6 Predictions For Energy Policy At the 2018 Minnesota Legislature

Sharing some predictions from Energy News Network

  1. Energy storage bridges the partisan divide
  2. The state’s RPS is staying where it’s at, for now anyway
  3. Biomass gets a hearing, but what comes of it is less certain
  4. Volkswagen settlement funds spur EV funding talk
  5. If utilities don’t share their tax savings, lawmakers will make them
  6. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) picks up steam

Get the details!

Mankato solar array to host unique research study

The Mankato Free Press reports…

The piece of land just east of Mankato was prairie for thousands of years. A century and a half ago it was plowed into farmland. Last year it was transformed to a massive solar array.

And this spring, the parcel will become a first-of-its-kind research laboratory — studying ways to make harmonious neighbors of solar arrays, prairie plants and agriculture.

“We certainly are aiming to demonstrate this in practice as well as theory that solar developments can coexist with agriculture in a very effective way,” said Marcus Krembs, director of sustainability for Enel Green Power North America. “… This is a really exciting project.”

Read more.

Renewables are now the No. 2 source of power in MN

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…

Renewable energy has moved into second place as Minnesota’s largest source of electricity generation, nudging out nuclear power but still trailing coal.

Meanwhile, the cost of wind energy in Minnesota — even without tax subsidies — now appears lower than electricity produced from both natural gas and coal.

Both conclusions come from a report released Thursday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which tracks power generation trends nationally. The report was presented at an event in St. Paul hosted by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Clean Energy Economy Minnesota, two industry-led nonprofit groups.

Read more.


Reports show that wind turbines good for crops

Ag Daily reports.

Iowa State University researchers have found that wind turbines located in agricultural fields are a plus for the crops growing around them.

The overall effects on crops growing in wind farms appear to be positive said Gene Takle, Iowa State agronomy professor. He has led a team of plant and soil scientists along with extension specialists who have been looking into the effects since 2009.

They started their work after seeing more wind farms and turbines pop up around the state. The new land use was positive for the landowners where they were located, but the researchers wondered if it was the same for the farmers growing crops.

Read more.

Solar Possible Kick-Off Event: March 14, 2018

Looks like an interesting opportunity…

CERTs is working hard at growing the number of Minnesota schools using clean energy. To that end, CERTs is kicking off “Solar Possible,” a cooperative purchasing effort to facilitate more state agencies, local governments, and schools using solar on their facilities.

Collaborative procurement is an effective approach to reduce barriers, learn together, and drive projects to successful completion. This initial effort will be geared toward jurisdictions in Xcel Energy territory.

What: Solar Possible Kick-Off Event
Where: Falcon Heights City Hall – 2077 Larpenteur Avenue W., Falcon Heights
When: March 14, 2018; 9:00-11:00am
Registration: Register here to attend in person or call 612-626-0555
Webinar Option: Click here to register for the webinar if you can’t attend in person

Attendees will learn more about the opportunity being proposed; how to participate; expected benefits and challenges; and next steps for interested local governments and schools.

So while spring break is upon us in Minnesota and students are getting ready for some time away from the rigors of the classroom, many school officials are studying hard to make their schools ready for clean energy.

Chisago County school drive solar to the area

You never know where a movement is going to begin. Sometimes it starts with a teacher, reading a book and getting inspired. (How can we get inspired in Lac qui Parle?) Read this exceprr from a recent article from MinnPost for more…

In the summer of 2008, Pat Collins was in his tent on a rainy day in the Boundary Waters, reading a book called Earth: The Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming. Collins, a science teacher and baseball coach for the Chisago Lakes School District, had been thinking about ways the district could do its part to be more environmentally conscious.

Maybe it was time, he thought, to actually do something. When Collins got home, he got ahold of his middle school principal, John Menard, and told him, “Hey, we should put up 10 Kilowatts of solar! It’ll cost $100,000.”

Menard’s reaction? “He said, ‘You do realize the economy has just collapsed and you want to do what?’ ” Collins recalled with a laugh.

Collins and Menard talked with their colleagues and students and eventually approached the school board, pitching their plan as a community service project that might also save the district some money. The board approved the proposal – for a 44-solar panel array on the middle school – that winter.

Nearly a decade later, nearly 1,000 solar panels now sit on the roofs of the district’s five schools.

Read more.