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Rise Up!

Rise Up!

By the MREA
The Rise Up! podcast brings real-time, relevant energy and policy information to Midwest stakeholders through an engaging and entertaining medium. Each episode will share the latest in opinions, news, interviews, resources, strategies, success stories, and actions you can take.

The Rise Up! podcast is powered by the MREA and the Rise Up Midwest!, a coalition of businesses, individuals, organizations, jurisdictions, and workforce development partners working to create a groundswell of support for commonsense, strategic, and swift clean energy policy action and market development.
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Local Energy Influence
How can your community gain influence over how your energy dollars are spent? It’s not easy.  In this episode, we discuss how jurisdictions are harnessing their economic and political power to get more local, clean energy. We speak to Mathew Roberts from the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council (SOPEC) about how the regional council of governments is making energy decisions locally. For the most immersive listening experience, where can view the resources we discuss and learn more while you listen, listen to the episode through 
September 29, 2020
Credit Where Credit is Due
If you have been following energy policy developments in the Midwest over the last 5 years, you’ve probably noticed that electric utilities recently switched from fighting against solar energy development to developing solar projects at a record pace. Have energy companies seen the light? Should we shelve our concerns about wealthy, monopoly for-profit utility companies using their privileged market status and political connections to fight against solar energy and energy efficiency? Not so fast. As you may have guessed, utility companies often support solar projects that they own and that financially benefit their investors (whether the generator uses coal or solar radiation as fuel, if the utility owns it the investors make a protected rate of return). And, they often fight against solar projects that they don’t own, as these projects reduce electricity demand and compete with them as independent generators. So here we find ourselves; stuck in this strange and often contradictory place where utility representatives will support the value of the solar projects that they are developing while diminishing the value of solar energy on homes, businesses, schools, and city buildings. The arguments exist in the pedantic and dense language of regulatory procedures concerning parallel generation, avoided costs, PURPA, local marginalized prices, net energy metering, and on and on until nap time. Yet, if you care about local jobs, if you care about reducing your electricity bill, if you care about controlling future electricity costs, if you care about grid resiliency, and if you care about climate change, then you should care about how utilities, regulators, states, and the federal government determine the value of solar. In this podcast episode, we will begin to explore the value of solar energy installed on buildings and vacant lots in communities through the Midwest. And, we’ll start in rural Iowa where local residents have organized a model “Energy District” and the value of solar has proved itself to so many homes and businesses that a groundswell of support turned legislation to nearly ended net metering into bipartisan legislation that established net metering for the entire state.
July 30, 2020
Get Up and Try
How does a small kid from a small town make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of many people?  If you ask Tia Nelson, she’ll tell you that it is by using our power to get up every day and try.  In this episode, we interview Tia Nelson about her decades of work in service of her father’s vision of improvingthe world’s most polluted environments in service of the people that live there. Fifty years ago, Gaylord Nelson - a small-town senator from Wisconsin - hosted a national sit-in to force a policy discussion about the growing environmental problems facing America. The act set off a chain of events that resulted in the most sweeping national environmental policy accomplishments in US history. Today, his daughter Tia continues that effort with a focus on building bridges between young environmental justice activists, conservative Republicans, concerned mothers, and all people that have an interest in addressing climate change. With her father as a role model and decades of experience working on environmental issues at home and abroad, Tia’s words brim with wisdom and experience. Though we interviewed her before the nationwide social justice protests began, her perspective has a lot a relevance now as each of us consider our role and responsibility in bringing groups together to develop real and durable solutions to our most pressing problems. For episode resources and materials, visit
June 20, 2020
We are living in a time of uncertainty. The turmoil in global oil markets offers us a glimpse into a complex industry unraveling amid uncertainty and the federal response to save it at all cost. What if we invested in the long term stability of clean energy markets instead? To help us better understand our current situation, we interviewed American Author and Journalist, Bethany McLean, author of the book ‘Saudi America,’ about the eye opening developments in the US oil and gas market, we discuss the potential impacts on US clean energy investments, and we make the case for Midwest states to create market certainty for local energy investments.
May 29, 2020
Physical Distancing, Social Uprising
In this episode we’ll introduce ourselves, preview coming episodes, and interview the MREA’s Executive Director, Nick Hylla. In response to wide ranging questions from the MREA staff and Board of Directors, he’ll address the current economic crisis, the...
April 16, 2020