What we do

For more than 20 years, Fresh Energy has transformed widely held economic and environmental ideas into smart energy policy.

Energy Efficiency

The way we currently use energy—in our buildings, our manufacturing facilities, our generation, our lighting and appliances, and our transportation—could be far more efficient. Efficiently using our energy—using less energy while getting more from it by being smarter about the way we use it—would create jobs, save consumers and businesses money, and reduce energy consumption, cutting demands on our electric system and making us more energy independent. Fresh Energy pursues greater energy efficiency through smart legislation, improvements to current laws, better regulations, savvy financial strategies, market-friendly policies, and working with utility partners and service providers to increase energy efficiency implementation.

Renewable Energy

The production of electricity causes more pollution than any other industry on the planet. It’s responsible for smog, acid rain, mercury poisoning in our lakes and rivers, and global warming. That’s why Fresh Energy aggressively promotes the use of clean, renewable electricity sources like wind and sun. Here in the Midwest we’re uniquely situated to take advantage of these opportunities and become a global leader in clean energy. Fresh Energy pursues these innovations through smart new legislation, improvements to current laws, better regulations, savvy financial strategies, and market-friendly policies.


Every day, Americans use 20 million barrels of oil to fuel their gasoline consumption. As easy-to-reach supplies dwindle, rising fuel prices are emptying our wallets and compromising global security, while pollution from cars and trucks fills our skies, damaging our health and increasing global warming. We need a 21st-century transportation system that meets our needs while supporting the transition to a clean energy economy. Fresh Energy promotes innovative transportation and land-use policies that will help speed this transition and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Learn more about Complete Streets at the Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition. Learn more about electric vehicles at Drive Electric Minnesota.

Built Environment

According to the Alliance to Save Energy, buildings’ energy use adds up to more than 40 percent of the United States’ energy demands and more than 70 percent of its electricity. In the average home, 54 percent of the energy used is for heating and cooling. Fresh Energy pursues policies that make our built environment more efficient—saving consumers money and cutting carbon emissions. Learn more about energy efficiency in buildings: energy codesresources on buildings

Carbon Reduction

The Earth’s temperature is rising and human activity is the primary cause. Climate change causes disruptions that put our food and water supply at risk, endanger our health, and jeopardize our national security. The problem is carbon pollution from power plants, vehicles, and buildings. Fresh Energy promotes tough state and national laws and standards that lead to deep, permanent reductions in pollution from power plants, vehicles, and industry. We support policies and leaders that will limit the worst impacts of global warming and create a modern energy system that makes Minnesota and the Midwest leaders in the clean energy economy. Learn more about global warming: science | Minnesota policy | resources | FAQ | protect clean air

Organizational Strength

Fresh Energy aims to build our brand and value by utilizing our staff, website, social media, and conventional media channels to maintain high visibility for the organization and for our policy positions and initiatives, expand our community of individual and institutional supporters to create a diverse source of financial and policy support, maintain a high-performing organization through monitoring evaluation, and provide the infrastructure, tools, training, and positive culture that staff need to work collaboratively and reach their full potential.

Past projects

Candidate education
Fresh Energy hosted a series of four events in mid-August 2012 to brief all candidates for election to the state Legislature on energy and transportation issues in Minnesota. This is part of Fresh Energy’s continuing work with state officials to promote and protect smart, clean energy, and transportation policies in our state.

Always On: Reliable electricity in an age of coal plant retirement
A collaboration between Fresh Energy and the Izaak Walton League of America, this project introduced a narrative that highlights the changing face of our electricity generation system in the 21st century. In particular, it focuses on moving past the outdated notion that large dirty coal and nuclear power plants are the only way to provide reliable electricity around the clock. The report was published October 2012.

Free forums on clean energy, climate, and health
in 2012, Fresh Energy partnered with the Will Steger Foundation to host free public forums on clean energy, climate, and health across Minnesota. In cities across the state—Moorhead, Rochester, New Ulm, St. Cloud, Winona, Willmar, and St. Paul—polar explorer Will Steger, Fresh Energy’s J. Drake Hamilton, and local hosts discussed how unabated climate change is impacting Minnesota, what’s at stake for our state’s economy, and the steps we must take on our path to clean energy.