University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Initiative for Renewable Energy & the Environment

Solar Energy Workshop at WCROC

May 4, 2012DanEventsComments Off

Are you thinking about purchasing a solar energy system?
Are you thinking about a career in solar energy?
Do you wonder how well solar energy works in Minnesota?

Join our friends from the University of Minnesota-Morris and the West Central Research and Outreach Center for their Solar Energy Workshop on June 12, 8:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.

Several small-scale solar energy systems are in use in the Morris area presenting a rare learning opportunity. The West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) is hosting a solar energy work-shop to discuss the solar resource available and ex-plain the technology used to collect it. There will also be a tour and presentation on performance data from local installations including a solar air conditioning system using evacuated tube collectors at the WCROC office building. The other local systems include pool heating, hot water, and electric systems.  Minnesota solar manufacturers will be on hand and there will be a keynote address by University of Minnesota professor Jeffrey Bielicki.

Click here to register, to view the workshop’s agenda and to check out Renewable Energy Initiatives at the University of Minnesota-Morris.  Online registration is requested prior to June 1st.  Space is limited so register today.

Solutions Summit 2012 – collaboratively solving sustainability challenges

May 1, 2012DanEventsComments Off

Solutions Summit 2012 will bring together sustainability practitioners and researchers from business, industry, the nonprofit sector and academia to identify and advance strategies for collaboratively solving sustainability challenges.

Keynote speaker for the event is internationally renowned environmentalist and entrepreneur Paul Hawken, author of Natural Capitalism, Blessed Unrest and five other books. Hawken will share his perspectives on the economic and ecological landscape in which innovation will be fostered in coming years, with focus on climate, minerals and oceans. Other featured presenters include sustainability leaders from 3M, Environmental Defense Fund, Caldrea,The Nature Conservancy, General Mills, eBay and Truth Studio.

Solutions Summit 2012 participants will:
  • Learn sustainability leaders’ strategies for success
  • Go beyond sound bites to in-depth conversations about  sustainability challenges and solutions
  • Connect with other sustainability professionals to forge partnerships for future progress
  • Help shape the research agenda for solving sustainability’s biggest challenges.

To learn more about Solutions Summit 2012, click here.

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

Call To Action – IREE’s Future Needs Your Support

February 23, 2012DanEventsComments Off

As a result of action taken in 2011 by the Minnesota State Legislature, funding for IREE is set to end in June 2012. We need your help to ensure IREE’s future.

Energy is at center stage in America and around the world. In our region, the Institute on the Environment’s Initiative for Renewable Energy & the Environment (IREE) has established the University and Minnesota as a leader in the world of renewable energy research. IREE research support, made possible by Xcel Energy renewable development funding, has leveraged millions of dollars in federal and private research grants that have significantly magnified our state’s investment and output in this important field. In addition, IREE’s efforts in collaboration and partnership building have contributed to a strong and growing renewable energy industry in the state.

Minnesotans, please take a moment to email your legislators to urge their support to continue this funding. Go to our Take Action page and use the message already drafted or draft your own to the Governor and your legislators.

Thank you for your support!

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Poneman and Sen. Franken tour U of M Wind Energy Research Station

February 2, 2012DanEvents, WindComments Off

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman and U.S. Sen. Al Franken toured the University of Minnesota wind energy research station at UMore Park last Friday, Jan. 27. Fotis Sotiropoulos, director for the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory and civil engineering professor, hosted the tour showcasing cutting-edge academic research and industry partnerships related to wind energy.

Earlier last week in his State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted the importance of investing in clean energy technology to create jobs and secure America’s economic future.

The EOLOS Wind Energy Research Consortium has received funding from IREE to support research.

Read proposal from IREE’s Project Database.

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

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).