Issues

Transportation & Land Use

#SaferStreets are better for businesses, families, and the community

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One of the biggest challenges in our current transportation system is the way our streets are designed. In many parts of our communities the only safe option for people to get around town is to drive a car, raising costs and limiting options for businesses, families, and the community as a whole. Last year, St Paul sought to address this issue by creating and passing a long-term plan for expanding safe transportation options throughout the city. This bike plan established a comprehensive network of safe bike routes – making it easier for people to reduce congestion, wear and tear, and their associated costs on our streets. Now, with a long term plan in place, business leaders, city officials, and state lawmakers are standing up to support safer streets for St Paul.

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Energy Efficiency

Minnesota’s opportunity for better buildings with SB 2030

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This summer, the Minnesota Environmental Board (EQB) released the Climate Solutions and Economic Opportunities Report (CSEO Report), laying out the need to expand Minnesota’s “zero energy” building code, Sustainable Buildings 2030 (SB 2030). SB 2030 is an initiative to make all newly constructed and renovated buildings carbon neutral by 2030. It is a voluntary program for private Minnesota buildings as well as a requirement for all buildings receiving general obligation bond funding. This energy standard has led to an approximate savings of 534 billion BTUs and $8.3 million per year compared to the minimum energy code requirements.

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Energy Efficiency

Fresh Energy proposes decoupling, improved energy conservation for Otter Tail Power

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Today, Fresh Energy filed expert testimony in Otter Tail Power’s current rate case at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), proposing a full revenue decoupling mechanism that could improve energy conservation investments for consumers. Otter Tail Power had proposed increasing the monthly customer charge from $8.50 to $13.30. This monthly charge is largely seen as discouraging energy conservation and energy efficiency because customers will pay the same amount no matter how much energy they use. Fresh Energy instead put forward a decoupling proposal that would help address Otter Tail Power’s concerns around stable revenue streams while allowing for substantial energy efficiency efforts and cost savings by the utility and its customers

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Global Warming

Technology, innovation, and energy

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A child born in Cairo, Egypt, Ramez Naam went on to become a leading expert on technology and innovation. On October 5, Ramez Naam will keynote Fresh Energy’s inaugural fundraising breakfast, bursting with insights that with the right policy framework, another wave of technology innovation just might be genius enough to maximize our chances of overcoming one of humankind’s most daunting and intractable problems: climate change and fossil fuel dependency.

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Clean Energy

MN regulators adopt first of its kind value of solar rate

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Today, Minnesota regulators adopted a value of solar rate for Xcel Energy’s community solar program – consistent with detailed recommendations made by Fresh Energy. The decision comes after more than a year of work by nonprofits, utilities, solar businesses, and regulators to shape the next phase of Xcel Energy’s community solar program. Though there has been tremendous interest in community solar in Minnesota so far, progress on the solar gardens themselves had been slow. However, we now expect 400 – 450 MW of community solar projects in service by the end of 2017. Today’s decision will apply to the next phase of community solar projects.

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Energy Efficiency

Fresh Energy Welcomes Senior Policy Associate Ben Rabe

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Ben joined Fresh Energy in June of 2016 as a senior policy associate on the energy performance team, leading the organization’s work on energy efficiency related to building performance. We are thrilled to have Ben on the Fresh Energy team driving our efforts to maximize building efficiency through organization’s policy development and advocacy, legislative engagement, and communications work.

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Energy Efficiency

Fresh Energy Welcomes Our Summer Fellows

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Fellows help power Fresh Energy programs – and provide professional experience to emerging clean energy leaders. This summer, Fresh Energy is excited to welcome our summer fellows Ana Diaz, Kate Strickland, and Saskia Zinn. We also recently said farewell to our spring fellow Dave Evans.

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Clean Energy

EPA agrees with Fresh Energy, provides opportunities for solar in low-income communities

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On June 16, the Environmental Protection Agency agreed with Fresh Energy’s recommendations and announced updates to its proposed Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), a voluntary program that helps states meet their Clean Power Plan goals by encouraging investments in clean, renewable energy in the two years before the first compliance deadline.

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Clean Energy

Regulators approve Minnesota Power’s utility controlled community solar program

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Last week, Minnesota regulators approved a utility controlled community solar program for Minnesota Power, creating new options for utility customers and taking steps to grow the solar market in Northern Minnesota communities. While the program falls short of what Fresh Energy recommended, our coordinated efforts with other energy experts and local advocates improved upon the utility’s initial proposal.

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