Regional Clean Energy News

Mankato is likely to become the 17th municipality in Minnesota to join an effort to push governments at all levels to address global climate change.…

At the Feb. 14, there [were Southcentral Minnesota Clean Energy Council board members] Sabri Fair, Gary Winters and Louis Schwartzkopf.

“I want to be clear, I’m not asking you to be perfect,” Fair told the council during the meeting’s open forum. “What I’m asking is that you really try. Because what we need is not 10 people doing sustainability perfect. We need everyone in the Mankato community doing it imperfectly.”

Fair … suggested energy efficiency — less wasteful appliances and buildings — could be promoted in the private sector the same way Mankato promotes business development. Not only would that reduce greenhouse gases, it would leave landlords and business owners with lower energy bills that could be passed on in reduced rents and employee salary increases.…

Gary Winters tried to persuade the council the escalating volatility of weather in the United States is a true emergency: “A once-in-500-years storm should happen once every 500 years, right? Fact is, there have been 26 in the last decade.”

And retired Minnesota State University physics professor Louis Schwartzkopf, who helped Mankato and North Mankato do a study of their greenhouse gas emissions in 2008-2009, talked about the impact human-created carbon dioxide has had on storm intensity and climate variability, including worsening droughts. If cities, states and countries work toward emissions reductions year after year, it will make a difference.

“Be persistent,” Schwartzkopf said. “And if we can do that, then we can reduce the worst effects of climate change.”

(The entire article is here.)

Region Nine Development Commission earns SolSmart Silver designation

Region Nine Development Commission, which serves nine counties in south central Minnesota, has earned SolSmart Silver designation. For more on the commission's clean energy programs, go to Region Nine’s solar resource webpage.

Making a Difference: Despite regrets, environmentalist sees need to have convictions

Katy Wortel says provoking ire is part of making change

By Jordan Smith

(NOTE: Katy Wortel is the co-founder of the Region Nine Renewable Energy Task Force, which has become the Southcentral Minnesota Clean Energy Council. She is on the Executive Board of the SMCEC.)

When Katy Wortel thinks about her decades of environmental activism, which include six years as a Blue Earth County commissioner, she initially seems preoccupied with regrets. She knows many people came to dislike her.

Wortel was shocked to win the county board’s District 3 seat in 2002. She ran as an ardent environmentalist who made a modest living farming pumpkins and gourds on Pohl Road, where she and her husband own 12 acres and have lived in a brown brick colonial home for about 40 years.

The county board was neglecting negative outcomes of agricultural land use to soil, water and air quality, she felt. She saw a lack of commitment to being responsible stewards of nature.

(Continued here.)

By Briana Baker

Mankato Free Press, March 31, 2021

There is help out there for your energy bills.

More Minnesotans than ever are having difficulty paying their heating and electricity bills amid the pandemic.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has funds available for Energy Assistance, and the recently approved federal stimulus includes over $100 million for Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program, nearly doubling the previous amount of support.

See the letter here.