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Lieutenant Governor Flanagan to Lead Minnesota Delegation at Renewable Energy Seminar in Germany

7/10/2019 12:26:24 PM

[ST. PAUL] — Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan will lead a delegation of 22 Minnesotans to Germany from July 13-20 where they will attend a renewable energy seminar. Focused on Germany’s transition to a clean economy, the annual Berlin Seminar on Energy Policy is an opportunity for global leaders in government, business, academia, and the nonprofit sector to share information on how to best achieve a renewable energy future. The delegates will tour successful projects in the North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin/Brandenburg regions that demonstrate the benefits of connecting renewable energy generation with other sectors, including buildings, transportation, industry, and agriculture.


“I am honored to lead Minnesota’s delegation to the annual Berlin Seminar on Energy Policy this year,” Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said. “This seminar is an opportunity to learn about how our state can further its commitment to combating the real threat of climate change while creating a prosperous clean energy economy.”


“Achieving a clean economy requires partnership and sustained collaboration among the broadest possible group of stakeholders,” said Dr. Sabine Engel of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. “What Germany shows so impressively – and what makes this delegation experience so valuable for Minnesotans – is that robust solutions are being developed in rural and urban settings by people who think beyond silos, who understand that we’re all bound in this and succeed together. That’s a message that inspires leaders.”


Minnesota has been exchanging best practices in energy and sustainability with Germany since 2011. The annual Berlin Seminar on Energy Policy is part of a larger Regional Economies & Renewable Energy Policy dialogue hosted since 2016 by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment in partnership with Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The initiative builds off a U.S.-Germany energy policy exchange, supported from 2011 through 2015 by the German government’s Transatlantik-Programm der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.


Much of the innovation in Germany today concerns how to connect the electricity sector with the buildings sector (heating/cooling) and the transportation and agriculture sectors. As in previous years, the delegation program includes information on the expansion of renewable energy generation, steps that are being taken to make the system more flexible and resilient, the important role of distribution grids for the entire system, and how Germany prepares for the electrification of transportation. Private sector perspectives will play a big role.


The U.S. delegation, which includes representatives from the Minnesota Farm Bureau and Minnesota Farmers Union, as well as Commissioner Steve Kelley of the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Deputy Commissioner Andrea Vaubel of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will visit sites where the renewable energy future is visible already today, learn about specific policy mechanisms, and meet with practitioners to discuss the effects of those policies and ways for further improvement. Rural communities have been leaders of Germany’s statewide energy transformation and the Minnesota delegation will visit the internationally renowned rural community of Saerbeck (pop. 7,500), an example of rural political leadership, vision, and substantial local economic return and, since 2015, a technical exchange partner on clean energy and sustainability with the City of Morris, Minnesota.


In Berlin, the delegation will be hosted by the German government's coordinator for transatlantic cooperation and Germany’s federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to meet with additional experts and German politicians. A site visit to the renowned research/tech hub EUREF focuses on how Germany's largest public transit operator collaborates with top research institutions and industry. In Duesseldorf, the delegation will meet with leadership at NRW state's Ministry for Economic Affairs and Digitalization and the Ministry for the Environment and Agriculture.


The seminar is hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. All funding for the Berlin Seminar is provided by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Follow-up events planned later this summer and fall in Minnesota will be made possible by funding from the initiative’s Minnesota-based partners, including Ever-Green Energy and Geronimo Energy, along with the University of Minnesota.


2019 Delegation Participants:


Chris Cramer, Vice President for Research, University of Minnesota

Sabine Engel, Director of International Partnerships, Institute on the Environment*

Betsy Engelking, Vice President, Geronimo Energy

Peggy Flanagan, Lieutenant Governor, State of Minnesota * *

Jessica Hellmann, Director, Institute on the Environment

Jamie Becker-Finn, (DFL) District 42B, Asst. Majority Leader, Minnesota House of Representatives

Ryan Hentges, Chief Executive Officer, Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative

Mos Kaveh, Dean, College of Science and Engineering, U of M Twin Cities

Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Commerce, State of Minnesota

Dan Lipschultz, Commissioner and Vice Chair, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission,

Jessica Looman, Executive Director, Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council

Kevin Paap, President, Minnesota Farm Bureau

Ruth Richardson, (DFL) District 52B, Minnesota House of Representatives

Greg Ridderbusch, Chief Executive Officer and President, Connexus Energy

David Senjem, (R) District 25, Minnesota Senate

Sara Severs, Chief of Staff, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Katie Sieben, Commissioner and Chair, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

Ken Smith, Chief Executive Officer and President, Ever-Green Energy

Samantha Vang, (DFL) District 40B, Minnesota House of Representatives

Andrea Vaubel, Deputy Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Gary Wertish, President, Minnesota Farmers Union


* U of M delegation leader

* * State of Minnesota delegation leader

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