skip to content
Primary navigation
Feature image for


Your source for news and updates related to Department of Commerce agencies and programs.

March 2019 CIP News

3/15/2019 3:06:48 PM


CIP News


CARD Grant Program Update

The purpose of the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) Grant Program is to identify new technologies, strategies, and program approaches that utilities can implement to help achieve the annual state energy conservation goal of 1.5% as established by the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. 

Energy management study yields valuable lessons for CIP in agricultural sector

GDS Associates recently completed a CARD project to investigate the possibility of applying real-time energy consumption data analysis tools available in the energy management platform Power TakeOff (PTO) to identify energy conservation opportunities in agricultural settings. The goal of the project was to combine PTO’s data analysis tools that have been successfully used in commercial settings with modeling tools GDS uses in agricultural settings to develop new methods of quickly identifying conservation opportunities at agricultural sites. The purpose was to help utilities identify savings to meet their Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) goals while engaging a sector historically underrepresented in CIP initiatives. Read more.

Electric Utility Infrastructure  

March 26 webinar to cover results, recommendations of EUI efficiency studies

A webinar will be held on March 26 from 11 a.m. to noon to discuss final results and recommendations from the Electric Utility Infrastructure (EUI) Energy Efficiency Potential Study, as well as findings from the related stakeholder process exploring EUI opportunities and barriers. It will be an excellent opportunity to learn about supply-side efficiency projects that improve the overall generation, transmission, and distribution efficiency of the electric system. Learn more and register for the webinar.

The EUI Efficiency Potential Study was led by GDS Associates (GDS) in partnership with the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), Cadmus, and Demand Side Analytics, and was funded by a grant from the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) program. The study, one of the first of its kind, successfully estimated the statewide potential to increase efficiency by decreasing conversion losses, improving plant operations, and mitigating transmission and distribution losses throughout Minnesota’s electric grid. In tandem with the EUI Potential Study, GDS and CEE led an extensive data-driven stakeholder engagement process, funded through a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant, to clarify EUI regulatory and policy barriers and how EUI efficiency can be better incorporated into utilities’ Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) efforts. 

CIP People    

Garofano leaves CIP team for Minneapolis firm
Mark Garofano, an engineer with the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) team for the past five years, left the team on March 8 to take a position as Mechanical Projects Specialist with Michaud Cooley Erickson in Minneapolis. While with CIP, Garofano led the development of the CIP Technical Reference Manual and reviewed utility custom projects. In Garofano’s absence, direct questions to Anthony Fryer at or call 651-539-1858. 
Clean Energy News

Governor Walz proposes plan to for 100% clean energy in state by 2050
Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan on March 4 announced their One Minnesota Path to Clean Energy—a set of policy proposals that will lead Minnesota to 100% clean energy in the state’s electricity sector by 2050. The policies build on the success that Minnesota has already achieved in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and increasing the use of clean energy resources to power the state while ensuring reliable, affordable electricity. Read more on the governor’s proposal.
Commerce to provide Clean Energy Community Education grants
The Minnesota Department of Commerce State Energy Office (SEO) has developed a Clean Energy Community Education Grant Program to promote clean energy education at the community level. This small grants program is intended to increase participation in educational initiatives that promote the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy, address climate issues, and empower, inspire, and motivate a new generation of energy leaders—of all ages and backgrounds—in communities around Minnesota. The program will award up to 12 grants of up to $2,500 each for a community to showcase its energy education initiative within the Energy Exhibit at the Eco Experience of the 2019 Minnesota State Fair (Aug. 22-Sept. 2). A Request for Proposals (RFP) and required forms for the program are available for download on the Commerce RFP webpage.  Proposals are due April 1, 2019. Read more (pdf) about this grant opportunity.
Zero energy schools sessions set for Green Schools Expo April 8-9 in Saint Paul
Minnesota schools looking to achieve zero energy in the coming years and interested school stakeholders will have an opportunity to learn more from zero energy school case studies and lectures, thanks to the national Green Schools Conference & Expo that will be held April 8-9 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in Saint Paul. The conference will offer two unique zero energy school educational sessions to help a wide variety of school staff, including facility coordinators, administrators, and superintendents, as well as school stakeholders to learn more. For more on these two sessions and the overall conference, visit
Schools can use state technical, financial assistance programs for EE and RE
Many schools in Minnesota are pursuing energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities. To help advance clean energy goals, schools can tap several state resources, including the ones below:
B3 Benchmarking: B3, which stands for Buildings, Benchmarks, and Beyond, puts the power of building energy data in your hands. Using basic building and meter information, the online tool summarizes energy consumption, costs, and carbon emissions in easily digestible monthly and annual reports for Minnesota public buildings. The B3 tools and programs are designed to help make buildings more energy efficient and sustainable. B3 Benchmarking is one of five tools and programs. More information is available online about the B3 tools and programs. Contact or 952-939-1878 for B3 Benchmarking support.
Local Energy Efficiency Program (LEEP): The Local Energy Efficiency Program, led by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, helps local units of government and school districts identify, study, implement, and finance energy efficiency and recommissioning projects. LEEP makes it easy to identify site-specific goals, find high-quality firms to perform an investment grade audit, and gain access to low-interest lease-purchase financing. Participants gain access to Commerce’s technical assistance through each stage of the process, ensuring a comprehensive, cost-effective, quality project.
Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP): The Commerce-led Guaranteed Energy Savings Program is a procurement and financing mechanism that assists state agencies, local units of government, school districts and institutions of higher education with the development, implementation and ongoing measurement & verification of energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects. Participants gain access to technical assistance from Commerce, pre-qualified Energy Services Companies, Master Contract, selection and procurement documents, and GESP staff oversight for each phase of the project that can last up to 25 years. The intent of the program is to maximize job creation and operational cost savings through investment in public facilities. For more information on GESP and LEEP, contact or 651-539-1886 or 1-800-657-3710.
Center for Energy and Environment, U of M earn DOE research grants
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on Jan. 29 announced up to $42 million in project selections to support early-stage research and development (R&D) of innovative residential and commercial building technologies for energy efficiency. The technology developed from these early-stage R&D projects is designed to help consumers and businesses save energy costs and drive domestic economic competitiveness. Two Minnesota institutions—the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) and the University of Minnesota—were among 46 research teams to obtain funding. Read more.
New ACEEE toolkit helps states quantify energy efficiency’s benefits
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently released a new toolkit to help states quantify economic development and job-creation benefits derived from energy efficiency and other clean energy actions. State regulators know efficiency is a big economic driver. U.S. energy efficiency efforts directly support 2.35 million jobs and indirectly, many more, according to an annual report released last week by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI). What’s more, manufacturers of fuel-efficient vehicle parts employ another half million Americans.


CIP News provides the latest news and information on a wide range of Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) topics. Use the links below to update your existing subscription profile, unsubscribe, or sign up as a new subscriber. If you have comments or questions, please contact us at
back to top