Minnesota Policy Leaders Continue to Support Bioeconomy Production Incentive

April 24, 2017 in Transportation & Fuels Author: Amanda Bilek

The Minnesota Legislature convened in early January and has been busy advancing major spending and policy bills. The main work of the Minnesota legislative session in odd years is to finalize a two-year state budget. The Bioeconomy Coalition has been working to ensure that funding for the advanced biofuels, biobased chemicals, and biomass thermal energy production incentive programs are included in the two-year budget. The budget currently under debate at the legislature would cover fiscal years 2018 and 2019. Continue reading »

Stakeholder-Driven Process Results in Minnesota Energy Action Plan

September 26, 2016 in Transportation & Fuels Author: Amanda Bilek

October is National Energy Action Month and the MN Department of Commerce will be hosting a webinar to provide an overview of Minnesota’s 2025 Energy Action Plan.

The MN 2025 Energy Action Plan lays out a path for Minnesota to help advance a clean, reliable, resilient, and affordable energy system. The Plan contains strategies, technologies, and opportunities that can be advanced to strengthen Minnesota’s clean energy leadership. Continue reading »

Minnesota and Sweden Strengthen Bioenergy Collaboration

July 1, 2016 in Transportation & Fuels Authors: Amanda Bilek, Diana Vega-Vega

Since the signage of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and the Swedish Ministry for Enterprise and Innovation on bioenergy cooperation, a Swedish Delegation has worked with the Great Plains Institute to help convene interested parties in the exchange of ideas and to build long-term relationships for potential bioenergy project collaboration.

The Swedish Delegation has visited Minnesota with a focused interest on collaboration in biogas since 2014. The trips led by the Swedish Energy Agency, aim to promote information and business exchange between Minnesota and Sweden while increasing the share of renewable energy through the intended collaboration. You can read about a previous Swedish Energy Agency visit to MN here.
This year GPI arranged meetings between the Swedish Biogas delegation and various companies and organizations around the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and even partook in a visit to Wisconsin. Sites visited included the Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy Center, Hastings Cooperative Creamery, Covanta Energy Corporation, Hennepin County Public Works Department, NatureWorks LLC, Jon-De Farm Inc., Ever-Green Energy, and the University of Minnesota.
Technology solutions for different intended projects were discussed. At the Hastings Cooperative Creamery, ideas were shared about the possibility of a bigger facility to help with the reduction of waste water produced by the creamery and improved efficiency.
At Covanta, the meeting focused on sharing solutions to help shape an advanced waste processing project for the City of Minneapolis.
Hennepin County is exploring the potential for an anaerobic digestion project to process household and commercial source separated organics that are currently being collected but composted.
NatureWorks is currently conducting a Department of Energy research project to use methane to produce lactic acid. They prefer a source of biomethane and are examining options for a pilot biomethane-to-lactic acid project. They are looking to bring online the first global-scale methane-to-lactic acid fermentation facility.
The Swedish Delegation openly expressed their feedback and gave opinions on how these various businesses and organizations could partner with Swedish companies to implement and improve current existing technologies.
The meetings also aimed to spark interest in a call for proposals. The Swedish Agency hopes to receive interest from around the globe, including Minnesota, to receive a grant for a feasibility studies or demonstration projects for bioenergy technology applications, including biogas. The grant will be funded through the Swedish Energy Agency. The application will open in late July and will be due at the end of August. Key findings of the studies will be presented on the next Swedish Delegation trip to Minnesota in the spring of 2017.

A Biomass Bright Spot from the 2016 Minnesota Legislative Session

June 10, 2016 in Transportation & Fuels Author: Amanda Bilek

Although the regular session for the Minnesota legislature concluded on May 23, we are still waiting to see if legislative leaders can come to agreement on a special session to address unfinished issues from the regular session: investments for public works projects and transportation. However, a few days after the end of regular session, Governor Mark Dayton signed the supplemental budget bill. Continue reading »

Capitol Pathways Experience

June 8, 2016 in News & Press Authors: Amanda Bilek, Diana Vega-Vega

Capitol Graphic

When I applied to the Capitol Pathways Program, I was looking for an opportunity to experience public policy and learn if it was a good career choice for me. I was given the opportunity to select a specific sector in the application process; I chose sustainability and environmental issues as a top choice. Capitol Pathways program organizers matched me with the Great Plains Institute and I was excited to begin my journey in this inaugural program. Continue reading »

GPI Serves as Capitol Pathways Host

March 19, 2016 in News & Press Author: Amanda Bilek

A problem that is often raised during Minnesota public policy discussions is that state government is not truly representative of Minnesota’s population, especially as the makeup of the state is rapidly changing. Great Plains Institute (GPI) is serving as a host organization for a new public policy internship program that aims to begin to address this challenge. The Capitol Pathways internship program is organized by the Citizens League and places college students of color in nonprofits, government agencies, and lobbying firms during the Minnesota legislative session. Continue reading »