Regional Clean Energy News

January 11th, 5:31 PM CST by Alison Durheim, KEYC

(NORTH MANKATO, Minn) - Some Minnesota lawmakers spent their morning in North Mankato discussing proposed policies for all things energy related in the new legislative session; everything from renewable energy to agriculture issues related to energy.

Short–term energy plans for the state and long–term questions for climate change and its effect on Southern Minnesota were hot topics this morning at South Central Cooperative's monthly forum.

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By Tim Krohn, Jan 11, 2019, Mankato Free Press

NORTH MANKATO — Expanding renewable energy has very broad support from the public, but advancing it faces a pushback from groups that would be economically hurt and by a legislative agenda that will be crammed with other important issues, from education to transportation funding and gun legislation.

"There's a lot of people up their clamoring for funding and relief," said state Rep. John Considine, DFL- Mankato. "I'm not hearing a lot about renewable energy (at the Capitol). It's not on the front burner."

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By Tim Krohn, Mankato Free Press, Dec 14, 2018

NORTH MANKATO — Rochester state Sen. David Senjem said he'll never wear a "global warming" shirt and he was highly skeptical when asked to go on a fact-finding trip to Germany to learn about their goal of having 80 percent or more of their energy from renewables by 2050.

"I went there as a very skeptical Republican." The country's goal was unattainable, he thought. And the idea Germany would shutter all of its 17 nuclear plants seemed "silly." But he found they already have closed nine of those nuclear plants and the rest are scheduled for closure.

"It's working and they will meet their goals," Senjem told a group at South Central College Friday that was attending an energy forum sponsored by Greater Mankato Growth and the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment.

"Energy is going to transition whether we think it will or not. Technology and economics will propel it," he said.

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By Tim Krohn, Mankato Free Press, Dec 10, 2018

MANKATO — A renewable energy firm that has built solar farms in the Mankato area in the past is planning to buy more city property to add another array.

The solar farm would be on the north edge of Mankato, along Sakatah Drive, sitting on 19 acres, or about the size of 14 football fields, next to the BMX track.

Ben Adamich, of Geronimo Energy, said they plan to build in 2020. The two parcels they plan to buy are near a larger solar project they did a few years ago in the Sakatah industrial park.

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By Dan Greenwood, Mankato Free Press, Monday, September 3, 2018

MANKATO — A decade ago, solar gardens in Minnesota were mainly owned and used by big businesses. There were few opportunities for residents to use solar energy unless you owned a home and could afford to install solar panels yourself. Renters and people with limited income were largely left out of the equation.

There is a growing movement in southern Minnesota to change that power dynamic.

“All of the community solar development that was going on was being done in the most minimal ways for the lowest impact to a very narrow group of energy users,” said Bruce Konewko, project developer for Minneapolis-based Cooperative Energy Futures. “We have a mission focused goal of democratizing energy.”

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Center for Energy and Environment

Minnesota's 44 distribution cooperative electric utilities and three generation and transmission cooperatives serve more than 2 million people and deliver roughly 20% of the energy we use. Electric co-ops are crucial to the economic development of our rural and urban communities — as a group, they embrace an inspiring range of creative and innovative programs, projects, and services, all driven to meet member needs. And unlike investor-owned utilities that are overseen by state public utilities commissions, cooperatives are regulated by their boards of directors with little state regulatory oversight of their activities.

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Mankato Brewery and Liv Aveda Salon have made energy saving upgrades

Aug 2, 2018

From the St. Peter Herald via Center for Energy and Environment:

Contractors who deal with electricity in homes and businesses and an energy efficiency nonprofit touted the state’s longstanding Conservation Improvement Program for the region’s legislators.

They said it will continue to need tweaks, but they wanted to ensure continued support among those lawmakers.

“This is the most cost-effective energy resource in the state,” said Jamie Fitzke, manager in program and policy for the Center for Energy and Environment. “It costs significantly less to purchase energy efficiency through incentives” than renewable energy.

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By Trey Mewes, Mankato Free Press, Jul 16, 2018

NORTH MANKATO — The North Mankato City Council voted 4-1 Monday night to accept a subscription to a community solar garden program that could save the city $162,000 over the next 25 years.

North Mankato will take the last spot at a newly opened facility near an Xcel substation in Sibley County run by Novel Energy Solutions. The garden is part of a legislatively mandated program for Xcel, which would offer bill credit to North Mankato as a result.

Finance Director Kevin McCann brought the proposal before the council at a public meeting earlier this month. He said the solar garden is the best bet out of similar programs because Novel Energy Solutions offers a guaranteed rebate of 1 cent per kWh.

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Receives national recognition for environmentalism

The Mankato Free Press, Tuesday, May 22, 2018

ST. PETER — Gustavus Adolphus College is one of six colleges nationwide lauded for its environmentalism by the U.S. Department of Education.

Gustavus was named a "Green Ribbon School" by the Education Department for its wide-ranging commitment to environmental education and sustainable practices.

The St. Peter college's well-known Nobel Conference has frequently focused on sustainability themes in the past decade, including energy, water and food in 2007, 2009 and 2010. The next two conferences, which often attract Nobel Laureates as speakers, will be focused on soil and climate change.

NOTE: Jim Dontje, Director of the Johnson Center of Environmental Innovation at Gustavus Adolphus College, is a member of the Executive Board of the Southcentral Minnesota Clean Energy Council and past Chair of the Region Nine Renewable Energy Task Force.

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