Southern Minnesota Municipal Power to get 100 MW of wind power

Read the latest from the MN Commerce Department...

EDF Renewable Energy has signed an agreement to supply Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency with 100 megawatts of wind energy from the Stoneray Wind Project in Minnesota beginning in 2020. Construction is expected to commence in early 2018 with an anticipated commercial operation date of December 2018. Stoneray Wind Project, located in Pipestone and Murray counties in southwestern Minnesota, will be composed of up to 50 wind turbine generators. The project was made possible due to grid transmission expansion. The project is expected to provide 150-plus construction jobs and 10 long-term, full-time positions as well as millions of dollars in ongoing economic benefits to the local area through tax revenue generated by the projects. Read more.

State receives $13 million in additional federal energy assistance funds to help low-income Minnesotans

Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERT) reports…

Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced that Minnesota has received an additional $13 million in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for the state’s Energy Assistance Program.

This second and final installment of funding means that Minnesotans who qualified for energy assistance after money ran out in mid-April and who applied before the May 31 program deadline will now receive assistance to pay their heating bills from the past winter.

Minnesota received $101 million, or the bulk of its federal energy assistance funding, last October. The new federal installment brings the 2016-2017 heating season total to $114 million.

“The heating season is over, but many Minnesotans who were counting on help to pay their heating bills will get the help they need,” said Rothman, whose agency includes the state energy office. “Many Minnesotans struggle to make ends meet year-round, so this energy assistance helps provide important relief.”

To date this year, the state’s Energy Assistance Program served over 126,000 Minnesota households, with the average grant per household at just over $520.

The program helps homeowners and renters who earn less than 50 percent of the state’s median income ($47,194 for a family of four) pay heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors on behalf of customers.

Minnesotans who have difficulty paying their heating bills are encouraged to apply for energy assistance. Households that include children under the age of six, people with disabilities, veterans and seniors are especially encouraged to apply.

The Minnesota Commerce Department administers the Energy Assistance Program in partnership with 30 local service providers throughout the state. The program is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The 2016-2017 application deadline was May 31, so applications received after that date are not eligible to receive benefits for the past program year. However, these applicants may be eligible for the Weatherization Assistance Program or other assistance through county social service programs, community-based organizations and nonprofit agencies.

Minnesotans who inquire about the program after May 31 will also be put on a mailing list to automatically receive an application for the next heating season.

Energy assistance applications for 2017-18 will be accepted beginning on October 1. Funding is administered on a first-come, first-served basis, so Minnesotans are urged to apply as soon as possible after October 1.

Qualifying households must apply for energy assistance through the local service provider in their area. To identify and contact your local service provider; call 800-657-3710 or visit the Energy Assistance Program section of the Minnesota Commerce Department website.

Learn and be inspired – The Yottabyte, Hyperspeed Economy

From BioChannelTV…

This short film explores how industrial biotechnology, genetics, robotics and advanced computing are converging and disrupting the economy. How these technologies and forces relate to each other and to jobs, work, and value-creation. About what the world will look like that new products will be emerging to serve. How they may have catastrophic or sublime outcomes for you, depending on your own market position. Told in a (hopefully) entertaining and non-commercial way.

Four tips for making everyone welcome at work

The SBA recently posted some great advice for people wanting to create and inclusive work environment. Here’s a sneak peek…

  1. Reflect your passion for an inclusive work environment in your core/company values.
  2. Create an internal diversity & inclusion team
  3. Hire an HR professional/consultant that has experience in diversity & inclusion
  4. Host a diversity/inclusion workshop for your employees

5 Mid-Year Tax Planning Strategies

Are you the sort of person who puts of taxes until the day before they are due? Not only are you giving yourself needless heart burn – you may be missing opportunities to save and earn.

The SBA recently released 5 tips to help get you on the right road to business taxes – you just need to plan!

  1. Meet with your tax advisor
  2. Assess your profitability
  3. Expand your R&D
  4. Issue stock
  5. Review your income tax payments

Get the details!

Rules for better business communication…

The US SBA (Small Business Administration) recently posted an article that outlines 6 unwritten rules related to business etiquette

Three for email:

  1. Use professional salutations.
  2. Limit exclamation points, abbreviations and emoticons.
  3. Double-check the subject line and the email recipient.

Three for face to face communication:

  1. Come prepared with talking points.
  2. Silence all electronic devices.
  3. Arrive early.

Read the article for more details.

MN DEED accepting applications for emerging entrepreneurs program

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is offering an exciting opportunity for state nonprofits equipped to issue loans to local businesses owned and operated by historically disadvantaged groups.

The department recently issued a request for applications to participate in the Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Program (MEEP), which provides grant funding for nonprofits “that will use these funds to make loans to Minnesota businesses majority-owned and operated by minorities, low-income persons, women, veterans, and/or persons with disabilities,” according to DEED’s website. Businesses owned and operated by individuals who identify as women may receive funding under the terms of the grant.

Learn more – and please note that MEEP proposals are due by 4 p.m. on September 30, 2016.