Previous Events

September forum (via Zoom)

Friday, September 11, 9 to 10 AM, via Zoom

Michael Fuhr and Sachi Graber of the Nature Conservancy presented on the recently completed Clean and Green Pathways for the Global Renewable Energy Buildout report. Topics included planning and procurement, siting and design, incentives for renewable energy on brownfield sites, corporate adoption of renewable energy, and financing renewable energy.

View video. Passcode (if needed): iV8Wj&Xp

August forum (via Zoom)

Featuring Rick Baird, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Mankato

Friday, August 14

Rick Baird, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Mankato, will present on his work as a "water sleuth", tracking and finding water leaks and pollution in the wastewater system. He will also discuss future plans of the city toward reducing energy use, moving towards renewable energy sourcing, and working to provide access to renewable energy for low income households.

You can view it here:

Password: 02$88i9f

July forum (via ZOOM) — Youth Eco Solutions (YES!)

Friday, July 10

The Zoom video recording is here. Password: 9K?Qh585. The actual meeting starts at 1 minute.

Presenters: Deb Groebner, Southern YES! Coordinator, and Mankato West High School YES! Team

YES! is a unique youth program that develops youth leaders while inspiring widespread adoption of renewable energy technologies, waste, and energy conservation best practices, local foods, habitat restorations, and water quality and conservation improvement projects. Deb Groebner, Southern YES! Coordinator, will share about the YES! mission and local teams and Eric Koser and a Mankato West student will share an update on the CERTs Seed Grant awarded to the Mankato West YES! team to update lighting at the school.

Major funding for YES! Youth Eco Solutions was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

March forum

What is SolSmart and how can cities and counties benefit?

Download the presentation here.

Friday, March 13, 9 to 11 AM

Presenter: Brian Ross, AICP, LEED GA — Program Director, Great Plains Institute

SolSmart recognizes cities, counties, and regional organizations for making it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar. A national team of experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities become "open for solar business."

February forum

Rural Energy Issues in Minnesota

Friday, February 14, 9 to 11 AM

Presenter: Erik Hatlestad, Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) and the Local Energy Project

CURE’s Energy Democracy Program is uniquely focused on strategies to impact climate, energy, and environmental justice decisions affecting rural residents. Energy Democracy is about building power to address linkages between environmental challenges, inequities, and other systemic challenges facing our communities.

Referenced in Erik's presentation:

January forum

Friday, January 10, 9 to 11 AM

Sen. Nick Frentz — What's coming up on energy issues in the 2020 Minnesota legislative session

Virginia Rutter, Nokomis Partners — A developer's perspective on how local energy solutions will play a role in the energy transition. Ms. Rutter will discuss Nokomis's take on the opportunities for small and large utilities to capture the benefits of locally sited generation. Her presentation is here.

KEYC news coverage here.

December forum

Friday, December 13, 9 to 11 AM

What's next for energy storage and electric vehicles?

Download Alan Wernke's Presentation

Presenter: Alan Wernke, DataInsights

Alan Wernke is a longtime electric vehicle advocate and Tesla owner. His latest passion and interest is battery technologies.

Professionally, Wernke is an internationally experienced Information Management Technology executive and entrepreneur, with 30+ years of business and technology experience. He specializes in growing businesses, especially in the business intelligence, custom software development, professional services outsourcing and analytics realms.

His vertical experience spans energy (solar and clean tech., retail (Target Stores), software (Microsoft), healthcare (payer, provider and device) and social media (started and sold two Internet companies).

November forum

Friday, November 8, 9 to 11 AM

Consumer energy advocacy: towards affordable clean energy

Presenter: Carmen Carruthers, Outreach Director, Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Minnesota is a nonprofit advocate for Minnesota’s utility consumers. CUB Minnesota advocates for affordable and reliable utility service and clean energy for Minnesota residents and small businesses.

CUB is committed to reducing the costs and environmental impacts of energy for the people of Minnesota by improving public policy, educating consumers about energy options, and offering personalized guidance on how to lower electricity and natural gas bills. Using extensive knowledge of Minnesota regulations and laws, it is dedicated to protecting consumers, supporting the stewardship of our natural resources, and holding utility companies accountable.

October forum

Friday, October 11, 9 to 11 AM

Download Vicki O'Day's presentation

On average, low-income households must spend about a fifth of their total income on energy-related expenses, straining already tight budgets. Since 2000, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) has been providing solar energy assistance to low-income families and communities as a sustainable solution to energy poverty.


Vicki O'Day — Vicki O’Day's early career spanned twenty years in the financial services industry where she helped people invest for their futures then later focused on development of new products and services. She’s an active advocate for advancing the clean energy economy and transforming money consciousness. At RREAL, Vicki is the Development Director, she manages the CS4CA program and works with community development leaders in creating strategies and social impact finance mechanisms to build resilient futures that mitigate energy poverty and combat climate change.

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

September forum

Friday, September 20, 9 to 11 AM

NOTE: This forum is in conjunction with ReCharge Mankato, Saturday, September 21, 10 AM – 1 PM, Meyers Fieldhouse, Minnesota State University, Mankato. It is free and open to the public.

Download Jukka Kukkonen's presentation

Expanding Electric Vehicle (EV) Opportunities in Minnesota


  • Kirk Brown, Recharge America — Recharge America has worked with Mankato community leaders to plan the 2018 and 2019 Recharge Mankato events. Recharge America works to keep energy dollars local by supporting community-based EV promotion and recognition campaigns aimed at capturing for local communities the economic benefits resulting from the rapid adoption of EVs.

  • Jukka Kukkonen, Fresh Energy and PlugInConnectJukka Kukkonen is an automotive engineer by training and worked as a technical trainer and area manager for Ford in Europe. In 2010 he founded PlugInConnect to focus on transportation electrification. Jukka has deep knowledge of the electric vehicle market and he specializes in market dynamics and real-life user perspectives. He has built programs for utility companies, condominium and apartment building charging, workplace charging, DC fast charging, outreach and education and smart grid integration. In 2012 he started the MN EV Owners group, which has become one of the largest and most active regional plug-in vehicle owner groups in the nation.

August forum

Friday, August 9th, 9 to 11 AM

Learn about Seed Grants to Catalyze Community Clean Energy

    • Presenters:

      • Chris Meyer - Southeast CERTs

      • Netty Fiedler - Southwest CERTs

      • Jacob Selseth - West Central CERTs

Click here for Powerpoint presentation

Click here for audio and video recording of Aug 9th forum

Click here for CERTs website

July forum

Friday, July 12, 9 to 11 AM

Update on clean energy in Minnesota

  • Joe Sullivan, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources

Presentation is here

Television coverage is here

Joseph Sullivan is the Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Energy Resources at the Minnesota Department of Commerce. In this role, Joe leads the Division and supervises the Minnesota State Energy Office and the Energy Planning and Advocacy unit.

Prior to coming to Commerce, Joe was the Manager of Legislative and External Affairs for the Center for Energy and Environment where he worked with policy makers, regulators, utilities, energy advocates, and other key stakeholders to advance energy efficiency and clean energy policy in Minnesota.

Plus: An update on the Volkswagen Settlement grants

  • Craig McDonnell, MPCA Assistant Commissioner on Air and Climate Policy

  • Rebecca Place, MPCA Electric Vehicle Program Coordinator

June forum

Recent developments in energy and agriculture (part 2): Ethanol

June 14, 2019

How does ethanol production and use fit in with the energy, economic and environmental goals of southcentral Minnesota?

Featured speakers:

  • Tim Rudnicki, Executive Director, Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association. The presentation is here.

  • Paul Gorman, Agriculture Consultant, ELCEL Solutions; Professor Emeritus, South Central College, Minnesota

Local ethanol in terms of climate and the economy. A presentation to the Southcentral Minnesota Clean Energy Council by Tim Rudnicki of Minnesota Bio-fuels Association on June 14, 2019. See also: Minnesota Bio-fuels Association Resources.

May forum

Designing energy-efficient buildings

The video of this presentation is here. The actual presentation starts about 13 minutes in.

The PDF of the presentation is here.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Presenters: Ben Juhnke of ISG, a Mankato based design and engineering firm operating in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, and Paul Trieu of Sustainable 9, an eco-friendly custom home builder based in the Twin Cities

Ben Juhnke, P.E., is a mechanical engineer focused on central utilities and distribution infrastructure projects. He has experience in combined heat and power, district energy, geothermal, thermal energy storage and hydropower. He works for ISG, a full-service engineering and architecture firm with eight offices across the Upper Midwest and is a 2013 graduate of Iowa State University.

Paul Trieu has worked in product design, commercial HVAC and plumbing consulting, PV solar and homebuilding. He runs Counter Entropy, a holistic design approach consulting group, and works for Sustainable 9, an environmentally conscious residential Design + Build firm in Minneapolis. He received a Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) from Milkwood Permaculture in Australia in 2017 and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University in 2012.

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

April forum cancelled due to weather

March forum

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

March 8, 2019

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".

See also Xcel Energy's Carbon Report.

Bria Shea's presentation is here.

February forum

Recent developments in energy and agriculture (part 1): Biodiesel

February 8, 2019

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.

From a presentation by Mike Youngerberg of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association to the Southcentral Minnesota Clean Energy Council on February 8, 2019.

From a presentation by Dr. Gregg Johnson of the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca to the Southcentral Minnesota Clean Energy Council on February 8, 2019.

From a presentation by Kevin Hennessy, Bioenergy Manager for Agricultural Marketing and Development, to the Southcentral Minnesota Clean Energy Council on February 8, 2019.

January forum

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

Friday, January 11, 2019


  • Sen. Nick Frentz, Mankato

  • Rep. Jeff Brand, St. Peter

  • Rep. Jack Considine, Mankato

Media coverage:

Financing clean energy projects in southern Minnesota

Friday, December 14, 2018

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.

What Minnesota Can Learn From Germany on Energy Policy - Free Luncheon Forum

Friday, December 14, 2018

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.

Presented by Greater Mankato Growth

Great River Energy’s 50% x 2030 Renewable Energy Goal

Mark Rathbun, Great River Energy

The fact sheet is here.

Friday, Nov. 9, 2018

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.

Minnesota's Electric System in Transition

Joe Sullivan

Rural renewable energy systems in Africa, India and Indonesia

Jim Dontje

Friday, October 12, 2018

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".

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

Friday, September 14, 2018

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.