Minnesota’s Current – and Future – Renewable Energy Initiatives

On Monday, June 14, the Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace will lead the discussion on these and other critical topics during the first-ever Minnesota Renewable Energy Showcase, a full-day forum on energy issues and strategies around Minnesota’s future in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Sponsored by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace (MNREM), the event takes place on June 14 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Minnesota History Center in Saint Paul, and brings together local experts on renewable energy and energy efficiency, business leaders, legislators, gubernatorial candidates, the public and other decision-makers to discuss our state’s role in the future of bio-mass, biofuels, ethanol, geothermal, solar power, wind power and energy conservation. The event is free and open to the public, but requires pre-registration by June 10. To register, visit www.MNREM.org.

The Minnesota Renewable Energy Showcase is scheduled to feature:

* An industry panel discussing Minnesota’s energy policies and initiatives, including biomass and biofuels, energy efficiency and conservation, solar power and wind energy;
* The first panel of gubernatorial candidates discussing the state’s current policies and their visions for the future;
* An exhibit that showcases the 28 projects across Minnesota focusing on training and job creation in renewable energy funded by a federal Department of Labor WIRED grant; and
* The presentation of a White Paper that reveals significant research and outlines future strategies for aligning renewable-energy development and workforce efforts in Minnesota.

"This first-of-its-kind forum is an excellent opportunity for public- and private-sector leaders in Minnesota’s renewable energy efforts to come together for a forward-looking conversation," says Teresa Kittredge, MNREM Executive Director. "The Minnesota Renewable Energy Showcase will encourage in-depth discussion of not only the state of Minnesota’s initiatives, but the opportunities that exist for the future."

Some of the 28 projects being featured and discussed at the forum include:

Energy-efficient new home construction project: In Montevideo, high school students and contractors are being trained to construct an energy-efficient, low-income home. The home which is being constructed in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, CURE (Clean Up the River Environment) and other community organizations — will include active and passive solar design features, ground source heat, specially insulated shell and high-impact low maintenance exterior, solar hot water system, and energy efficient windows.

Wind Turbine Gear Maintenance & Tower Safety Training: In Canby, current and future wind energy workers are learning about wind turbines gear maintenance and analysis, and are getting hands-on training to supplement theoretical training, through a partnership of Outland Renewable Energy (a wind services company) and the local community/technical college. In addition, tower climbing safety techniques and use of safety equipment are being taught.

Biomass Gasification Technology Curriculum: At the University of Minnesota – Morris, architects and engineers worked with educational faculty to develop and implement a biomass gasification technology curriculum. They are now adding a new component in systems control of biomass gasifier units. Hands-on learning is provided using the university’s biomass gasification facility and local biomass sources, such as corn stover, switchgrass, municipal sewer waste, tires and other trash.

The Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace Alliance for Talent Development (MNREM) is committed to diversifying the state’s economic and energy future. Its private sector-led board includes business people, educational leaders, labor, foundations, workforce professionals, and educators.

This coalition seeks to leverage the rich resources of people, wind, sun, and biomass to provide local benefits (jobs, energy, and community investment) and global connections (for equipment, capital, and innovation transfer.) MNREM received a $5 million grant through the WIRED initiative from the U.S. Department of Labor designed to energize the nation’s economy through regional economic development partnerships and workforce education and training.