Dan Thiede
Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:00am
USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced that USDA is seeking applications from rural small businesses and agricultural producers for funding to make energy efficiency improvements or to install renewable energy systems. “Developing renewable energy presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America,” Landkamer said. “This funding will help rural small business owners, farmers and ranchers incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology into their operations, create jobs and help America become more energy independent. When small rural businesses and farmers cut their energy costs with cleaner and more efficient energy, we are both helping their bottom lines and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that affects our climate.” The funding announced today is being provided through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program...
Hometown BioEnergy facility
Stacey Pederson
Wed, 04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
The Hometown BioEnergy anaerobic digester on the south edge of LeSueur, Minn., is the largest system of its type in the U.S., rated at 8 MW of electrical power from food processing and agricultural waste. Kelsey Dillon’s description of the construction schedule at Hometown BioEnergy LLC as “aggressive” is an understatement. The project broke ground in December 2012, in the midst of a Minnesota winter, and was completed one year later, in the middle of a very cold December. “We had a very aggressive construction schedule. We had to work long hours and weekend schedules to get it done,” the vice president of bioenergy for Avant Energy Inc. explains. “We pushed hard because we qualified for a 1603 grant [under the Recovery Act] and we had to be complete by the end of this year.” The grant isn’t finalized yet, she adds, but the developers hope to receive between $8 million and $9 million...
GESP
Lindsay Wimmer
Fri, 04/04/2014 - 4:41pm
Finance upgrades in public buildings throughout your city utilizing the savings in wastewater treatment plant upgrades! This webinar recording will teach you the basics behind Minnesota’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP). GESP is a state administered technical assistance program to finance upgrades in public buildings through energy performance contracting. More info at http://mncerts.org/gesp About the Local Government Energy Action Series: This effort tells the stories of Minnesota municipalities, counties, and schools and the tangible results of their energy-saving efforts to inspire others to take their own actions. See all stories in this series >>  
USDA
Alexis Troschinetz
Mon, 03/17/2014 - 6:37pm
The Rural Energy for American Program (REAP) from USDA Rural Development is a funding opportunity for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs for farmers and rural small businesses. We recently held a webinar to walk participants through the 2014 USDA Rural Development REAP funding cycle and example project ideas. The webinar recording and PowerPoint slides are available here for you to review.   In the webinar: Ron Omann, the State Energy & Environmental Coordinator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development reviews key changes to REAP, eligibility to seek funds, filling out the application, and how projects are scored. Download slides >> Fritz Ebinger, the Energy Program Manager of The Minnesota Project, a partner of...
Recent reports
Dept. of Commerce
Tue, 02/04/2014 - 2:54pm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) has posted three reports as required by state legislation passed in 2013. The three reports are available as PDFs on the Energy Reports section of the Division of Energy Resources website, or can be accessed using the links below. The three reports, commissioned by DOC, include: Scoping an Energy Future Study for Minnesota – The Scoping an Energy Future Study for Minnesota develops a scope for a study of how Minnesota can achieve a sustainable energy system that does not rely on fossil fuels. The report identifies potential approaches and considerations to assess cross-sector opportunities in electrical, transportation, thermal, industrial, and agricultural sectors....
CERTs Seed Grants
Lissa Pawlisch
Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:20pm
The Clean Energy Resource Teams are excited to announce the projects awarded Seed Grants in each of the seven Minnesota CERTs regions. Most regions awarded $20,000 worth of seed grants, catalyzing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across the state. The funding is provided by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. There were 34 seed grants awarded in total, across a broad spectrum of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Many projects also include components of education, outreach and community building, and research. Read on for all of the details! Thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal. Since 2006, CERTs has awarded $922,500 to more than 223 projects. To learn more about past funded projects, visit our CERTs-Supported Projects page....
Blue Lake Wastewaster Treatment Plant nets hefty CenterPoint rebate for biogas digester project
Joel Haskard
Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:07am
Energy savings were cause for great celebration on July 11th when CenterPoint Energy awarded a sizable check to Metropolitan Council Environmental Services for huge savings at the Blue Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant in Shakopee, Minnesota. CenterPoint Energy presented representatives of the Blue Lake plant with a rebate check for $150,000 for their efforts in energy conservation in the development, building and strategic use of a new anaerobic digestion system. “This project is the first of its kind for CenterPoint Energy’s Custom Rebate program,” said Russ Wagner, key account manager at CenterPoint Energy. “Through the efforts of the engineers and construction personnel at Blue Lake, the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (Met Council), as well as the Minnesota Department of Commerce, this first-of-its-kind project qualified for the large rebate.” CenterPoint Energy has...
Redwood Area Development Corporation Website
Annette Fiedler
Tue, 10/15/2013 - 4:13pm
The Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC) developed a new website with a renewable energy portal on the homepage. Julie Rath with RADC is excited about the new site and content: “Having the portal right on the homepage will open up opportunities for citizens and businesses to find easier access to the tool they need for their own projects, energy rebates, funding sources, etc.” Posting of actual stories and the energy portal have helped to increase the awareness of CERTs, the GreenStep Cities Program, and other energy-related programs that communities and residents may not have been aware of. Along with the energy portal, postings on Facebook and Twitter have been highlighting energy projects in Redwood County. This marketing of information will help to spark interest in these initiatives and help to promote energy conservation in southwest Minnesota. “I know the website is...
Wind turbines near Lake Benton, MN
Dan Thiede
Thu, 08/22/2013 - 8:15am
Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, has been looking at all things energy in a series of videos and reports on energy use. He and other reporters have been trying to break down how and where different types of energy are employed in the U.S. As it stands, renewable energy makes up only about 10 percent of what we use in the United States. But as energy from fossil fuels declines, renewable energy will likely be asked to shoulder more of the load. Listen to the discussion on MPR’s Daily Circuit among Alexis Madrigal, Kerri Miller, and listeners. See the post on the MPR website >>
Funding for clean energy projects
MN Dept. of Commerce
Wed, 05/08/2013 - 10:37am
The following is a sample of new energy-related funding opportunities being promoted by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources.   RFP for Conservation Applied Research and Development Grant Program – Seeks proposals from organizations or individuals interested in applied research and development projects that serve to accelerate the development and adoption of new energy efficient technologies and strategies in Minnesota. The information obtained from this effort is intended to inform electric and natural gas utility Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) development and state energy policy. Eligibility: Individuals, public or private entities actively involved in electricity and natural gas efficiency program implementation or research and development Topic: Conservation...
Solar PV at Squash Blossom Farm in Altura, MN
Joel Haskard
Mon, 04/22/2013 - 11:28am
The US Department of Agriculture announced their Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant application recently. These grants can pay for up to 25% of the eligible costs of a renewable energy project. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of funding and implement your renewable energy and/or energy efficiency projects in the Minnesota. The deadline is now May 31, 2013. What’s available? USDA Rural Development has recently been made aware of access to additional funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) which will increase the 2013 funding from approximately $20 million to $60 million. What are the deadlines? The application deadline for the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Improvement (REEI) and Feasibility Study grants has been extended from April 30, 2013 to May 31, 2013 to facilitate the spending of these additional funds. The application...

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