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Energy Futures: Conversations on Where We’re Headed

Energy Futures: Conversations on Where We’re Headed

By Clean Energy Resource Teams
There are many people putting forward compelling ideas and visions for the future, and we here at the Clean Energy Resource Teams in Minnesota have been craving a little time to step back and consider these fresh perspectives and how they can contribute to the clean energy future we’re building together.
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The Future of Renewable Energy Siting in Minnesota - Live event recording
How will we site and build out the sheer amount of solar and wind energy needed to reach ambitious renewable energy targets while preserving farmland, expanding habitat, and maintaining the sense of place that communities have come to appreciate? That was the focus of the conversation among leading renewable energy planners and practitioners during this Energy Futures event from CERTs. Join Nathan Cummins with The Nature Conservancy, Brian Ross with Great Plains Institute, and Sarah Mills with University of Michigan as they dig into the research, discuss the issues, and surface best practices. Learn more.
45:52
June 30, 2021
Using engaged scholarship to advance clean energy - A conversation with Gabe Chan
In June 2021, Gabe Chan, Assistant Professor and lead of the Chan Lab at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs in the Twin Cities, sat down virtually for a conversation with CERTs sustainability storyteller Marie Donahue. During the interview, Chan speaks about his career path and early interests in climate change and clean energy, his approach to engaged scholarship on energy technology and policy, and current projects working to explore utility business models, community solar programs, and energy justice and equity. Learn more.
33:33
June 16, 2021
Advancing clean energy with responsible design - A conversation with Rachel Wagner
In April 2021, Rachel Wagner of through design LLC, based in Duluth, Minnesota, sat down virtually for a conversation with CERTs northeast regional coordinator Colby Abazs and sustainability storyteller Marie Donahue. Through design is a firm specializing in to-scale consulting, providing ecologically and socially conscious solutions on projects that range in scope from single family residences to comprehensive public policy, in what Wagner calls “responsible design.” During the interview, Wagner speaks about her decades of experience working in private sector architecture and building design and the pivot she took to pursue bolder grassroots and mission-driven work. She shares about recent projects working to engage local youth and community members in green building design and solar energy through a workshop and video series supported by CERTs Seed Grants, as well as a new, collaborative Green New Deal Housing effort that seeks to address climate, social and economic inequities through energy efficient, affordable housing. Learn more
45:09
April 29, 2021
The Future of Energy Storage in Minnesota, part 2 - Live event recording
It’s clear that energy storage is necessary to reach our clean energy goals, but the amount, technologies, and applications we need are still emerging. We continued our CERTs Energy Futures events in 2021 in collaboration with the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment to talk about community-scale deployment of energy storage technologies, specific applications, workforce development, and growing the market. Lissa Pawlisch at CERTs spoke with Jessica Hellmann, Director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment; Jamez Staples, CEO of Renewable Energy Partners; and Ralph Jacobson, Chief Justice Equity Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Impact Power Solutions. Learn more
45:37
April 23, 2021
Developing clean energy cooperatively - A conversation with Timothy DenHerder-Thomas
Timothy DenHerder-Thomas, general manager of Cooperative Energy Futures, sat down virtually for a conversation with Marie Donahue, Sustainability Storyteller with CERTs. Cooperative Energy Futures is a solar energy developer and cooperative based in Minneapolis that works across Minnesota. During the interview, DenHerder-Thomas talks about his journey working on climate and clean energy issues, and Cooperative Energy Futures' vision and approach to community-scale solar energy. He gives an overview of Minnesota’s leading community solar garden program and how his organization is working with residents and communities to address energy burden and strengthen participation in the energy system. Learn more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
35:45
March 23, 2021
The Future of Energy Storage in Minnesota - Live event recording
It’s clear that Energy Storage is necessary to reach our clean energy goals, but the amount, technologies, and applications we need are still emerging. We kicked off our Energy Futures events in 2021 in collaboration with our colleagues at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment to talk about energy storage. The first event in this two-part series focused on the big picture of energy storage, what that expansive term can include, and what the future of energy storage may look like here in Minnesota and the Midwest. Speakers: Lissa Pawlisch was joined by moderator Akisha Everett, Energy Storage Project Coordinator with University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. They spoke to Ellen Anderson, Climate Program Director at Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy; Marc Perez, Senior Researcher at Clean Power Research; and Todd Olinsky-Paul, Senior Project Director for Clean Energy Group. Learn more
46:10
February 25, 2021
Powering seven generations with clean energy - A conversation with Prairie Island Indian Community
In early 2021, Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Council President Shelley Buck and General Counsel Jessie Stomski Seim joined us to discuss Prairie Island’s energy story and how the Tribe fought for and won a $46 million appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature to support the Prairie Island Net Zero Project. They share how tribal culture, seven generations, and storytelling motivate this work, outline the process that has led Prairie Island to this point, talk about their hopes for robust community engagement in the project’s next phase, and offer encouragement for other tribal nations considering ambitious clean energy work. Read more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
33:52
February 8, 2021
Decarbonizing with district energy and geothermal - A conversation with Nina Axelson
Nina Axelson, VP of Sustainability and Outreach at Ever-Green Energy, sat down virtually for a conversation with Marie Donahue. Ever-Green Energy is both a utility system operator and energy planning and design firm, based in Saint  Paul. Axelson talks about her path to Ever-Green and how she and the company navigated the challenges in 2020. She highlights what inspires her about recent projects, including the Towerside development with aquifer thermal energy storage in Minneapolis, their Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality program working with colleges and universities to advance their decarbonization goals, and Ever-Green’s inaugural Impact Report. Read more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
35:38
January 13, 2021
Empowering Minnesota’s energy consumers - A conversation with Carmen Carruthers
Carmen Carruthers, Outreach Director at the Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota (CUB), sat down virtually for a conversation with Marie Donahue at CERTs. Carruthers shares how CUB uses advocacy and outreach to advance affordable and reliable utility service and clean energy for households and small businesses across Minnesota. The discussion digs deeper into how Carruthers and her team have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are connecting consumers struggling to pay their utility bills with support and resources. Read more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
29:04
December 8, 2020
Tackling poverty with community energy efforts - Live event recording
There are many people putting forward compelling ideas and visions for the future, and we have been craving a little time to step back and consider these fresh perspectives and how they can contribute to the clean energy future we’re building together. During the second virtual gathering of CERTs' new Energy Futures on October 21, 2020, we explored how energy efficiency and renewable energy work that is community-led and place-based can lead to real change, and has in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Duluth. We heard from Jodi Slick of Ecolibrium3, Jacob Mans at University of Minnesota School of Architecture, and Mauricio León at Metropolitan Council. Read more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
48:53
October 21, 2020
Building solar block by block - A conversation with Kristel Porter
In September of 2020, Kristel Porter, Founder and Executive Director of MN Renewable NOW, a nonprofit working to advance a renewable energy future in North Minneapolis and beyond, sat down virtually for a conversation with Marie Donahue, Sustainability Storyteller with CERTs. Porter shares what inspires her to work on clean energy, how she and her team navigated challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, and her grassroots vision to advance local renewable energy and address issues of climate change and racial inequities block by block. Read more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
32:51
October 14, 2020
Energy efficiency as a great problem solver - A conversation with Danielle Hauck
In September of 2020, Danielle Hauck, Customer Engagement Manager at the Center for Energy and Environment, sat down virtually for a conversation with Marie Donahue, Sustainability Storyteller with CERTs. Hauck manages the organization’s Energy Advisor Service, which helps Home Energy Squad and home energy audit customers implement recommendations from their home energy visits. Hauck describes how she and her team have adapted the energy efficiency services they offer in these challenging times, how residents can be proactive in preparing their homes for winter, and lessons learned from her career path in the clean energy sector. Read more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
34:26
October 5, 2020
Rebuilding Green on Lake Street Part 2 - Conversation with Matt Kazinka
A recent virtual event centered on the story of a business caught in the middle of shockwaves of destruction following Floyd’s killing—after months of challenges due to COVID-19—and a broader look at the role of clean energy in rebuilding and supporting businesses along Lake Street and beyond. In the second half we talk with Matt Kazinka at Lake Street Council, a nonprofit that serves business along Lake Street in Minneapolis, whose own office was lost in the civil uprising. Matt speaks about the struggles, progress, and gratitude from businesses, and the organization's We Love Lake Street recovery fund, which has raised millions of dollars to support those impacted. Read more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
24:06
October 1, 2020
Rebuilding Green on Lake Street Part 1 - Conversation with Shanelle Montana
A recent virtual event centered on the story of a business caught in the middle of shockwaves of destruction following Floyd’s killing—after months of challenges due to COVID-19—and a broader look at the role of clean energy in rebuilding and supporting businesses along Lake Street and beyond. In the first half we speak with Shanelle Montana at Du Nord Craft Spirits, located just two blocks from the third precinct that became to focal point of the nightly damage and destruction in the days after the killing of George Floyd. Shanelle (co-owner with her husband Chris) talks about their attempts and challenges to pursue energy efficiency and solar in the building where they are tenants, what happened in the days around the unrest, and what their future plans hold. Read more
28:20
October 1, 2020
The future of low-carbon transportation fuels - Live event recording
There are many people putting forward compelling ideas and visions for the future, and we have been craving a little time to step back and consider these fresh perspectives and how they can contribute to the clean energy future we’re building together. During the first virtual gathering of CERTs' new Energy Futures on September 23, 2020, we explored the future of low-carbon transportation fuels with Brendan Jordan of Great Plains Institute, Erin Meier with Green Lands Blue Waters, and Michael Reese at University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center. Read more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
46:25
September 23, 2020
Reshuffling the deck with clean energy - A conversation with Jamez Staples
In July of 2020, Jamez Staples, president of Renewable Energy Partners, a clean energy training and construction services company based in North Minneapolis, sat down virtually for a conversation with Marie Donahue, Sustainability Storyteller with CERTs. Staples describes the challenges and opportunities in the development of a clean energy workforce training center that empowers both youth and adults from North Minneapolis to engage and have access to opportunities in clean energy. He emphasizes the need to prioritize equity in decision-making and to include those who have “been traditionally left behind” when forming partnerships and building projects—from electric vehicle charging to microgrids and beyond. Read more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
26:33
September 1, 2020
Increasing opportunities in the clean energy revolution - A conversation with Eric Pasi
In July of 2020, Eric Pasi, Chief Development Officer of Impact Power Solutions, a leading full-service clean energy development company based in Roseville, sat down virtually for a conversation with Marie Donahue, Sustainability Storyteller with CERTs. Pasi shares encouraging trends in the clean energy sector and his observations of how solar developers navigated challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He speaks to the need for increasing opportunities for everyone to participate in the clean energy revolution and highlights his forthcoming book, Clean Wave, featuring stories and tips for those interested in pursuing careers in clean energy. Read more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
27:04
August 18, 2020
Creating a bright future with clean energy - A conversation with Lissa Pawlisch
In June of 2020, Lissa Pawlisch, CERTs Statewide Director, sat down virtually for a conversation with Marie Donahue, Sustainability Storyteller with CERTs. It was just a month into Marie's time at CERTs, a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis that sparked uprisings demanding racial justice across the state and country. We discussed where the work of CERTs and partners to advance clean energy in the state fits in this landscape and what might come next. Read more. The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect individuals and communities in Minnesota to the resources they need to identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. CERTs is a partnership of University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and Minnesota Department of Commerce.
33:01
July 29, 2020