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Minnesota Commerce Department awards nearly $2 million in grants for energy conservation

2/16/2016 10:01:21 AM

Projects will identify ways to maximize energy savings in Minnesota

SAINT PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Commerce today announced grants for nine research and development projects that will help Minnesota consumers and businesses save energy, cut utility bills and reduce carbon dioxide pollution.

The grants, totaling $1,982,110, are funded by the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) Grant Program and administered through the statewide Conservation Improvement Program.

“Energy savings pay big dividends, helping Minnesota consumers and businesses save money, grow our economy and achieve our state’s energy and environmental goals,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “These innovative projects will help maximize energy efficiency in commercial buildings, farms, new construction and much more.”

The CARD Grant Program was developed as part of the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007, which established a statewide energy conservation goal of 1.5 percent of annual retail electric and gas sales.  

The nine projects for the 2015 grant cycle were chosen from 45 full proposals in a competitive review process. The selected projects will examine ways to improve efficiency such as identifying opportunities for behavior change with small commercial energy programs, reducing energy use for farms through energy management and improved ventilation, enhancing new construction programs with performance-based procurement and reducing cooling costs in data centers.

For example, the data center project will quantify savings and performance from innovative liquid cooling technologies that have the potential to greatly reduce the high cost of cooling electronic components. These technologies have been applied to larger facilities but have only recently become applicable to smaller and mid-sized data centers, which will be the focus of this study.

The CARD research projects will aid utilities in creating energy-saving programs for consumers and businesses as part of the state’s Conservation Improvement Program, a nationally-recognized energy efficiency initiative that generates at least four dollars in benefits for every dollar invested, according to a recent study (pdf).

More information on the CARD program is available at the Commerce website. Questions can be directed to the Commerce Department Energy Information Center at energy.info@state.mn.us or 651-539-1886 or 800-657-3710 (Greater Minnesota).

The CARD grantees and their projects include:

Franklin Energy Services, LLC
T12 Socket Penetration Study
$81,585

Gas Technology Institute (GTI)
Field Study of an Intelligent, Networked, Retrofittable Water Heat Controller
$281,852

GDS Associates, Inc.
Dairy Farm Precise Ventilation Control Savings
$36,867

GDS Associates, Inc.
Whole-Farm Energy Management Valuation
$203,415

GDS Associates, Inc.
Direct Cooling Retrofit for Server Racks
$108,987

Illume Advising, Inc.
Statewide Commercial Behavior Segmentation and Potential Study
$448,022

Seventhwave, Inc.
Characterizing opportunities for small commercial energy programs
$437,589

Seventhwave, Inc.
Enhancing new construction programs with performance-based procurement and design
$314,904

University of Minnesota - MnTAP
Energy Conservation Opportunity: Industrial Compressed Air Demand Reduction through Air Tool Replacement<
$68,889

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