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

Replacing the Whole Barrel

April 5, 2012DanBioenergyComments Off

“When the price of oil goes up, we push the panic button. When the price of oil goes down, we push the snooze button. And this is not a really good plan.” – Secretary of Energy Steven Chu

As the country currently spends $1 billion a day on crude oil, the country is crucially looking for products that may play a key role in diversifying US energy supplies and improving economic security. Specifically in Minnesota’s heavy agricultural state, biomass is showing alternatives to this crude oil reliance. In order to do this, the full use and implications of both crude oil and biomass need to be discussed.

The U.S. Office for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s Biomass Program has recently developed a “Replacing the Whole Barrel” widget that easily conveys a variety of information on the topic including the different kinds of products made from crude oil and what alternatives biomass can offer. Check it out and explore more about what biomass can do.

Opinion Piece on IREE’s Future

March 19, 2012DanGeneralComments Off

Check out the opinion piece submitted to MinnPost by IREE’s Managing Director, Dick Hemmingsen about the future of IREE and the future of renewable energy in Minnesota.

Click here for complete story.

Update to IREE’s Call to Action

March 12, 2012DanGeneralComments Off

A huge thanks to all of you who have contacted the Legislature, helping to make the case for continued support of the IREE program.  Your voice is definitely being heard, and it’s making a difference!

In the Senate, the bill (SF 2181) will be heard next in the Senate Finance Committee (members listed below). In the House, the bill (HF 2650) authored by Rep. Michael Beard was introduced to the Energy Subcommittee (members listed below). The bill, as currently drafted, would limit investments from the Renewable Energy Development Fund to renewable electricity and end direct support to IREE for innovative research and development at the University of Minnesota. Again, if you have made contact, please follow up with the members listed below. If you haven’t, I urge you to make your voice heard.

Thank you,
Dick Hemmingsen
Managing Director, IREE

—–

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. Thanks to your efforts, we’re making some progress, but we do 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, has passed out of the initial committee and will be heard next in the Senate Finance Committee. It is likely that the issue will be taken up soon in the House Energy Subcommittee.  Minnesotans, please take a moment to contact members of those committees (see below), your own 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!

Photo taken by rpeteg

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!

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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