New event:

Xcel Energy’s long-term plan to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2030 and deliver 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050

Friday, March 8, 2019, 9:00 - 11:00 AM

Conference Center, South Central Service Cooperative, 2075 Lookout Drive, North Mankato

Bria Shea, Director of Regulatory and Strategic Analysis for Xcel Energy, will present on Xcel Energy’s long term resource plans and strategy to cut its carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2030 and ultimately deliver 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050. Shea’s presentation will address Xcel Energy’s current resource/power supply mix, how Xcel Energy plans their system for the future, and how individuals can get involved in the process.

For more information, see "Leading the Clean Energy Transition: Our bold vision for 2030 and 2050".

All Southcentral Minnesota Clean Energy Council monthly forums are free and open to the public.

Recent event:

Recent developments in energy and agriculture: How does biodiesel fit in?

Corn and soybeans, so important to the economy, are used for more than animal feed and human consumption. This Southcentral Clean Energy Council forum will address soy as a component of diesel fuel and how it promotes a cleaner environment.

Featured speakers:

  • Mike Youngerberg, Senior Director of Product Development and Commercialization with Minnesota Soybean Growers and Executive Director of the Minnesota Biodiesel Council. In 2018, he received the National Biodiesel Board Impact Award.
  • Kevin Hennessy, Biofuels Specialist, Division of Agricultural Marketing and Development, Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
  • Dr. Gregg Johnson, Agronomist, University of Minnesota, Southern Research and Outreach Center, Waseca.

The South Central Minnesota Clean Energy Council promotes the understanding of renewable energy, energy conservation and energy sustainability.

Previous event:

What to expect on energy issues from the 2019 Minnesota legislative session

Friday, January 11, 2019, 9:00 - 11:00 AM

South Central Service Cooperative, 2075 Lookout Drive, North Mankato


  • Sen. Nick Frentz, Mankato
  • Rep. Jeff Brand, St. Peter
  • Rep. Jack Considine, Mankato

Media coverage:

Previous event:

Financing clean energy projects in southern Minnesota

Friday, December 14, 2018, 9:00 - 11:00 AM

South Central Service Cooperative, 2075 Lookout Drive, North Mankato

Presenter: Peter Lindstrom, Manager, Public Sector & Community Engagement, Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs)

Peter Lindstrom will discuss financing clean energy projects with a particular focus on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). He will highlight how businesses in Southern Minnesota are utilizing this tool to accomplish energy efficiency and renewable projects. He will also discuss how businesses and nonprofits can receive free energy assessments, tools to find the right contractor, and financial incentives to help get the project off the ground.

Peter Lindstrom is the public sector & community engagement manager for the Clean Energy Resource Teams, a statewide partnership with a shared mission to connect individuals and their communities to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. In this role, Peter is responsible for empowering communities to adopt energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and practices.

Peter has 20 years of experience working on public policy, particularly in the science and technology area. He served as an assistant director at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and vice president of public affairs at the Minnesota High Tech Association. He is also Mayor of Falcon Heights.

Previous event:

Friday, December 14, 2018, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

South Central College - Heritage Hall, 1920 Lee Blvd, North Mankato, MN 56003

Southern Minnesota is an emerging leader in renewable energy. Over the past several years, legislative leaders from across the region have connected with business leaders, farmers, and city leaders in Germany to learn how the transition to renewable energy produces a clean energy future and new economic opportunities. They will be joined by Germany's renewable energy point person in the US, Mr. Jens Acker. Mr. Acker is chief counselor for renewable energy and trade at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Lunch will be served at 11:30 am and the program will run from 12:00 – 1:00 pm. Though the event is free, we ask that attendees please RSVP here. This conversation will be of interest to business owners, farmers, energy providers, governmental officials, and anyone else interested in the emergence of renewable energy and new opportunities for regional economic growth and leadership.

Presented by Greater Mankato Growth

Previous event:

Mark Rathbun, Great River Energy

Friday, Nov. 9, 9:15 to 11:15 AM

Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Hubbard Building, 424 North Riverfront Drive, Mankato

In May 2018, Great River Energy adopted a corporate goal to achieve 50 percent renewable energy for its 20 all-requirements member-owner cooperatives by 2030. Great River Energy had already met Minnesota’s 25 percent renewable energy standard in 2017, eight years ahead of the requirement. The goal establishes interim goals of 30 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2025.

Evolving its power supply portfolio by delivering even more renewable energy to its member-owner cooperatives will help them remain competitive in a changing market. Great River Energy has spent more than a decade positioning its portfolio, lowering costs and reducing dependence on coal as a fuel source while improving the overall flexibility of its generation portfolio. These measures have resulted in a 35 percent reduction in Great River Energy’s carbon dioxide emissions since 2005.

Mark Rathbun of Great River Energy will discuss the company's plans to meet the 50% x 2030 goal.

Previous event:

Thursday November 1, 9:30 am to 12:15 pm

Minnesota State University, Mankato, Centennial Student Union Room 245

Join Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) for a free hands-on assistance session for schools and government: “Capturing Savings from Public Building Energy Efficiency: Benchmarking through Financing – Getting your Project Done”

This session is designed to get you up-to-speed on how to use existing tools and resources to plan and implement an energy saving project. In addition to learning about benchmarking, energy assessments, and project financing, we will hear the story of Minnesota State Mankato’s Climate Action Plan. Minnesota State Mankato’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Plan, brought to campus by Facilities Management, is the linchpin of the Climate Action Plan. NOTE: The last hour of the session is geared toward providing you with one-on-one assistance and guidance about how to move forward. Come with your questions and challenges!

There will also be a tour of the University Dining Center to see projects including energy efficiency lighting, daylighting, and composting following the speakers.

The event is free but registration is requested. Registration, full agenda, and slate of speakers can be found at this link:

For information, contact:

Chris Meyer, Southeast CERT Coordinator | 507-454-2691

Previous event:

Joe Sullivan

Rural renewable energy systems in Africa, India and Indonesia

Jim Dontje

Friday, October 12, 9 to 11 AM

South Central Service Cooperative, 2075 Lookout Drive, North Mankato

Jim Dontje is Director of the Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation at Gustavus Adolphus College where he helps guide campus sustainability and renewable energy efforts. His undergraduate degree from Luther College in Decatur, Iowa, was in physics, and his graduate work was at the University of Minnesota in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. He will speak on his recent experience in Africa and India on how those areas are developing decentralized renewable energy systems.

Joe Sullivan is Manager of Strategic Relations for the Center for Energy and Environment. He works with policy makers, regulators, utilities, energy advocates, and other key stakeholders to advance energy efficiency and clean energy in Minnesota. Prior to joining CEE, Joe was the Regional Policy Manager – West for Wind on the Wires (WOW). Before that, he spent six and a half years representing a municipal power agency and greater Minnesota cities as a senior attorney at Flaherty & Hood P.A. in St. Paul, Minn. He will speak on energy changes in Minnesota. Joe Sullivan's presentation: "Minnesota's Electric System in Transition".

Previous event:

Environmental Stewardship in Mankato: Renewable energy, energy efficiency and water quality

Friday, September 14, 9 to 11 AM

South Central Service Cooperative, 2075 Lookout Drive, North Mankato

Presenter: Alison Zelms, Deputy City Manager of Mankato

NOTE: The summary of this presentation is on the City of Mankato website under "Energy Efficiency and Environmental Stewardship in Mankato".

The City of Mankato has made significant investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and water quality in the last ten years. This presentation will focus on the city’s key initiatives, including being an anchor subscriber in a number of solar gardens, partnering with the energy service company Ameresco on a guaranteed energy savings program for city operations, and making energy improvements to the city’s water resource recovery facilities. Ms. Zelms will review the status of energy investment in Mankato and discuss the ongoing challenge of balancing community investments in a way that addresses needs, controls costs and assures the community’s vitality for years to come.

Ms. Zelms is Deputy City Manager of Mankato, serving as the chief of staff and providing leadership and strategic vision in oversight of the day-to-day administration and operations of the city. She supervises the activities of the City Manager’s Office and the city’s Administrative Services Functions. Prior positions in Texas, Illinois and Arizona provided her with a broad range of operational and leadership experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration, Spanish and Latin American studies from Augustana College and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas.

Previous event:

Weatherization: Local programs and Minnesota policies

Friday, August 10, 9 to 11 AM

South Central Service Cooperative, 2075 Lookout Drive, North Mankato

Presenter: Kris Perendy, Minnesota Valley Action Council

Energy efficiency is an important part of meeting our energy needs with renewable sources. Please join us for an update and discussion of Minnesota weatherization programs and Minnesota Valley Action Council's services in Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca, and Watonwan counties. Kris Perendy, Weatherization Coordinator for MVAC, will present at the forum. The program has evolved throughout the years to help clients save energy and stay safe in their homes.

Kris Perendy is the coordinator of the Weatherization Program at Minnesota Valley Action Council and has been a part of MVAC for the past 21 years. During her career, she has worked closely with many programs that are dedicated to helping people stay safe in their home, including the Energy Assistance Program, the Energy Related Repair Program, and Rehabilitation Loans. She has also worked intensively with numerous utility vendors, local HVAC contractors, and electricians by partnering up with them through several Conservation Improvement Programs that help our clients reduce their energy bills and allows them to protect the health and safety of their family members. Helping people, changing lives is an accurate description of the results that have been attained through our energy/housing programs at MVAC.

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Energy Equity in Mankato

Thursday, August 9, 5:30 to 7:00 PM

Shared Spaces, 127 S 2nd St, Mankato, MN 56001

Join the Greater Mankato Diversity Council and Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light for a conversation about environmental justice and local clean energy!

The Just Solar Coalition is working to make sure the benefits of the growing clean energy industry are accessible to everyone. Join us to learn more about the solar revolution, subscribing to a local community solar garden, finding a job in renewable energy, and bringing diversity to the clean energy economy. Ed Owens, Environmental Justice chair of St. Paul NAACP, will join us for a conversation about equity in the clean energy economy. Snacks will be provided. All are welcome!

Just Solar values:

• Access for All – including renters

• Equity in Employment

• Community Ownership

• Protecting Natural Systems

For more information, contact Briana Baker at or 320-905-4442.

Previous event:

Mankato Area EV Charging Strategy Workshop

Monday, June 25, 1 to 3:30 PM

AmericInn Hotel & Conference Center, 240 Stadium Rd., Mankato

Workshop leader: Jukka Kukkonen, PlugIn Connect and Fresh Energy

This workshop is designed to provide real life information about PEVs and charging infrastructure for local stakeholders so they can make better educated decisions on the local charging infrastructure. We will also get the planning process started and you can then continue it locally the way you decide.

Participation is free and open to the public, but requires an RSVP at

This workshop is aimed towards: city personnel, county personnel, the lodging industry, fueling station operators, destination operators (parks, attractions, etc.), parking infrastructure owners/managers, commercial property managers (shopping, office, etc.), apartment building and condominium owners, developers, managers and HOA board members, sustainability managers, electricians, PEV owners and utility companies.

Previous event:

Southcentral Minnesota Clean Energy Council Legislative Forum

Friday, June 8, 9 to 11 AM

South Central Service Cooperative, 2075 Lookout Drive, North Mankato

Come hear area state legislators discuss energy issues and legislation that came out of the recent legislative session. What was accomplished? What wasn't accomplished? What would they like to see going forward?


  • Sen. Rich Draheim
  • Rep. Jack Considine
  • Rep. Jeremy Munson
  • Rep. Clark Johnson

Previous event:

Update on School Sisters of Notre Dame solar energy programs

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bill Ward, Facility Administrator for School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato, will be presenting the latest information on the Sisters' work towards supporting not only their campus in Mankato, but in offering opportunities for solar investment in the greater Mankato region.

Bill Ward has been Facility Administrator for School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato for 26 years. The Sisters' facilities include 660,000 sq. ft. of buildings on 146 acres in Mankato on Good Counsel Hill. For the last eight years, the Sisters have worked to put together a number of solar energy projects that support their commitment to sustainability and care for the earth.

Previous event:

Municipal power agencies and the changing energy landscape

Friday, April 13, 2018

Chris Schoenherr and Marcus Hendrickson of the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency will discuss the challenges facing and the programs of the municipal power agencies in reducing energy use and moving towards clean energy sources.

Chris Schoenherr is the Director of Agency and Government Relations & Chief External Affairs Officer at Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency. He joined SMMPA in January, 2015, with the primary responsibility of developing and managing relationships with members, legislators, legislative leadership, regulators and governmental agency staff. In addition, he oversees communications, human resource functions, demand side management initiatives, and non-operations center computer systems.

Marcus Hendrickson is an Energy Services Representative at Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency. He is responsible for assisting Member utilities with delivery, implementation, and marketing of Demand-Side Management (DSM) Programs of the Agency and its Members. He provides DSM and energy efficiency technical support and assistance to Member utility personnel and their customers to coordinate and promote the high-efficiency residential and commercial DSM programs.

Previous event:

An Insider's Look at the Design and Development of Wind and Tidal Energy

Friday, March 9, 2018

Location: South Central Service Cooperative, 2075 Lookout Dr., North Mankato

Chuck Syverson will present a history of wind power in the U.S. since the middle of the 1970s from his experience in that field. He will also discuss his work on tidal energy in Maine’s Bay of Fundy.

Chuck Syverson has been a design and prototype building consultant on specialty motors and generators for the last 40 years. The bulk of his work since 1980 has been in alternative energy, including wind and tidal power generation and automotive efficiency. His clients have included General Electric, Rockwell International, Ford Motor, Pratt & Whitney, Ecoair and many others.

Chuck is named in approximately 30 patents to date. He earned his B.S.E.E. degree from the University of Minnesota in 1961.

Among several current projects, Chuck is designing a 600 KW direct-drive generator for harvesting energy from the Gulf Stream and tidal flow basins as well working on specialized wheel motors for electric vehicles.

Previous event:

Update on Minnesota State University Mankato Sustainability Plan

Friday, February 9, 2018

Location: South Central Service Cooperative, 2075 Lookout Dr., North Mankato

Dr. Louis Schwartzkopf, Professor of Physics Emeritus, Minnesota State University Mankato, will discuss the University's Sustainability Plan.

Minnesota State Mankato’s carbon footprint has fallen 6.8% over a four-year period, largely because of actions by Facilities Management. The University’s new Dining Center has reduced waste by 92% and is collecting food waste for composting, a result of efforts by the Office of Residence Life. Many other Sustainability Initiatives have been undertaken on campus in the last few years. Sustainability efforts at Minnesota State Mankato are monitored by the Environmental Committee through the framework of the University’s Climate Action Plan.

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Climate Change Adaptation Forum

Friday, January 12, 2018

Location: South Central Service Cooperative, 2075 Lookout Dr., North Mankato

Ashley Aukes will present the Region Nine Development Commission Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Plan, which was put together in 2017.

With support from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Region Nine created the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan to assess south central Minnesota’s vulnerability to climate change and create strategies for adapting to it. Region Nine, working in tandem with a Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, identified eight top sectors to prioritize the planning process: agriculture, water, human health, energy, transportation, forests, ecosystems, and business and economy.