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Consumer-Friendly Community Solar Pledge

The solar industry in Minnesota is growing rapidly, with new businesses and jobs being added every day. To help consumers navigate this rapidly growing market, Fresh Energy has established a set of best practices you can look for when choosing a community solar business.
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Clean Energy

Clean Energy

Statement from Fresh Energy on community solar consumer issues

“This story is a clear example of the need for tools that consumers can use when exploring their community solar options. At Fresh Energy we recognize those challenges. Based on our knowledge of community solar policy and best practices we have developed a Consumer Friendly Community Solar Rating system and will release it in the next few days. This rating will outline a set of best practices for community solar businesses, with regard to transparency in customer agreements as well as business practices to support access to solar for all. As an independent nonprofit our goal is to create a solar market that works for all Minnesotans, and community solar is one of the best ways to do that. We are committed to providing a clear road map for consumers to follow when navigating this rapidly growing market.

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Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency

Statement on the Supreme Court’s demand response ruling

“This ruling is absolutely critical to moving us toward a future where energy is used more efficiently and strategically. Minnesota utilities have already begun utilizing demand response programs in Minnesota, such as optimizing customers’ large electric water heaters and air conditioners to save all ratepayers money. But we are only beginning to scratch the surface of this potential. As utilities and regulators develop more sophisticated ways to track and implement demand response techniques into the market we will be able to shave our peak energy demand significantly – creating savings for consumers and utilities alike.”

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Global Warming

Global Warming

175 nations sign the Paris Climate Agreement

Over 170 governments declared an end to the fossil fuel era on Earth Day, April 22, signing the Paris Agreement, the first global commitment on climate change. Signers included the big emitters: the U.S., China, India, and Russia. World leaders were united in speaking of the urgency to act on climate change, calling for scaled up actions, and saying that political will was never stronger. Leaders also committed to rapid national processes to approve the agreement. However, while the landmark signing ceremony made history, global temperatures keep shattering records. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon explained, “We are in a race against time.”

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Nation-leading news: Judge recommends Minnesota use federal “social cost of carbon”

A huge win for Minnesota on April 15 – a judge, after over a year of expert testimony, legal briefs, and public hearings, recommended to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that it adopt the federal “social cost of carbon” as the binding external cost of carbon dioxide emissions for all electric utility decision making. That means that the PUC (and the utilities that need the PUC to approve their spending plans) will have to include those very negative external costs in their calculations. As a result, fossil forms of electricity generation will be much more difficult to justify on economic terms.

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Looking at carbon issues at a different level

While Fresh Energy sticks to its core work of shaping and driving policies to support a transition to clean and efficient energy economy, it’s always refreshing to step back and look at the broader picture. Short of geo-engineering, it well understood that the climate solutions have two big portions: reducing our emissions, and managing land use to better sequester carbon from the atmosphere. What we sometimes forget is that sequestering carbon can happen on land and at sea, especially in coastal ecosystems.

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The Narrative

The Narrative

Soil, Crop, & Storm Water Benefits of Solar Sites

When investing $1-$2 million per acre in solar panels, one tends to focus on the benefits directly generated by the new hardware — 100% fuel-free energy with no moving parts. However—simply by using the right seed mix—each of these sites can also provide significant agricultural benefits related to storm water, soil, and crop pollination.

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State of Green Business 2016

The State of Green Business Report is one of the most widely read reports identifying key global trends in corporate sustainability. Fresh Energy is one of two non-profit organizations included among the report’s 10 video profiles of sustainability leaders.

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Transportation & Land Use

Transportation & Land Use

325,000 reserved the new Tesla – what does it mean for EVs?

This is the latest is a series of events showing the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in Minnesota and nationally, including an all-electric room at the Twin Cities Auto Show and a steep discount on the Nissan Leaf in the month of March. With the Chevy Bolt (another 200 mile electric vehicle expected to cost around $35,000) set to release next year, a year ahead of the Model 3, a new issue is about to be raised in the world of electric vehicles: the downside of being first to market.

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Tackling transportation issues this session

As the legislative session gets underway, there has been growing demand from local leaders around the state calling for the legislature to pass a sustainable, long-term funding package that support all transportation options, from biking and walking trails to public transportation and road repair.

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DRIVE – NEUTRAL – REVERSE: What’s shifting EV markets?

The market for electric vehicles (EVs) has been developing rapidly over the past several years. As the market matures, it has the potential to make a dramatic impact not only on the auto industry but electric utilities, consumers, and the entire electric grid. To make sense of it all, we took a look at which market forces are shifting EVs into DRIVE, which are keeping the market in NEUTRAL, and which are moving things in REVERSE.

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