Opportunities to Increase Small Business Engagement on Energy

December 11, 2018 in Communities, Efficiency Authors: Jordana Palmer, Matt Kazinka, Trevor Drake

In 2014, we wrote about “A New Approach to Small Business Energy Efficiency,” in which we described the unique barriers—time, knowledge, and trust—that small businesses face in identifying and enacting energy efficiency improvements. We proposed that the best solution may not be a technological one, but a social one—partnering with individuals who have existing relationships with small businesses in their community and training them as “energy coaches” who can provide the commitment, information, and trust that resource-limited business owners require. Continue reading »

Powering the Future in Rural Minnesota: Assessing Views of Solar Energy as a Local Resource

December 7, 2018 in Communities Authors: Brian Ross, Jenna Greene

Like many parts of the US, communities in rural Minnesota are experiencing growing interest among residents and businesses in development of an untapped, local economic resource: solar energy. To help communities understand and plan for development of solar resources, the Great Plains Institute has engaged local leaders to identify key gaps in information, challenges, and opportunities associated with such development. Continue reading »

Cities Need Forecasted Data to Make Impactful Emissions Reductions

December 6, 2018 in Communities Author: Abby Finis

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 »

Enabling Local Action on Energy Goals through Engagement on State Policy

November 29, 2018 in Communities Author: Jenna Greene

Local governments of all sizes are setting energy goals across Minnesota. They see the rapid advancements in technology and the economic benefits that come with renewable energy and electrification of transportation. Yet when it comes to implementation, communities regularly face barriers to enact the programs and projects that will help them achieve their goals. Continue reading »

Dedicated City Staff Crucial to Setting and Implementing Energy Goals

November 6, 2018 in Communities Author: Jenna Greene

Photo Courtesy of CERTs

Sustainability issues such as energy, water quality, and climate mitigation and resiliency are becoming increasingly important to cities in Minnesota and across the country. At the same time, it is challenging for city staff to focus on improving citywide sustainability given the daily needs and priorities of government service delivery and operations.   Continue reading »

GreenStep Cities October Workshop: Climate Smart Municipalities

October 10, 2018 in Communities Author: Abby Finis

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 »

Cities Making Progress on Electric Vehicle Readiness Across Minnesota

September 25, 2018 in Communities Author: Diana McKeown

Twenty-eight cities across Minnesota are looking to the future and getting ready for broad adoption of electric vehicles 

Cities Charging Ahead! is a peer cohort of 28 cities working together across Minnesota to explore electric vehicle readiness. Participants receive technical assistance focused on actions and best practices, based on the GreenStep Cities program, that cities can implement to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles such as:   Continue reading »