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

May 2019 Renewable News

5/16/2019 1:33:37 PM

Welcome to Renewable News, where you will find the latest news and information on a wide range of renewable energy topics.

Renewable News

Wind News

U.S. wind report: Minnesota installs 4th most wind during first quarter 2019

The U.S. wind industry installed 841 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity during the first quarter of 2019, and 67 MW of that came from the Stoneray project in Minnesota, according to the U.S. Wind Industry Quarterly Market Report for first quarter 2019. The completion of the Stoneray project in Pipestone and Murray counties accounted for the fourth highest amount of wind energy installed for the quarter, just behind Iowa (536 MW), Michigan (161 MW) and Illinois (76 MW). Minnesota currently ranks seventh in the nation for cumulative installed wind capacity with 3,845 MW. The Stoneray project was developed by EDF Renewables for power purchaser Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency. Wind developed in the United States during the first quarter of 2019 more than doubled the amount installed in first quarter 2018. Read the first quarter wind report (pdf).

Renewable Energy Education

KidWind Challenge sparks local student interest in renewable energy

Sparking students’ passion for renewable energy and engineering is the goal of the KidWind Challenge, a Minnesota-based, nationally recognized renewable energy education competition. After more than 50 students from the metro area competed in the Minnesota Renewable Energy Competition on April 13, KidWind is clearly achieving its goal. Students gathered for the competition at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul. The event was hosted by the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship. Students showcased and tested their performance of handcrafted wind turbines and solar structures, presented their design process to a panel of judges, and demonstrated their extensive knowledge of renewable energy. Read more.

Solar News

Study looks at diversity and inclusion in the solar industry

The U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study 2019 was released May 6 by The Solar Foundation and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). This study takes an in-depth look at the career paths, wages, and experiences of women and people of color in the solar industry. It sets a benchmark for where the industry now stands on diversity and inclusion and what can be improved. The two groups also partnered to release a new diversity and inclusion best practices guide to help companies and organizations within and beyond the solar industry build diversity and inclusion programs.

Clean Energy News & Resources

MPCA offers $3.7 million to replace diesel on-road trucks, transit buses

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is offering $3.7 million in grant funds to replace heavy duty diesel trucks and transit buses (class 4-8) in Minnesota. The grants are aimed to dramatically reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution. Any diesel truck owners, private fleet owners, or nonprofit organizations may apply, with up to 25% or $40,000 (whichever is less) available per replacement. Vehicle eligibility:
 
  • Class 4-8 diesel trucks and transit buses, including short-haul delivery trucks, refuse haulers, cement trucks, box trucks, and drayage trucks (No long-haul trucks or school buses)
  • The old vehicle must be diesel (1992-2009)
  • New replacement vehicles may be diesel or an alternative fuel such as propane, natural gas, hybrid, or electric (not gasoline) 
All application materials and eligibility details are available on the MPCA website: Diesel on-road truck and transit bus replacement grant. Applications are due on July 9, 2019 and must be sent via email.
 

A new guide is available for MN farmers considering large-scale wind or solar

A guide to help Minnesota farmers navigate through legal contracts and other issues stalling large-scale solar and wind installations is now available, as reported in the West Central Tribune. The "Farmers' Guide to Solar and Wind Energy in Minnesota" was developed by the Minnesota Farmers Union and the St. Paul-based Farmers' Legal Action Group as a resource for farmers considering solar and wind installations on their land. The 32-page guide is intended as a starting point for farmers who are considering large-scale solar or wind projects. Farmers, farm advocates, farm attorneys and others are welcome to consult, download, print or share the guide at no cost. Access the guide.

EI awards recognize seven Minnesota innovators

Environmental Initiative will honor seven innovative people and projects that are working collaboratively to build holistic solutions to environmental issues at the annual Environmental Initiative Awards celebration on May 22 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis. The award winners include:
  • Dania Marin-Gavilan, Courageous Innovator Award, presented by Aveda Institute.
  • J. Drake Hamilton, Critical Collaborator Award, presented by Dorsey & Whitney.
  • CU Green Clean Energy Lending Platform, Energy and Climate Award, presented by Stoel Rives.
  • Three Rivers Climate Conversations, Environmental Innovation Award, presented by 3M.
  • Poplar River Management Board, Rural Vitality Award, presented by Houston Engineering.
  • Minnesota State University–Mankato: Energy Savings and Sustainability, Large Employer Sustainability Award, presented by Wenck. 
  • Rural Grocery Stores: Energy and Access, Small Employer Sustainability Award, presented by Barr Engineering.
EIA projection: Renewables to outpace coal for first time this spring

The Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Short-Term Energy Outlook says power from hydro, biomass, wind, solar and geothermal sources will outpace coal in April and May — the first time that's happened since the agency began tracking coal and renewables in 1973. The Outlook, cited in an article by Dennis Warmsted from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, says renewables would generate 2,322 gigawatt-hours a day in April and 2,271 GWh per day this month, compared with 1,997 GWh per day from coal in April and 2,239 GWh per day in May. EIA is slated to firm up its projections in June, when power plants submit responses to a formal federal survey about their electricity production.
 
Brookings Institution report: Clean energy brings 'very attractive' jobs

A new analysis from the Brookings Institution shows that clean energy job opportunities are widespread, with 320 unique occupations being created or expanded as the economy transitions from carbon-based energy supplies to renewables and energy efficiency. Many of these jobs would come with middle- to high-income wages, yet they won't necessarily require college degrees, Brookings found. The jobs would also be widely distributed throughout the economy, and many would allow for tearing down old institutional biases that excluded women and minorities from the workforce. Read more.
 
Tower business is making the most efficient wood furnace

Something innovative is happening inside a cramped 85-year-old creamery in tiny Tower in northeastern Minnesota. The squat, white exterior gives way to a busy manufacturing floor, where a handful of workers are welding together the most efficient—and cleanest—wood furnace that's ever been tested by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to an MPR report. Lamppa Manufacturing is preparing for an expansion, just as the federal government is about to tighten its regulations on the wood heaters it produces. Read more.
 

Conferences and Expos

MREA’s Energy Fair is June 21-23 in Custer, Wis.

Talk about perfect timing. The Energy Fair, the nation’s longest-running event of its kind at 30 years, will take place on June 21-23 in Custer, Wis., and will provide a great setting to celebrate the summer solstice (June 21). The Energy Fair is organized by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and brings together over 10,000 attendees to learn about sustainability and clean energy, connect with others, and take action toward a sustainable future. The event features inspirational keynote speakers; over 200 exhibitors; 200 workshops covering sustainable living topics, energy efficiency, renewable energy and more; and a Clean Transportation Show that features exhibitors, vehicles, and demos. Read more.

ASES National Solar Conference is Aug. 5-9 in Bloomington, Minn.

The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) will hold its 48th annual National Solar Conference on Aug. 5-9 at the Crowne Plaza AiRE in Bloomington, Minn. The conference is unique in its delivery of cutting-edge research, trends, and analysis and provides a venue for the exchange of ideas, information, business insights, and perspectives on progress toward greater sustainability. Participants generally represent a broad base of solar and renewable energy professionals and thought leaders. The conference will feature technical sessions, forum discussions, plenary panels, presentations, public solar displays, and networking events. Early bird registration offers a $100 discount and ends June 15. Read more to register and for details.

2019 Gateway to Solar Conference is Oct. 21-22 in Minneapolis

Save the date! Oct. 21-22 are the dates for the 2019 Gateway to Solar Conference, the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) has announced. The annual conference is Minnesota’s largest industry-led solar trade group conference and will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis. Read more.

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Renewable News is a newsletter that covers a range of renewable energy topics, including innovative initiatives in our state, technological advancements, financial incentives, trainings, and events. If you would like to change preferences for the newsletters you are currently subscribed to or if you want to unsubscribe, please use the links at the bottom of this page.

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