Teaming Up for Clean Energy

Diana McKeown
Metro CERTs Network Coordinator

What is CERTs? No, it’s not a breath mint! It is a resource for communities across Minnesota who would like to plan and implement local energy projects. CERTs (Clean Energy Resource Teams) was launched in 2003 with the mission of connecting people to the technical resources needed to identify and implement community-scale energy efficiency and clean energy projects. CERTs is made up of community members from across the state who have developed a bold vision for Minnesota’s energy future: one that can be reached through greater energy efficiency and renewable energy production, such as wind, biomass, biofuels and solar power. The Clean Energy Resource Teams are diverse-individuals, small business owners, farmers, members of environmental groups, local utility representatives, local, state and federal government staff, elected leaders and academics-and all share common goals and values. They want strong communities, local jobs, and secure, clean, and reliable energy. With the help of CERTs, Minnesotans’ vision is becoming a reality now, one project at a time.

What has CERTs already done? The CERTs team hosts a statewide conference every other year (the next one will be February 10 & 11, 2009 in St. Cloud) to bring together Minnesota communities to share and learn about the innovative energy projects happening all over the state, and to learn about available technical support and new tools. Additionally, over the past year the CERTs team awarded mini-grants for 69 projects to the Greater Minnesota regions. We hope to have enough funds in the future to also provide mini-grants for projects in the newly created metro region. Examples of funded proposals include : a rechargeable electric car, ground source heating and cooling, solar thermal, electric and hot air, anaerobic digestion, wind energy, biodiesel, energy conservation and energy efficiency. For more information go to and navigate to Community Projects then Requests for Proposals.

How do you get your community involved? Gather your neighbors, your school, your congregation (you get the picture) and start talking about your vision for your community’s energy future. Contact us by visiting our new website, where you can sign up to get more information or contact the regional coordinator listed on the site for your region of the state. Our website also provides current information on projects, technologies, funding opportunities, and upcoming and past meetings.

For more information visit

The Northeast CERT tours the Jeunemann residence in Two Harbors, where renewable energy systems provide 100% of the home’s power needs.

For more information visit

Clean Energy

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