Climate Action Planning Fast-Tracked in Red Wing, Minnesota

September 4, 2020 in Communities Author: Abby Finis

The City of Red Wing, Minnesota, adopted its climate action work plan (CAWP) in early August, which the city developed with the Great Plains Institute using our new, more agile approach to climate planning. The CAWP is a shorter version of a climate action plan, enabling Red Wing to make progress on near-term priorities that go toward its long-term goal of reducing emissions by 80 percent on or before 2040, without getting overwhelmed by a long list of actions. Red Wing is the first city to adopt the CAWP approach developed by GPI; our hope is that more cities—especially small and mid-size cities—use this as a more manageable path to accelerate effective climate action. Continue reading »

A Collaborative Approach to Building Energy Benchmarking Policies

May 6, 2020 in Communities Author: Abby Finis

A building at twilight Minnesota cities are collaborating on standards and tools for measuring and tracking energy consumption in buildings to increase energy efficiency, lower costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Efficient Buildings Collaborative, an initiative of Hennepin County (GPI is a partner), is a new program to standardize policies for building energy benchmarking in Minnesota cities and develop a shared platform for cities to use. Continue reading »

Northfield Climate Action Plan Puts City on Path to Reach Ambitious Targets

February 26, 2020 in Communities Authors: Abby Finis, Jenna Greene

In November 2019, the City of Northfield joined several other Minnesota communities in adopting the Northfield Climate Action Plan. Northfield’s efforts are an excellent example of a small city setting ambitious climate goals and planning for long-term resilience. Action on climate at all scales, from small to large cities, is critical to achieving state, national, and global carbon reduction targets. Continue reading »

Capital City Commits to Climate Action with New Plan

February 11, 2020 in Communities Author: Abby Finis

Saint Paul Climate Action and Resilience Plan post photo of Saint Paul skyline

The last agenda item at the final city council meeting of the decade in Saint Paul, Minnesota was the adoption of the Saint Paul Climate Action and Resilience Plan. After more than 30 residents stood in line to publicly share their support for the plan for Minnesota’s capital city, the council unanimously voted to adopt it. It was a momentous and triumphant moment and there is much for the city to be proud of. Continue reading »

Climate Action Work Plans Can Provide Cities More Accessible, Near-Term Strategies

February 5, 2020 in Communities, Reports & Whitepapers Author: Abby Finis

A view over a town

I am excited to share that my colleagues and I have developed a new approach for cities to achieve their energy and climate goals more quickly and affordably: climate action work plans. These work plans are intended to support cities in setting near-term targets by creating an implementation schedule with specific steps for completing high-impact actions. Continue reading »

Exploring Renewable Energy Procurement Options with Cities

August 1, 2019 in Communities Author: Abby Finis

A man making a presentation about renewable energy procurement

Cities and other local governments are actively participating in the renewable electricity market. Whether they’re participating for environmental or economic purposes (or both), communities continue to see the benefits of clean electricity and seek opportunities to add more for government operations and more broadly for residents and businesses. Navigating renewable energy procurement can be complex, especially as additional purchasing options become available. Continue reading »

Cities Need Forecasted Data to Make Impactful Emissions Reductions

December 6, 2018 in Communities Author: Abby Finis

A view of the city of St. Paul

Cities have a greater ability than they realize to bend the emissions curve toward a low-carbon future. From zoning, to line-items in the city budget, to projects included in a capital improvement program; there are touchpoints in the regulatory, policy, and planning authority of local governments that can be leveraged to ­influence carbon emissions within their jurisdictions. Continue reading »

GreenStep Cities October Workshop: Climate Smart Municipalities

October 10, 2018 in Communities Author: Abby Finis

The GreenStep Cities logo over a rendering of a city

GreenStep Cities hosted a workshop on Climate Smart Municipalities with presenters from both Minnesota and Germany. For the past three years, five Minnesota GreenStep Cities communities have partnered with five communities from the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia to advance climate action. At this October workshop, presenters discussed this partnership and innovative electric vehicle practices in both states.    Continue reading »

How to Set Renewable Electricity Goals that Align with Community Priorities

March 27, 2018 in Communities Author: Abby Finis

Rooftop solar panels

Communities can forge their own path to achieve a broad range of benefits from renewable electricity and efficiency by setting clear goals at the outset. Across the country cities are setting 100 percent renewable electricity goals. Is that the right goal for every community? It depends. For some communities, setting such a renewable electricity goal may be at odds with what a community actually wants to achieve. Continue reading »