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Initiative for Renewable Energy & the Environment

URGENT: Contact Minnesota Legislators Now to Save IREE

March 2, 2012DanEventsComments Off

The future of the University of Minnesota’s Initiative for Renewable Energy & the Environment (IREE) and the future of groundbreaking energy research in Minnesota are on the line. We need your help now.

Since 2003, IREE has created jobs, brought new research dollars to Minnesota and brightened our state’s and nation’s energy future by supporting innovative energy technology research at the University of Minnesota through the renewable development fund (RDF). This work has:

  • sparked hundreds of new renewable energy research projects in Minnesota
  • catalyzed and mobilized a community of nearly 600 University researchers
  • led to scores of breakthrough discoveries, publications and patents
  • brought nearly $70 million in external R&D funding to Minnesota
  • supported the research of 110 University of Minnesota graduate students who have received advanced degrees in renewable energy
  • guided numerous renewable energy start-ups and entrepreneurs
  • created more than 300 high-tech jobs in Minnesota
  • led to more than 195 business and industry partnerships
  • established the University and state as world-class leaders in renewable energy research.

A bill (SF 2181) currently before the Minnesota Senate would end this support for game-changing University research by redirecting all RDF funding to Xcel Energy to support only projects related to renewable electricity (excluding research on other forms of energy such as transportation fuels and critical work on conservation and energy efficiency). If passed, this bill would eliminate IREE’s ability to strategically select the best and most innovative renewable energy research projects for funding here in Minnesota. It would make it impossible for IREE to provide the rapid-turnaround matching grants that have brought literally millions of dollars in economic activity to our state in the past. It would erode Minnesota’s position as a leader in advancing the energy technologies of the future, and disable strategic relationships that keep Minnesota innovations centered in Minnesota, where they strengthen our economy, intellectual capital and global reputation for innovation.

SF 2181, authored by Sen. Julie Rosen, will be heard in the Senate Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee on Thursday, March 8. Minnesotans, please take a moment to contact members of that committee (see below), your legislators and our governor. Urge them to continue supporting new energy R&D at the University of Minnesota through IREE’s tried-and-true funding mechanism. Go to our Take Action page and use the message already drafted or draft your own.

Thank you for your support!

Minnesota Senate Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee Members

Senator Julie Rosen, Chair, 651.296.5713
Senator Mike Jungbauer, Vice Chair, 651.296.3733
Senator Doug Magnus, 651.296.5650
Senator David Brown, 651.296.8075
Senator Dan Sparks, 651.296.9248
Senator Scott Dibble, 651.296.4191
Senator Mary Jo McGuire, 651.296.5537
Senator Jim Metzen, 651.296.4370
Senator Michelle Benson, 651.296.3219
Senator John Howe, 651.296.4264
Senator Ray Vandeveer, 651.296.4351
Senator Jeff Hayden, 651.296.4261
Senator Amy Koch, 651.296.5981

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ADMINISTRATION
The Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE) is a signature program of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment.

REPORTS
Check out IREE's research impacts, pioneering projects, external collaborations, educational initiatives and more in the 2012 annual report (PDF).

Measuring the carbon footprint of Gevo, Inc.’s Luverne, MN corn supply: A survey based assessment of the potential for delivering a low carbon corn grain feedstock for biofuels. Read the report (PDF).
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