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GreenStep City Best Practices Resilient Economic & Community Development

Renewable Energy
no. 26

Remove barriers to and encourage installation of renewable energy generation capacity.
  Best Practice Action 6      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ]       [all actions]

Report installed private sector-owned renewable energy/energy efficient generation capacity with at least one of the following attributes:

a.  Fueled by flowing water, sun, wind, or biogas.
b.  Fueled in part or whole by manure or woody biomass, optimized for minimal air and other environmental impacts and for energy efficiency and water conservation.
c.  Distributing heating/cooling services in a district energy system.
d.  Producing combined heat and power; using a microgrid.
e.  Energy storage integrated into a renewable energy installation.
Describe existing installations. Though some "Who's doing it" report are for solar garden subscriptions, please report city government community solar garden subscriptions, green tag purchases and 3rd party solar purchases under action 15.2; municipal wastewater biogas projects under 20.6; solid waste anaerobic digestion under 22.5; municipal geothermal under 1.7; brightfield projects under 25.5
Report installed kW capacity.
Report utility-scale projects - for example, a 1+ MW community solar garden. Also report city government energy purchases from this garden under action 15.2


Date action report first entered:   05/07/2012

Implementation details:
Wind farms

For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Community volunteer)   |   janetanderson2840@gmail.com   |   5072190680

City, County, Austin Utiliites

View All Austin Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/28/2016
Date of last report update:   04/28/2016

Implementation details:
Signed a 25 year agreement with Sunshare to 100% off-set our electricity usage through Xcel with the use of a series of solar gardens in and around Carver County.

For more information contact:
Jesse Dickson (City staff)   |   jessed@colognemn.com   |   952-466-2064


View All Cologne Actions

Elk River

Date action report first entered:   11/25/2010
Date of last report update:   12/29/2014

Implementation details:
The Elk River Utilities and Waste Management Landfill Gas-to-Energy plant creates 3.2MW of electricity using landfill generated methane gas. The plant uses the methane created by the trash at the Waste Management Landfill outside of Elk River to create electricity.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The Landfill gas-to-Energy Plant creates enough energy to power 2,400 Elk River homes annually. Plans are being discussed to double the plant.

Descriptive links: http://elkrivermn.gov/index.aspx?NID=740

For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff)   |   ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov   |   763-635-1068

Elk River Municipal Utiltiles; Waste Management

View All Elk River Actions

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

Date action report first entered:   07/17/2018
Date of last report update:   07/31/2018
Year action initially completed:   2014
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
Fond du Lac is working to support community members in installing renewable energy systems in residential homes. Currently, 4 residential 3kw solar electric power systems, 1 solar electric hot water system, and 7 solar hot air systems have been installed. Together, these systems generate 13.5kw of renewable solar energy. FDL is in the process of designing a zero net energy home.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Cost data for these systems will be used to develop a model to apply these systems to sites of different scales and individuals with varying budgets. Performance data from these residential systems will be used to guide the process for designing additional systems.

For more information contact:
Shannon Judd (City staff)   |   shannonjudd@fdlrez.com   |   218-878-7123

View All Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Actions


Date action report first entered:   08/12/2016
Date of last report update:   08/12/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Jordan has an agreement in place with SunShare to participate in their new Solar garden.

            view file

View All Jordan Actions

Red Wing

Date action report first entered:   01/30/2013
Date of last report update:   04/24/2017
Year action initially completed:   2016
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
In 2016, the City of Red Wing entered into a solar garden subscription for 5,737,500 kWh annually with solar garden provider Innovative Power Systems (IPS). The subscription should come near to providing 100% of the City's electrical use. IPS has built its first solar garden at large site provided by the Red Wing School District. The new 5 MW solar array recently went into production and the City has begun purchasing solar power in January 2017. Then new RW School District garden will supply 57% of the City’s solar garden subscription.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The rest of the City's solar subscription will come online when IPS has finished building more gardens. The solar garden subscription is a 25-year agreement which will save the City a conservative estimate of $6.6 million.

Descriptive links: https://www.ips-solar.com/community-solar-gardens/red-wing-community-solar-garden/

For more information contact:
Paul Drotos (City staff)   |   paul.drotos@ci.red-wing.mn.us   |   651-410-6744

Innovative Power Systems and the Red Wing School District

View All Red Wing Actions


Date action report first entered:   06/27/2018
Date of last report update:   06/27/2018
Year action initially completed:   2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The City of Scandia executed a fixed discount value-of-solar agreement with US Solar

Outcome measures/metrics:
The Community Solar Garden Allocation is expected to produce 127,771 kWh annually. The City will realize savings of $0.01 per kWh produced.

            view file

For more information contact:
Neil Soltis (City staff)   |   n.soltis@ci.scandia.mn.us   |   651-433-2274

US Solar

View All Scandia Actions


Date action report first entered:   09/27/2012

Implementation details:
The Depot Coffee House was one of the projects selected by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the Solar Energy Legacy Grant. The Grant, worth $37,000, was awarded to the Depot through their partnership with Three Rivers Park District. With this grant the Depot has installed solar panels on the roof, which had lead to great educational opportunities and raised community awareness about alternative energy and sustainability.

Outcome measures/metrics:
A Year in the Sun- Solar Report *Annual electric went from- $6,400 to $4,200 *Power generated this year- 11,535 kWh *Power generated since June 2011- 18,998 kWh *Generation this YTD 2012 is equivalent to: *The impact of 10 tons of CO2 Saved *The impact of 1,119 Gallons of Gas Saved *The impact of 249 trees planted

            view file

For more information contact:
Chuck Autio (City staff)   |   Cautio@hopkinsmn.com   |   952-548-6378

View All Hopkins Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/19/2019
Date of last report update:   02/20/2019
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
10 households have on site solar panels/arrays installed on their homes, totaling 64 kW. 119 Xcel customers also subscribe to community solar gardens, totaling 688 kW.

Descriptive links: https://www.xcelenergy.com/working_with_us/municipalities/community_energy_reports

For more information contact:
Russ Lupkes (City staff)   |   rlupkes@richfieldmn.gov   |   6128619175

Xcel Energy

View All Richfield Actions


Date action report first entered:   06/06/2012

Implementation details:
Waste Management ahs a methane collection and generation plant by the city landfill. This plant convert's the methane produced by the landfill into electricity. This electricity is then sold to electric utility companies.

For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff)   |   basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us   |   952-895-4524

View All Burnsville Actions

Pine River

Date action report first entered:   03/08/2011

Implementation details:
In 2006 Winkelman's Environmentally Responsible Construction (WERC) installed a small wind turbine on the Hunt Utilities Group campus in Pine River. The turbine was made possible in part by a $20,000 grant from Minnesota Power. In addition to the project description linked to below, you can see a Lakeland Public Television short on the HUG turbine here: http://www.ecowerc.com/projects/audio_video/werc-hug-nibbe-sm.wmv *** Also, the community's GreenStep Task Force has been actively looking into a small hydroelectric power system for the dam on Norway Lake. So far we have obtained an initial feasibility report from Northland Engineering, and investigated possible safety and environmental permitting issues with the help of the DNR and other partners. *** Finally, the Pine River Area Sanitary District, a private entity that treats much of Pine River's wastewater, has solar hot water panels installed on its facility. (Note that this is "renewable energy generating capacity," but solar technology isn't included in the list of attributes specified in this Best Practice action - so the PRASD panels technically don't fulfill this action. Still, it seems like progress worth mentioning!) The Pine River GreenStep Task Force and RREAL are planning to encourage PRASD to fix a problem with their hot water panels, which currently are broken.

Descriptive links: http://www.ecowerc.com/projects/hug.php

View All Pine River Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/22/2013

Implementation details:
Presented in February 2012 to Kepware Technologies, Inc. for its support of a building automation system at Cascade Meadow. In order to bring data from power production systems, building power consumption meters, and other building mechanical systems together into one database, Cascade Meadow looked to Integrated Technology Engineering, a local firm, and Kepware. Today data from three separate systems can be monitored from one central dashboard, providing instant information about the energy efficiency of the Center – information that’s shared with visitors to the site and used for educational forums.

For more information contact:
Jeff Ellerbusch (City staff)   |   ellerbusch.jeff@CO.OLMSTED.MN.US   |   507-328-7132

View All Rochester Actions

Elko New Market pending

Date action report first entered:   04/27/2018
Date of last report update:   04/27/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The City is currently exploring the possibility of making existing, excess solar power from a nearby solar garden available to residents

For more information contact:
Mark Nagel (City staff)   |   mnagel@ci.enm.mn.us   |   952-461-2777

Nokomis Partners

View All Elko New Market Actions

North Branch pending

Date action report first entered:   04/24/2019
Date of last report update:   04/24/2019
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The 100 MW (AC) North Star Solar Project is located in Chisago County, Minnesota – approximately four miles southeast of North Branch, MN. The project connects to the grid at the Chisago Substation, a point of significant transmission infrastructure and strong electrical ties to Xcel Energy load. The North Star Solar Project provides Xcel Energy with a cost-effective and efficient solution to meeting their 1.5 percent solar energy requirement in Minnesota. The Project was approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The North Star Solar Project is the largest solar energy facility in the Midwest, producing enough energy to power approximately 20,000 homes.

Descriptive links: https://www.communityenergyinc.com/projects/north-star-solar

For more information contact:
Carla Vita (City staff)   |   carlav@ci.north-branch.mn.us   |   651-277-5227

View All North Branch Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Lissa Pawlisch, Statewide Coordinator, Clean Energy Resource Teams: 612/624-2293, pawl0048@umn.edu, http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org