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Communities


Cities and other local governments have a vital role to play in economy-wide decarbonization. Local governments are uniquely responsible for land use and transportation systems. They influence the attributes of buildings, and lead by example. Technologies come together in communities in synergistic ways, and through our work we help build stronger, more equitable communities – while driving economic activity.

Analysis suggests that US cities can deliver about a third of emission reductions needed to decarbonize the economy. Therefore, it is imperative that cities and communities take action and begin to do so in the next few years.
Our goal is that clean energy, resilience, and climate mitigation become the norm for all Minnesota and Midwestern cities and communities. To achieve this, we have developed replicable models for engaging large numbers of communities.
While the largest US cities are already engaged and taking action, small- and medium-sized cities and communities need additional assistance and replicable models. We address this gap by helping these communities to set goals and implement a wide range of energy and resilience projects through the GreenStep Cities program, as a partner of the Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams and through fee-for-service assistance.

 

Geography
Most of our community work is in Minnesota. We also work in the surrounding states of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. We partner with organizations in other states to accelerate action across the country.

Our Goals


Over the next three years, our goals are to:

  • Develop tools to provide local units of government with reliable energy data.
  • Help at least 40 Minnesota cities incorporate energy, climate, and resilience into official plans.
  • Help cities and local governments become solar and EV ready, develop solar and other clean energy projects, incorporate electric vehicles into fleets and charging infrastructure, and reduce energy use in all buildings.
  • Share best practices widely through Minnesota GreenStep Cities.
  • Work in partnership with other organizations and regional and national networks to engage smaller and medium-sized cities across the nation.
Our Communities Experts

Have questions? Get in touch with one of our communities experts.

Lola Schoenrich

Lola Schoenrich
Vice President
lschoenrich@gpisd.net

Brian Ross

Brian Ross
Senior Project Director
bross@gpisd.net

Trevor Drake

Trevor Drake
Project Manager
tdrake@gpisd.net

Abby Finis

Abby Finis
Senior Planner
afinis@gpisd.net

Diana McKeown

Diana McKeown
Metro CERT Director
dmkeown@gpisd.net

Kristen Peterson
Program Assistant
kpeterson@gpisd.net

Reports & Related Materials
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Grow Solar: Local Government Solar Toolkit

The Grow Solar Local Government Toolkit is a 3-state collaborative project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Our Outreach

GPI lead programs making a difference in
Minnesota communities

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GreenStep Cities

Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability and quality-of-life goals. GPI partners with several state agencies, nonprofits, and the League of Minnesota Cities on program development and implementation.

Learn More →

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Metro CERT

Metro CERT serves the 11-county Twin Cities metropolitan area by empowering communities and their members to adopt energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy technologies and practices for their homes, businesses, and local institutions.

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