11.15.16 // Election puts change in the wind on Minn. energy policy Noble said the price for clean energy has fallen to the point that it doesn’t make economic sense to go backward. (Michael Noble – MPR)
10.19.16 // Minnesota Power to shut down two coal generators early ”What their analysis is showing is that combinations of clean energy are often cheaper than burning coal.” (J. Drake Hamilton - MPR, Southernminn.com)
10.19.16 // Minnesota Power shutting down two more coal generators “We are pleased with the company’s economic decision not to wait another six years, and the several years of lead time before 2018 allows them to provide for a smooth transition for the plant’s workers to other positions at the company.” (J. Drake Hamilton – Duluth News Tribune, Grand Forks Herald, Fargo Forum)
10.14.16 // State regulators approve Xcel’s plan to shut down Becker coal-fired plants “We think this is really good policy,” said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director for Fresh Energy, a St. Paul renewable energy research and advocacy group. (Star Tribune, Post Bulletin)
10.14.16 // Xcel to replace 1.4 GW of coal with renewables, gas as Minnesota regulators approve IRP According to environmental group Fresh Energy, Xcel’s next resource plan will explore scenarios for the retirement of its remaining coal and nuclear plants, including the Sherco, King, Monticello and Prairie Island facilities. (Utility Dive)
10.13.16 // Here’s what Xcel Energy’s plan for MN power plants means for you But one organization that has a complaint is St. Paul based Fresh Energy, which according to its news outlet Midwest Energy News is 95 percent in favor of Xcel’s plan. (J. Drake Hamilton – GoMN)
10.13.16 // Minnesota regulators set to decide Sherco’s future “Prices are coming down so fast that if you lock in fossil fuels like natural gas, you’re in essence creating a very big risk for ratepayers that those (plants) will be stranded assets.” (J. Drake Hamilton – Midwest Energy News)
10.4.16 // Xcel Poises For PUC Decision On Renewables-Boosting Energy Plan “This Thursday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will hold its final hearing on Xcel Energy’s 15-year energy plan, which would double the amount of wind and solar on the utility’s system, according to an announcement from Fresh Energy and the Sierra Club. (North American Wind Power)
9.22.16 // Xcel plans big expansion in wind power, adding enough capacity for 750,000 homes “Xcel’s visionary leadership on reducing the use of imported fossil fuels in the electric system is a model for utilities and energy companies across America.” (Michael Noble – Star Tribune)
9.21.16 // Tesla superchargers come to Oakdale “These are cars that you can get for twenty or thirty thousand dollars up front and save big time on the back end by charging with low-cost local energy like wind and solar.” (Matt Privratsky - Lillie News)
9.8.16 // Rate impacts of decoupling in Minnesota are minimal so far “Decoupling is a growing trend. This is where Minnesota is a leader of identifying this as a customer charge issue and identifying the alternative.” (Will Nissen – Midwest Energy News)
8.24.16 // Minn. says even without coal import ban, renewables will flourish “In Minnesota, coal plants that were serving Minnesota load a decade ago are closing right and left from economic pressure, and that pressure is best exemplified by the fact that energy efficiency and clean energy alternatives are undercutting them in terms of price,” J. Drake Hamilton added. “If you look at what’s happening across the United States, and especially in Minnesota, the world has dramatically moved on from coal.” (J. Drake Hamilton – ClimateWire)
8.23.16 // Safer Streets aims to make biking safer in St. Paul The nonprofit group Fresh Energy has enlisted the help of area civic leaders to push for safer streets for area motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists alike. (Matt Privratsky - Pioneer Press)
8.9.16 // A low-income St. Paul neighborhood has an ambitious energy plan “I think from our standpoint we’re proud to see Minnesota taking steps to make solar an option for households and families of modest incomes,” said policy associate Ben Passer. (Ben Passer - Midwest Energy News)
7.28.16 // New state office follows private sector’s lead in sustainability initiatives “By showing what works, Minnesota can be a model that others can adopt,” Privratsky said. (Matt Privratsky – Capitol Report)
7.25.16 // Minnesota first US state to embrace ‘value of solar’ tariff “The value of solar bill credit as adopted will be a transparent rate for subscribers that is based on a set 25-year bill credit schedule, creating clarity and reducing risk for subscribers.” (Allen Gleckner – Smart Grid News)
7.25.16 // Minnesota first to adopt ‘value of solar’ approach for community solar Fresh Energy expects 400 MW to 450 MW of community solar projects to enter service by the end of 2017, policy director Allen Gleckner wrote. (Utility Dive)
7.22.16 // ‘Value of solar’ gains another foothold in Minnesota “We think the value of solar is the best credit option. It was an excellent decision and a win for subscribers.” (Allen Gleckner – Midwest Energy News)
7.21.16 // Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approves size caps, rate structure for solar projects “This is really precedent setting,” said Allen Gleckner, director of energy markets at Fresh Energy, a solar advocacy group. “To our knowledge, it is the first time a value of solar rate has been implemented for a large utility.” (Star Tribune)
7.19.16 // Minnesota refinery plans major combined heat and power project Will Nissen, Fresh Energy’s energy performance director, said the project “will lead to a net reduction in carbon emissions.” (Midwest Energy News)
7.15.16 // Great River Energy to retire North Dakota coal plant In the past, Fresh Energy and other groups that promote renewable energy had pushed Minnesota regulators to require Great River Energy to study retirement of Stanton, but Friday’s decision came out of the blue, said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director for Fresh Energy. (MPR News)
7.15.16 // Great River Energy closing Stanton plant “Retiring this uneconomic coal unit will save money for GRE’s customers in North Dakota and Minnesota and help cut carbon pollution in North Dakota, a win-win-win for the utility, the states, and customers.”. (J. Drake Hamilton - The Dickinson Press)
7.5.16 // Sustainable: Electric car charging stations catching on Kukkonen, founder of PlugInConnect and coordinator of Fresh Energy’s electric vehicle program, created several websites to help explain how electric car infrastructure operates, including one filled with multifamily housing examples. (Finance & Commerce)
7.2.16 // Minnesota solar energy development caught up in delays “Unfortunately, Xcel sees this program to some extent as contrary to its existing business model,” said Allen Gleckner, senior policy director at Fresh Energy, a St. Paul nonprofit. (Star Tribune)
6.15.16 // Appeals court upholds ruling blocking Minnesota clean energy law “Maybe we needed the law in 2007,” said Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy, a St. Paul clean energy advocacy group that filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of Minnesota. “But in 2016, the three largest [U.S.] coal companies have gone bankrupt, and coal power plants are closing right and left.” (StarTribune)
6.15.16 // Reframe Minnesota’s conversation about disparities For Hardy, the path to the office includes public-, private- and nonprofit-sector experience, including a stop in St. Paul city government, where she worked as a planner. She also served as a policy director at the advocacy group Fresh Energy (Pioneer Press)
6.14.16 // Minnesota should go all in on electric buses The Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul region has the potential to become one of the world’s great urban centers – but to realize that potential we must lead in electrifying our entire transportation system, starting with electric buses. (Michael Noble and Michael Langley of Greater MSP - MinnPost)
6.10.16 // Minnesota regulators halt rural co-ops’ fixed charges for solar The Environmental Policy & Law Center and Fresh Energy filed a separate complaint that, in essence, argued that fixed fees were not appropriately filed and that co-ops shouldn’t be allowed to charge them. (Midwest Energy News)
6.10.16 // Minnesota Power plan approved by state PUC “Today’s decision would put Minnesota Power in step with customers’ support for an energy system that takes advantage of pollution-free resources available today at low cost, that reduce risks to human health.” (J. Drake Hamilton – Mesabi Daily News)
5.16.16 // Renewables advocates ask Minnesota regulators to streamline DER interconnection Renewables advocates Fresh Energy, Environmental Law & Policy Center, and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), filed a proposal with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission asking for a streamlining of the state’s interconnection standard. (Utility Dive)
5.16.16 // Minn. advocates look to speed up grid-connection process “Time is money, and delays in the process impact the financial requirements of these projects.” (Holly Lahd - EnergyWire)
5.13.16 // What is community solar and how does it work? Guest host Steve Thomson talks Community Solar Gardens with Matt Privratsky of Fresh Energy (WCCO Radio)
5.13.16 // Proposal seeks to speed approvals for Minnesota solar projects “The current standards are inadequate,” Lahd said. “Our proposal would update Minnesota’s interconnection standards with those of other states’ best practices and lessons learned from our own community solar experience.” (Midwest Energy News)
5.2.16 // Peabody coal’s contrarian scientist witnesses lose their court case It was a case argued mainly between environmental groups (such as Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and their clients Fresh Energy and the Sierra Club) and energy producers (such as the now-bankrupt coal company Peabody Energy) regarding what a reasonable social cost of carbon should be. (The Guardian)
4.28.16 // Commuter Choice Awards recognize sustainable transportation leaders While sustainable transportation naturally aligns with Fresh Energy’s mission, it also reflects a robust transportation benefits program. Employees can earn $2 per day by walking or biking to work. Fresh Energy also matches employee spending on transit. (Metro Transit Rider’s Almanac)
4.20.16 // Minnesota judge urges higher carbon price to guide utility system planning Since then it’s been raised to track inflation, but according to Minnesota advocacy group Fresh Energy, the cost still caps at less than $5/ton. (Utility Dive)
4.19.16 // ALJ: Minnesota Should Use Federal Costs of Carbon in Decisions She said the estimated $2.1 billion annual cost likely opened some eyes at the PUC. (J. Drake Hamilton - Bloomberg BNA)
4.18.16 // Updated climate change costs make coal-fired power less attractive Minnesota’s law is unique and will result in more prudent decisions on behalf of electricity customers,” Hamilton said. But the rate structure is “about 19 years behind the science.” (MPR)
4.14.16 // Gov. Mark Dayton appoints Shawntera Hardy DEED commissioner Hardy, a Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree in 2015, was formerly a St. Paul city planner and director of transportation and the built environment at St. Paul nonprofit Fresh Energy.” ( StarTribune, Pioneer Press, Business Journal, MinnPost)
4.13.16 // How Minnesota is approaching grid modernization as a vertically-integrated state “We have the technology to engage customers on their side of the meter, but we need the rates to enable it.” (Holly Lahd - Utility Dive)
4.13.16 // Study: Decoupling policies could boost efficiency spending, savings “Every utility demonstrated an increase in both spending and savings after decoupling was implemented.” (Will Nissen - Utility Dive)
4.7.16 // Mac hosts Power Dialog on renewable energy Panelists were leaders in industry, politics, civil service and NGOs, ranging from Chris Clark, the head of Xcel Energy in the Upper-Midwest, to Commissioner John Linc Stine of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and including representatives from both political parties and the NGO Fresh Energy. (J. Drake Hamilton - The Mac Weekly)
4.7.16 // Investment in energy conservation will pay off In making this investment, Mayor Larson is sending a clear signal to the marketplace. These projects and investments tell businesses that work in energy efficiency that Duluth is a good place to set up shop and grow jobs. (Will Nissen - Duluth News Tribune)
4.1.16 // Solar `speed dating’ matches consumers with firms that are building solar gardens “Consumers want to know where their energy is being produced and what their options are,” Privratsky said. (Matt Privratsky - StarTribune)
3.31.16 // The link between decoupling and success in utility-led energy efficiency As decoupling grows in popularity to realign the increasingly outdated utility business model with investments in energy efficiency, robust data establishing a link to program performance is more critical than ever. (Will Nissen - Electricity Journal)
3.29.16 // Minnesota co-ops rolling out high fixed charge for solar customers “The rates we’re seeing charged by Minnesota co-ops are the highest in the country,” said Allen Gleckner, a senior policy associate at Fresh Energy. (Allen Gleckner - Midwest Energy News)
3.28.16 // Minnesota legislators buzzing with electric, plug-in hybrid car rebate “The challenge with it is really that we have been using the same technology for the last century,” he said. “This helps the consumers to take the step forward.” (Jukka Kukkonen - StarTribune)
3.18.16 // Twin Cities Auto Show scraps Green Room for all Electric Currently, newer all-electric vehicles get 80 to 110 miles. Kukkonen believes that the 200-mile range will ignite the industry. (Jukka Kukkonen - StarTribune)
3.8.16 // Minnesota conservation groups attack EPA-approved pollution control plan The EPA’s approval spurred criticism by the National Parks Conservation Association, Voyageurs National Park Association, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, Sierra Club, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Fresh Energy, an independent energy nonprofit headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Great Lakes Echo)
3.7.16 // Are electric cars practical in Minnesota? ”The grid is getting cleaner all the time, whereas oil is just getting dirtier.” (Jukka Kukkonen - Minnesota Public Radio)
1.25.16 // Threats and opportunities on a key monarch anniversary ”It turns out, fields of ground-mounted solar panels can provide excellent habitat for monarchs and bees as well as song and game birds.” (Rob Davis - MinnPost)
12.31.15 // Energy Advocates Say We’re At Tipping Point For Electric Cars Fresh Energy’s Holly Lahd says the continued spread of charging stations will give owners the peace of mind needed to overcome their so-called battery range anxiety. “With the new vehicles getting over 100 miles per charge and, in 2017, maybe over 200 miles, these are going to be everywhere,” Lahd said. (Holly Lahd – WCCO)
12.17.15 // A look at our ‘not-so-wintry’ weather J. Drake Hamilton joins Paul Huttner to discuss the Paris climate agreement and what it means for Minnesota and the world. (J. Drake Hamilton, around the 45 minute mark – MPR News )
12.17.15 // What Paris means for Minnesota J. Drake Hamilton joins KAXE community radio in Grand Rapids to discuss the Paris climate agreement and what it means for Minnesota and the world. (J. Drake Hamilton, around the 20 minute mark - KAXE Radio )
12.15.15 // Lessons From the First Year of Xcel Energy’s Community Solar Program Will 2016 be smoother than 2015? Independent energy nonprofit Fresh Energy offers up some insight. (Allen Gleckner - GreenTechMedia)
12.10.15 // Paris Climate Talks ”We visit with J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director for Fresh Energy, a St. Paul based non-profit; and Patrick Hamilton, director of the Science Learning Division at Global Change Initiatives. They report from Paris where they’re observing the climate talks.” (J. Drake Hamilton - MinnPost)
12.8.15 // Can cities do anything about climate change, or do we have to wait for an international pact? “I don’t actually think there’s’ much of an urban/rural divide among people in Minnesota,” Hamilton told me. “There’s definitely a need for diversifying our economic opportunities. Clean energy that fights global warming is something that does that. Wind development in rural Minnesota has helped bring jobs and money to those counties.” (J. Drake Hamilton - MinnPost)
12.5.15 // Minnesota Power seeks bids for first big gas plant “Eventually, it benefits all customers to have utility resources be as nimble as possible, and to reflect the reality that carbon-emitting resources like gas will have increasing costs in the future,” she said. (J. Drake Hamilton - Duluth News Tribune and Grand Forks Herald)
12.3.15 // MSP Airport Throws Switch On Giant Solar Farm “Our statewide goal is around 300 to 400 megawatts by the year 2020, and we’re poised to meet or exceed that by the end of next year,” Lahd said. (Holly Lahd - WCCO and WDAY)
12.3.15 // State’s largest solar array now generating power at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport “As the investment tax credit declines, you are going to see new financing tools like the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds come into play,” Lahd said. (Holly Lahd - Star Tribune)
11.26.15 // St. Paul mayor prepares to lead delegation to Paris climate summit “I’m really looking forward to bringing stories of what Minnesota has already done to cut carbon,” said J. Hamilton. “Other countries are eager to see the richest nation in the world lead, and for years, we weren’t really leading. Now, things have changed.” (Pioneer Press and Grand Forks Herald)
11.3.15 // How can Minnesota implement efficient local energy that runs on wood? Combined heat and power (CHP) takes much of the heat that is wasted during traditional power generation and uses it to heat a building or a water system. This efficiency creates big time energy and financial savings – so why hasn’t it been more widely embraced? (MinnPost and Energy Manager Today)
10.24.15 // Plans booming for community solar gardens “The overarching reason for a community solar program is to provide options for all consumers – businesses, nonprofits, cities, school districts, no matter what income level or whether they own their own roof or not,” said Matt Privratsky (St Cloud Times)
10.21.15 // New energy program will help people save money and time “This program will help make things much easier for building owners and tenants,” added Passer. “Any program that can help make housing options more affordable and energy efficient is win-win.”(Osakis Review and Commercial Property Executive)
9.6.15 // Big power users face potentially smaller harvest from community solar gardens in Minnesota “Customers are eager to get new electricity options, and community solar is a way to provide those options,” Lahd said. (Holly Lahd – Star Tribune)
8.31.15 // General Mills Pledges 28 Percent Cut In Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 2025 “‘As an agricultural company, they’re seeing it maybe earlier than other companies are in their bottom line,’ said Holly Lahd with Fresh Energy.” (CBS Minnesota)
8.7.15 // Solar farms could make fertile habitats for bees and butterflies Investing in native habitat also may help developers manage water runoff. “We think it will pencil out the right way,” he said. (Rob Davis - GreenBiz )
8.4.15 // How hard will it be for MN to hit clean energy plan? ”We know how to do this, we know how to do it cost-effectively, and in Minnesota we’ve done it through utility collaboration and really smart energy policies that save energy and grow clean energy jobs,” she said. (J. Drake Hamilton – MPR News )
8.3.15 // EPA rule on coal power plants is push toward clean energy and efficiency In the final version, the EPA recognized the state’s early efforts at carbon reduction and reduced the 2030 carbon reduction target from 42 percent to 40.3 percent, said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director for the St. Paul nonprofit Fresh Energy, which supported the plan. (Star Tribune)
8.3.15 // Environmental advocate: U.S. must lead world in cutting carbon The Obama Administration now wants carbon dioxide pollution cut by 32 percent by 2030. Each state will have a different percentage, and Minnesota’s could be as high as 42 percent. J. Drake Hamilton, from the Minnesota advocacy group Fresh Energy, will be at the White House today for the announcement. (MPR News)
8.3.15 // Minnesota Power, MPCA ready for new carbon regulations ”This really could be the single largest step taken by anyone to combat climate change so far,” said J. Drake Hamilton, science and policy director Minnesota-based Fresh Energy, in advance of the final rule. “Especially heading into the discussions in December on a world stage.”(Duluth News Tribune)
8.3.15 // Our View: Emission rules: Minnesota on target to reduce carbon pollution “We’re in better shape because we have a couple of decades now of not just renewables but energy efficiency and with utilities that have always been at the table,” Hamilton said. “We got smart early on in Minnesota because we’re innovative people.” (J. Drake Hamilton – Duluth News Tribune)
7.20.15 // Xcel Energy’s large coal-fired generators at Becker face pressure for retirement “‘The time for excuses is past,’ said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director for Fresh Energy, a St. Paul nonprofit that for the first time conducted its own analysis of Xcel’s costs and needs, relying on the same modeling software used by the utility. ‘These are very old, very dirty units, not just in regard to carbon but with regard to soot pollution that is damaging to human health.’” (Star Tribune)
7.13.15 // Community solar coming to Xcel Energy customers But Rob Davis of Fresh Energy, a clean energy advocacy organization, said people shouldn’t have to wait for Xcel Energy to boost its solar output. ”I want to go solar more quickly,” he said. “And that’s where community solar comes in. You can go 50 or 100 percent solar. It’s your choice.” (Minnesota Public Radio)
7.9.15 // Coal-fired operations to end at Taconite Harbor Energy Center; plant will be idled in 2016 ”The closure of these units provides the opportunity for state regulators to continue their careful examination of how to transition Minnesota Power’s energy mix to more clean and efficient sources.” (J. Drake Hamilton – Duluth News Tribune)
7.9.15 // Minnesota Power to idle coal-burning power plant in Schroeder, Minn., in 2016 “This is a critical step for Minnesota. As renewable energy like wind and solar continue to undercut the costs of new natural gas, they can provide a lower-cost, cleaner option than natural gas for new electricity,” said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director at Fresh Energy (Star Tribune)
7.9.15 // Minnesota utility to shut down coal units on Lake Superior Fresh Energy science policy director J. Drake Hamilton said the Taconite Harbor’s closure “is a critical step for Minnesota. These were polluting old units. It is great news for the health of Minnesotans.” (Midwest Energy News)
7.8.15 // Minnesota energy company can reduce costs by retiring coal units “J. Drake Hamilton says retiring two Sherco units would be seven-and-a-half million dolllars cheaper than Xcel’s proposed 15-year plan.” (Radio 570 WNAX)
6.26.15 // Solar gardens can get only so big under agreement “‘They just want certainty in this program as they’re investing a lot of time and money and work,’ said Holly Lahd. ‘What does 5 megawatts co-located really mean?’” (Minnesota Public Radio)
6.25.15 // Minnesota utility regulators put limits on solar gardens Only the first crop of solar gardens can be built in five-unit clusters. Later this year, the limit drops to 1 megawatt. Holly Lahd said that could mean an end to solar garden development unless the rules are revised. (Star Tribune)
6.18.15 // Minnesota clean-energy advocates oppose new ‘grid fee’ “J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director for the group Fresh Energy, is among those who argued that the change is a step backward. ‘It dis-incentivizes those customers who are voluntarily trying to clean up their own energy use at their home and in their community with these highly unfavorable, discriminatory rates,’ Hamilton said. ‘We think it’s very bad policy.’” (Associated Press; Minnesota Public Radio)
6.17.15 // Will Steger makes push for clean energy commitment in Minnesota “Minnesota is already on track to meet the Clean Power Plan standards, and that’s because we have strong renewable energy standards … that we have already met because we have been aggressive,” [J. Drake Hamilton] said. “Minnesota is proof positive that a state can cost-effectively create excellent-paying jobs and cut carbon very aggressively.”(Forum News Service)
6.6.15 // Revolt against high gas prices, volatile foreign oil markets! Power your car with wind “‘It’s a lot more secure than bringing [fuel] from far-away, unstable places,’ noted Michael Noble. (Into the Wind)
6.5.15 // Co-op powers EVs completely with wind “‘There has never been so much innovation going into producing vehicles that are faster, safer, cleaner, and cheaper and easier to maintain,’ said Michael Noble.” (Fierce Energy)
6.3.15 // Great River Energy Offers Free Wind Energy Upgrade for Electric Vehicles “There has never been so much innovation going in to producing vehicles that are faster, safer, cleaner, and cheaper and easier to maintain,” said Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy, a nonprofit organization that advocates for acceleration of Minnesota’s transition to a clean energy economy. (Business Wire)
5.30.15 // City has chance to lead with solar J. Drake Hamilton: “Voters across Minnesota overwhelmingly support a transition from coal to clean energy. Bipartisan polling shows 91 percent of voters select solar energy as their top preference for new energy.” (Red Wing Republican Eagle)
5.29.15 // Regulators give green light to largest Minnesota solar energy project “This signals that something big is happening in solar energy in Minnesota,” said Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy, a St. Paul nonprofit that advocates greater reliance on renewable energy. (StarTribune)
5.18.15 // Events will show progress toward clean energy J. Drake Hamilton: “Just as our national policies begin to catch up to effective policies tested and proven in Minnesota, the timing may be right for a truly global agreement on effective climate action. In December, leaders from 192 nations will gather for what is likely the most historic opportunity for moving forward on clean energy.” (St Cloud Times)
4.27.15 // In crafting energy policy, remember the ‘Minnesota Way‘ “It’s a story worth revisiting (see the oral history released this week by Fresh Energy) not just because it helped put Minnesota at the forefront of national energy policy, but also because it should serve as a shining example of what we can accomplish when we do things the right way, the Minnesota Way.” (MinnPost)
4.26.15 // Sustainability advocates want say in DMC project “‘We’re really going to put Rochester and Minnesota on the map as being able to develop a world-class set of facilities that serve healthcare and also are a shining light for what we can do throughout the world,’ J. Drake Hamilton said.” (ABC 6 News)
4.13.15 // Superfund to solar: Plan to transform ex-ammo plant takes shape “Things that were unimaginable five years ago are technically possible now,” Michael Noble said. “A community that is producing as much energy as it consumes is now possible and doable and is on the drawing boards in the Twin Cities.” (Minnesota Public Radio)
4.10.15 // Utility to cut sulfur emissions at Lake Superior coal plant The report is required to have detailed analysis of the costs of upgrading old coal plants compared with building new generation facilities which would have fewer emissions, said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director at Fresh Energy. “What Minnesota Power has found in other plants is that it makes more sense to retire and replace those older units with cleaner sources of energy,” she said. (Midwest Energy News)
4.10.15 // Political divide emerges over Minnesota energy policy “If any large part of this were to become law, it would be going backward, not forward,” said Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy, a St. Paul-based nonprofit that helped draft the 2013 state law that has triggered increased investment in solar power across the state. (Startribune)
4.9.15 // Builders ask lawmakers for more flexible energy code “In general, we felt the bill was a little too vague and we want to ensure that consumers are getting what they are paying for – a home that won’t be drafty and is built to standards of our current code,” Alison Lindburg, policy director for Fresh Energy added.” (Finance and Commerce – paywall)
2.17.15 // Minnesota’s Solar Garden Program Helps Small Businesses “‘We call these [solar investment] deals mall developments because you can’t build a shopping mall without there being an anchor tenant. And school districts and Fortune 500 corporations and people with Blue Chip credit are serving as the anchor tenants,’ said Michael Noble.” (3BL Media/Justmeans)
1.14.15 // ‘Solar Gardens’ Growing New Potential for Energy in Minnesota “Michael Noble said the program not only has the potential to boost the state’s renewable energy portfolio, but it also promotes commercial investments in the state.” (Triple Pundit)
1.13.15 // Ecolab to go all-solar in Minnesota “Michael Noble, executive [director] of Fresh Energy, a St. Paul nonprofit that backed the state solar law, said it offers a ‘forward-looking strategy’ for corporations, many of which have made sustainability part of their missions. ‘Ecolab is smart to lock in on long-term, stable, carbon-free energy,’ Noble said.” (Star Tribune)
12.30.14 // 10 Ways politics shaped the environment in 2014 “It was Michael Noble, however, who put the outcome into current perspective. ‘They won their litigation, but the world is moving on from coal.’” (Triple Pundit)
12.19.14 // Xcel gets 427 solar garden applications in Minnesota “It is exciting that commercial projects are coming together,” said Michael Noble. “Minnesota has been way behind on solar power and it looks like we are going to catch up with other states.” (Star Tribune)
11.25.14 // Insights into ACEEE’s First Intelligent Efficiency Conference Interview with Will Nissen at the ACEEE Intelligent Efficiency Conference in San Francisco. (Center for Energy and the Environment)
11.24.14 // Clean energy groups join N.D.-Minn. energy appeal “[Scott Strand's] legal brief in support of Minnesota’s position was filed on behalf of the center, the nonprofit advocacy group Fresh Energy and the Izaak Walton League.” (Star Tribune)
11.19.14 // Environmentalists and Corporations Make Strange Bedfellows . . . Or Do They? Watch J. Drake Hamilton on a panel discussing 21st century partnerships between environmentalists and corporations. (University of Minnesota)
11.17.14 // Experts, advocates make competing claims on high-voltage transmission “Michael Goggin is testifying on behalf of Wind on the Wires, Fresh Energy and the Izaak Walton League of America. All support the Badger-Coulee project.” (The La Crosse Tribune)
10.14.14 // MN Next: Climate change and Minnesota Maddy Mahon talks with J. Drake Hamilton discussing climate change and what it means for Minnesota’s future. (Minnesota Public Radio)
10.8.14 // An ice-free Arctic “‘For a long time humans have been very green but politicians have not,’ J. Drake Hamilton said.” (Red Wing Republican Eagle)
10.1.14 // Editorial: Let’s warm up to tackling a global concern This editorial discusses the October 4 climate forum that featured Will Steger and J. Drake Hamilton as speakers. (Red Wing Republican Eagle)
7.22.14 // Minnesota backers praise EPA carbon rules “‘We know that there are costs being incurred because of our inaction on global warming and climate change,’ said J. Drake Hamilton.” (Minnesota Public Radio)
7.8.14 // Editorial: The answer is blowin’ in the wind “According to Fresh Energy…the wind industry has invested $5.6 billion in the Minnesota economy.” (Worthington Daily Globe)
6.24.14 // Twin Cities electric-car owners are putting the brakes on gas “‘This law is a win-win-win,’ J. Drake Hamilton said. ‘It’s a significant savings to customers, an extraordinary market opportunity for electric utilities and timely action for Minnesota.’” (Star Tribune)
6.22.14 // Combat climate change: Duluth knows all about bad storms “We’re already incurring costs from climate change so it’s not a question of whether we’re going to start spending money because of carbon pollution. We’re already spending money by not cutting carbon pollution. Certainly Duluth has seen that in spades.” (Duluth News Tribune)
6.22.14 // Combat climate change: ‘Minnesota has been a leader’ “…what we really like about this plan is that (it’s being left) up to the states to meet with people and stakeholders (and to determine state-by-state how to meet the standards). How will it work best for Minnesota?” (Duluth News Tribune)
6.15.14 // J. Drake Hamilton: Environmental Protection Agency rules energize heartland while responsibly cutting carbon “The Clean Power Plan gives our states flexibility to create customized solutions. The mix of energy efficiency, wind power and solar energy each state deploys by 2030 to cut carbon will vary, but our children can—and do—expect us by 2030 to spur large amounts of clean energy development to power their future.” (Grand Forks Herald)
6.13.14 // Minnesota introduces statewide off-peak EV charging rate “The law should also encourage economic growth in Minnesota as growing demand for electric vehicles and charging facilities would create jobs in the construction and maintenance sector, according to Michael Noble.” (Utility Dive)
6.13.14 // Minnesota scores first-in-United States statewide electric vehicle charging discount rate “More than 1.3 million households throughout the state will have the chance to take advantage of off-peak rates when recharging their plug-ins during hours outside of the 4:00PM to 8:00PM time frame, clean energy advocate Fresh Energy says.” (AutoBlogGreen)
6.9.14 // Other Views: Minnesota leads in reducing emissions “The utilities have discovered, often to their surprise, that the status quo is not the cheaper option, said J. Drake Hamilton.” (Fergus Falls Journal)
6.6.14 // Group asks Xcel to try tiered pricing “‘This is an opportunity to lower your energy bill in a way that’s more beneficial to you as a low-use customer than the current flat-rate structure,” said Will Nissen.” (The Mankato Free Press)
6.6.14 // Groups ask Xcel to try tiered pricing; say charging heavy users more will spur conservation “Will Nissen says the system would also benefit low-use customers.” (Star Tribune)
6.6.14 // Minnesota leads in reducing emissions; New EPA policy would catch up to this state’s healthy pace “The utilities have discovered, often to their surprise, that the status quo is not the cheaper option,’ said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director of Fresh Energy.” (Star Tribune)
6.5.14 // New billing method proposed for Xcel would raise rate for energy hogs “It rewards customers who have already invested in energy efficiency or engage in other conservation measures,” said Will Nissen, a policy associate at Fresh Energy, a St. Paul nonprofit group that joined with others to propose the plan to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. (Star Tribune)
6.5.14 // Environmental groups want Xcel to use tiered energy pricing “This is an opportunity to lower your energy bill in a way that’s more beneficial to you [as] a low-use customer than the current flat-rate structure,” said Will Nissen, a policy associate for Fresh Energy. “And it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the best energy resource we have in Minnesota, which is simply the kilowatt hour you don’t use.” (Minnesota Public Radio)
6.4.14 // Obama orders Minnesota to cut emissions by 41 percent “J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director for Fresh Energy, said the wind power industry has invested $5.5 billion in Minnesota’s economy and supports about 2,000 jobs.” (Associated Press | Rochester Post-Bulletin)
6.3.14 // Feds point to Minnesota as example of how to cut greenhouse gases “J. Drake Hamilton said even more conservation can be done. ‘What every analysis shows is that we are not near the ceiling of what we can do with energy efficiency,’ she said.” (Star Tribune)
6.2.14 // Obama orders Minnesota to cut emissions 41 percent “J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director for Fresh Energy, said the wind power industry has invested $5.5 billion in Minnesota’s economy and supports about 2,000 jobs.” (Associated Press | seattlepi.com)
6.2.14 // Minnesota ordered to cut carbon emissions 41 percent “J. Drake Hamilton said the wind power industry has invested $5.5 billion in Minnesota’s economy and supports about 2,000 jobs.” (Pioneer Press)
5.24.14 // Your Turn: Minnesota must change with climate “Climate change is not a distant threat but is visible today—including in Minnesota, the third-fastest warming state.” (St. Cloud Times)
5.12.14 // J. Drake Hamilton of Fresh Energy – Minnesota’s Climate Ian Levitt talks with J. Drake Hamilton about what we can expect in Minnesota when it comes to the future of our climate. (AM950)
5.7.14 // National Climate Assessment Highlights Minnesota’s Need to Reduce Risk “According to J. Drake Hamilton, ‘Climate change is fundamentally changing our nation’s environment and starting to impose real costs to Minnesota’s health and our economy. Thankfully, many solutions are available if leaders act quickly to tackle the impacts head on.’” (Insurance News Net)
5.7.14 // The National Climate Assessment’s Minnesota outlook “‘We’re seeing later frosts in many years, which can take out some crops, and an increase in crop diseases that used to be pushed back by our tough winters,’ J. Drake Hamilton said.” (Minnesota Public Radio)
5.6.14 // Climate change threatens forests, Great Lakes “J. Drake Hamilton said evidence suggests climate change played a part in the polar vortex weather phenomenon that caused temperatures to dip in January.” (Duluth News Tribune)
5.6.14 // New climate change report: “Decreased agricultural productivity“ Link to an article from Minnesota Public Radio featuring J. Drake Hamilton. (MinnPost)
5.6.14 // Q & A with J. Drake Hamilton J. Drake Hamilton gives more in-depth answers about the National Climate Assessment report. (Minnesota Public Radio)
5.6.14 // Report: Climate change bringing more severe weather to Minnesota “We are likely to see reduced yields and crop failures,” said J. Drake Hamilton. “And, in fact, the science is pointing to corn as being damaged by temperatures that exceed 90 degrees for more than a day or two. (Minnesota Public Radio)
4.6.14 // Xcel conservation programs shave 1.7 percent off power sales “That kilowatt-hour that you don’t use is always the cheapest,” said Will Nissen. (Star Tribune)
4.2.14 // Shocking: Drivers set to get break filling up (electric) cars “…the bill also removes regulatory uncertainty and clears the way for rate-regulated utilities to really become champions for electric vehicle adoption here in Minnesota.” (Watchdog)
3.31.14 // Sustainable: Minnesota to set up ‘value-of-solar’ tariff “Our understanding of how to quantify the benefits of solar has become more robust,” Erin Stojan Ruccolo said. “This was seen as a way to revisit this issue and see if we could do a much better job of figuring out what solar is worth.” (Finance and Commerce)
3.31.14 // Blunt Climate Report Urges Action J. Drake Hamilton talks to KFAI’s Terry Carter about a new United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. (KFAI)
3.28.14 // Largest-ever Minnesota solar project gets tentative regulator approval “Solar wins the bid on economics alone,” Michael Noble said. “The environmental benefits are just a bonus.” (Star Tribune)
2.19.14 // NEWS DAY | 7-UP or Schlitz? Setting Minnesota’s legislative agenda Shawntera Hardy took part in the Q&A at the 2014 Legislative Session (Un-Session) Preview hosted by the McKnight Foundation on February 19. (Twin Cities Daily Planet)
February 2014 // The business of being a good neighbor Alexis Williams wrote a piece for the Minnesota Christian Examiner about the importance of aligning our daily choices and actions with our values. (See page 5.)
1.25.14 // PUC to update ‘external cost’ for Minnesota power sources ‘“What this would do is to cause Minnesota to take a hard look before investments are made in power plants so that … we have a sense of what those ultimate costs would be, and we’ll make fewer bad decisions,” said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director with the nonprofit Fresh Energy.’
1.24.14 // Climate could change Mississippi ‘Scientists “have been really clear that it is the decisions human beings make on energy in the next few years that will determine this trajectory,” J. Drake Hamilton said. “This is not (yet) written in stone.”’
1.10.14 // Conference explores state’s approach to renewable energy projects “…Xcel’s aggressive move to add wind power in 2013 represents an investment of more than $3.5 billion, said Michael Noble of Minnesota-based Fresh Energy.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
1.7.14 // Energy reporters criticize “60 Minutes” episode Midwest Energy News’s Ken Paulman was interviewed about a recent “60 Minutes” episode that claimed energy efficiency is a failure. (Media Matters)
10.12.13 // Environmental experts want “real” cost of coal considered “’Minnesota is poised to make important, long-range decisions about major investments in its energy future,’ said J. Drake Hamilton. ‘It is imperative that Minnesota use sound, up-to-date information about the real human health and environmental costs and consequences of electricity decisions.’” (Star Tribune)
10.10.13 // News study paints sweltering picture of future climate “In fact, as soon as 2047, just 34 years from now, the coldest years will be warmer than the hottest years of the past. ‘Your viewers will be alive then, and their kids, whose futures they’re preparing for, will be very much alive,’ said J. Drake Hamilton.” (WCCO)
10.8.13 // Greenspace: Laws, dollars may help Minnesota solar energy shine brighter “‘Perceptions about solar energy have changed,’ said Ross Abbey, one of the report authors. ‘Right now, we have lots of players all pushing in the same direction.’ Those players, he said, include everyone from the U.S. Department of Energy to grassroots organizations trying to change our energy production.” (Post Bulletin)
10.2.13 // J. Drake Hamilton, Science Policy Director of Fresh Energy on The Daily Report “Climate change is a human caused problem, with human solutions. Everything we can do for clean energy is a step in the right direction.” (AM950)
9.30.13 // Latest warming report draws a line not to cross J. Drake Hamilton joins the Daily Circuit discussion on the latest global warming report and its ramifications. (Minnesota Public Radio)
9.20.13 // Steger headlines forum on climate, energy, and health “Everyone has an opinion,” said J. Drake Hamilton. “But if you have a question about climate science you should go to the people who publish climate science …. of the more than 4,000 academic papers published over the last 20 years, 97.1 percent agree that climate change is caused by human actions.” (Granite Falls Advocate Tribune)
9.17.13 // ‘Eyewitness’ to climate change in polar regions urges citizens to take action here Asked why they persevere, J. Drake Hamilton said they want to be able to answer future generations who will ask what we did in 2013 about climate change. “We think the answer to that is we did everything we could and it worked.’’ (West Central Tribune)
9.17.13 // Steger speaks on energy issues at CURE event “There is an urgent need for action,” J. Drake Hamilton said, “but if humans are responsible for it, humans can do something about it.” (Marshall Independent)
9.13.13 // Replacing Sherco’s coal Policy associate Alexis Williams’s letter in response to September 11 article, “Power plants singled out for carbon output.” (Pioneer Press)
9.10.13 // Steger to host clean energy forum in Granite Falls, Minnesota “Steger and Drake Hamilton urge clean energy solutions to reduce our carbon emissions while also building our economy.” (West Central Tribune)
8.14.13 // Midwest’s large coal-burning power plants are getting new life “The amount of carbon coming out of these power plants is something a lot of people are not aware of,” said J. Drake Hamilton. “They are by far the No. 1 source of carbon pollution in the state and in the country. To continue year after year adding to that very negative legacy is not a viable policy.” (Star Tribune)
7.10.13 // In wake of Xcel study, forum pulls in crowd ‘J. Drake Hamilton said Sherco is an opportunity for Minnesota to modernize its energy system. She was involved in Xcel’s study but said she was disappointed the company decided to keep burning coal.’ (St. Cloud Times)
7.2.13 // No plans to end coal-fired power at Sherco “For folks who were listening to President Obama’s direction to the Environmental Protection Agency last week, he made it clear that he is closing the loophole that now exists for existing coal burning power plants, that they’re putting carbon pollution in the atmosphere and not paying the costs,” said J. Drake Hamilton. (Minnesota Public Radio)
7.2.13 // Sherco efficiency study recommends continued operation of older units “We think the study is a missed opportunity for investing in clean energy,” said J. Drake Hamilton. Hamilton said Xcel’s study should have planned for a higher cost of carbon dioxide emissions, which is expected to increase as federal regulations tighten. (St. Cloud Times)
6.30.13 // Fox 9 anchor Heidi Collins interviewed policy associate Ross Abbey regarding common myths surrounding the transition to plug-in electric vehicles. (Fox 9)
6.26.13 // What will new climate plan mean in Minnesota? Three experts read the tea leaves “And we’re a little bit stuck now,” J. Drake Hamilton said. “The utilities have had flat demand growth for the last few years. We don’t need new power plants. And it’s much more straightforward to invest in renewables when you’re growing and adding capacity to meet rising demand.” (MinnPost)
6.26.13 // Minnesota Power to take a hit from Obama’s emissions plan “We’ve already learned in Minnesota that energy efficiency, using less energy and adding more solar and wind energy can replace coal-fired power plants,” said J. Drake Hamilton. “Minnesota Power’s Boswell 4 plant produces something like 6 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. It’s the second-largest source in Minnesota.” (Duluth News Tribune)
6.26.13 // Minnesota utilities on track to exceed goals of Obama’s climate plan ‘As for environmental groups, they are generally applauding Obama’s initiative. Fresh Energy’s director of science policy, J. Drake Hamilton, called it the latest in the administration’s “steady and responsible steps” to reduce pollution.’ (Minnesota Public Radio)
6.26.13 // Minnesota likely out in front of carbon emissions, climate change mandates “The really great lesson from the electric sector is that by investing in clean energy and energy efficiency, you can also cut carbon pollution,” said J. Drake Hamilton. “And we need to find out how to do that in other parts of the economy.” (Star Tribune)
6.22.13 // Ross Abbey discusses expanding solar access to Minnesotans of all backgrounds Ross Abbey discussed solar accessibility and barriers to adoption on Green Rock Radio (AM950).
5.31.13 // New Minn. solar mandate seen as boost for fledgling alternative energy industry “We think it’s a good step forward down what we call the road to clean energy,” said J. Drake Hamilton. “This is going to maximize the potential for business owners and residents in Minnesota to have access to solar power generation.” (Associated Press, The Republic)
5.30.13 // Thanks to state law, solar panels are likely to be a more common sight “We think it’s a good step forward down what we call the road to clean energy,” said J. Drake Hamilton. “This is going to maximize the potential for business owners and residents in Minnesota to have access to solar power generation.” (Associated Press, St. Cloud Times)
5.29.13 // How other states are taking out insurance on the biggest risk of all Fresh Energy and Midwest Energy News are mentioned at Next Generation’s California Energy & Climate News in a piece about Minnesota’s groundbreaking new solar policies.
5.7.13 // Clean energy on the table: Advocates pushing for legislation this session Advocates from Fresh Energy, Riverland Community College, the Izaak Walton League, and the Audubon Society discussed potential legislation at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center with a huge focus on increased solar energy within the next two decades. (Austin Daily Herald)
5.3.13 // The state of renewable energy in Minnesota Erin Stojan Ruccolo joined Amanda Bilek (from the Great Plains Institute) on North Shore Community Radio (90.7FM) to talk about ideas and initiatives for making renewable energy a larger part of Minnesota’s energy base.
4.25.13 // Green groups push for review of Iron Range power plant plans Minnesota Power has proposed a $350 million retrofit to extend the life of its 585-megawatt Boswell Energy Center Unit 4 power plant until 2036, but environmentalist groups would rather it be shut down in 2016 and replaced with cleaner alternatives. “It’s an outdated notion,” said J. Drake Hamilton. (Pioneer Press)
4.23.13 // Wind power requirement proposal goes to state lawmakers “We think it’s time to nudge the standard forward,” said J. Drake Hamilton. “What we’re finding is that it’s interesting that Minnesota has a better solar resource than any other state in the Upper Midwest … but very far behind in how much we’ve actually developed.” (Mankato Free Press)
4.23.13 // Good Question: Is ‘Global Warming’ The Wrong Term To Use? Michael Noble was features on WCCO’s Good Question.
4.10.13 // Is your building an energy hog? (login required) “It’s a great way for Minneapolis to show it is a leader in pushing forward energy savings for buildings,” said Alison Lindburg. “It’s great that we are the first Midwest city to pass the ordinance.” (Finance & Commerce)
4.8.13 // McKnight fights climate change with $25 million in grants “The Midwest is historically the industrial heartland. Also the agricultural heartland. Also the most carbon-dependent part of the country,” Michael Noble said. “But we also have vast renewable energy resources. The wind energy is phenomenal. We have the best, cheapest solutions. And we’re also the part of the country that is the middle of the country politically. I think people believe that as goes the Midwest, so goes the nation on energy and climate policy. If they can do it in [the Midwest], that will set the bar for America.” (Star Tribune)
4.6.13 // Ross Abbey discussed solar policy on Green Rock Radio (AM950).
3.25.13 // Ethan Fawley explains the State Capitol transit debates on a Streets.MN podcast.
3.5.13 // J. Drake Hamilton stopped by The Nancy Nelson Show on AM950 to discuss the latest developments on clean energy at the Minnesota Capitol.
3.5.13 // Group ups ante on renewable energy In 2007, Minnesota set a standard of roughly 25 percent from renewable sources by 2025, and “now we must build on that foundation and take a next big step forward,” said Michael Noble. (Pioneer Press)
3.5.13 // Advocates want tougher renewable energy standard in Minn. “We want to build both on our legacy of clean renewable energy from wind power, and we want to start a new commitment to make solar energy as successful, prosperous and economic as wind energy already is,” Michael Noble said. (Minnesota Public Radio)
3.1.13 // 1 percent sales tax for transit proposed (login required) “There is a lot of excitement around Dayton’s proposal, but we also recognize that it’s really connected to the sales-tax base broadening that has received more of a mixed reception,” Ethan Fawley said. “What we’re saying is, ‘Let’s have a conversation about the sales tax specifically.’” (Finance & Commerce)
3.1.13 // Duluth-based Minnesota Power files clean energy plan Customers have a significant role in determining a power company’s direction, according to J. Drake Hamilton, the science policy director for Fresh Energy. “Customers must push them to maximize efficiency and energy savings now,” Hamilton said. (Duluth News Tribune)
2.27.13 // Minnesota Public Radio presents “Bill McKibben and J. Drake Hamilton on climate change“ Minnesota Public Radio broadcast the speeches of Bill McKibben and J. Drake Hamilton from a February 20 event at the University of St. Thomas entitled “Celebrating and Preserving Winter: Responding to Climate Change in Minnesota and Wisconsin.”
2.10.13 // Even after shutdowns, coal power still a mainstay in Minnesota “Within a few years we are going to see a limit on the carbon pollution from those plants,” said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director for Fresh Energy, a St. Paul-based nonprofit that supports renewable energy. “It is not a static situation. The climate science has been clear for many years. Wise utilities are listening.” (Star Tribune)
1.30.13 // Another utility cuts back on coal “We think it is a really good resolution,” said J. Drake Hamilton. “They are going to take out 50- and 60-year-old coal plants and modernize to clean energy.” (Star Tribune)
1.30.13 // Minnesota Power to convert Hoyt Lakes coal plant to gas “We’re concerned about them investing more of their ratepayers’ money in an old energy source that may not be around very long,” said J. Drake Hamilton. “The state’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions by at least 30 percent by 2025, and there’s no way to do that without phasing out more old coal plants.” (Duluth News Tribune)
1.28.13 // Solar power growth in Minnesota faces generation gap ‘The state may never get to this maximum potential, said Will Nissen, a policy analyst with the nonprofit Fresh Energy. But it is a useful reference “ceiling” for policymakers if they’re trying to measure solar energy’s potential, he said.’ (Pioneer Press)
1.22.13 // State’s greenhouse gas emissions dip slightly J. Drake Hamilton notes a new report—that shows Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions fell about 3 percent from 2005 through 2010—did not address the gap between current emissions and the longer-term goal of a 30 percent reduction by 2025. However, the report did show the greatest emissions reductions in the past five years came in the sectors that have the most emissions—electricity production and transportation. “To get the biggest bang for your buck, you have to start with those sectors,” she said. (Star Tribune)
1.14.13 // Rising temps could change landscape of Midwest “Minnesotans are already beginning to notice climate change. Really beginning to notice,” said J. Drake Hamilton. “These will be unpleasant quality-of-life changes we’re talking about.” (Star Tribune)
1.13.13 // National climate assessment sparks discussion J. Drake Hamilton stopped by KFAI to talk with Flor Frey and Mike Fischbein about a major federal report.
1.10.13 // Effort to revise building code raises old issues (login required) “It’s huge because it’s going to be a guarantee to homeowners that they know they are going to have low utility bills,” said senior policy associate Alison Lindburg. (Finance & Commerce)
1.8.13 // Xcel Energy clarifies wind energy position after lobbyist implies doubt “What I want is thoughtful, sustainable public policy that robustly develops wind power, because it’s by far our lowest-cost, carbon-free new energy resource” said Michael Noble. (Pioneer Press)
12.8.12 // Xcel Energy deals with the cost of conservation “It’s very good for our state and the economy to have companies and homes use energy more efficiently,” Michael Noble said. (Pioneer Press)
12.1.12 // Forum explores climate change “We’ve been getting really positive responses,” J. Drake Hamilton said. “People have lots of questions and lots of ideas. It’s actually been very inspiring.” (St. Cloud Times)
11.20.12 // One-party rule doesn’t guarantee unity on issues of environment and energy “It’s going to be a difficult session, no question, with maybe 60 or 70 percent of the oxygen in the room taken up by the budget – very serious economic and structural problems,” said Michael Noble.
11.14.12 // Concordia to host clean energy public forum The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead profiled the upcoming clean energy forum with Will Steger and J. Drake Hamilton at Concordia College on November 26.
11.13.12 // Will Steger, J. Drake Hamilton to speak at WSU today about climate change and clean-energy investment The Winona Daily News profiled the November 13 clean energy forum with Will Steger and J. Drake Hamilton.
11.13.12 // Will Steger to speak at WSU today about climate change The La Crosse Tribune profiled the November 13 clean energy forum with Will Steger and J. Drake Hamilton in Winona, Minnesota.
11.12.12 // J. Drake Hamilton of Fresh Energy & polar explorer Lonnie Dupre discuss climate change WTIP radio featured an hour-long program on global warming and clean energy.
11.10.12 // Polar explorer, scientist, bishop to address climate change The New Ulm Journal profiled an upcoming clean energy forum with Will Steger and J. Drake Hamilton.
11.7.12 // What do politics hold for climate change? It’s “the biggest single step the U.S. has taken to date to reduce carbon pollution” said J. Drake Hamilton, in reference to President Obama’s mandate to increase the fuel efficiency of new cars and light trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
11.2.12 // Polar explorer Steger to speak on clean energy, climate The Brainerd Daily Dispatch profiled the upcoming clean energy forum with J. Drake Hamilton in Baxter, Minnesota.
10.29.12 // J. Drake Hamilton joined Dale Connelly on KFAI’s The Morning Blend to talk about coal, Xcel Energy, and the Sherco power plants.
10.25.12 // PUC asked to push Xcel over retiring coal plants “There’s very strong public opinion that we move faster,” said J. Drake Hamilton in the Pioneer Press. Suggestions to delay a study until 2014 “would be kicking the can down the road,” she said.
10.3.12 // Otter Tail Power wants to delay retirement of coal-fired Hoot Lake plant “This is a delay that does not have to happen,” J. Drake Hamilton said to the Pioneer Press.
10.2.12 // Xcel stands behind Sherco “They say we can’t live without coal plants, but we’ve lived without the biggest one and done very well,” said J. Drake Hamilton to Finance & Commerce. (subscription required)
8.27.12 // Is cooling the house heating up the planet? “When we switch to using more air conditioning we’re using more energy, so we’re causing more coal to be burned,” Hamilton said. “And in effect we’re contributing to a vicious cycle,” said J. Drake Hamilton in this MPR piece.
8.21.12 // Appeals court blocks EPA rule on cross-state pollution The EPA ruling “will surely be challenged on behalf of states that are forced to bear an enormous public health burden because of these power plants upwind from them,” said J. Drake Hamilton to the Pioneer Press.
8.14.12 // Xcel Energy ponders future of coal “We have to make sure we’re not putting millions into plants that won’t be running for many more years,” said J. Drake Hamilton to Finance & Commerce. (Login required.)
8.9.12 // MN Power gets more time to shut coal plant “There is overwhelming analytical support and lots of public input that continuing to operate those 50 and 60-year-old coal plants, that are very dirty, isn’t in the public interest for economic reasons and health reasons,” said J. Drake Hamilton in this MPR piece.
8.9.12 // Electricity study aims to keep Minnesota lights on Michael Noble was quoted in this MinnPost story and said the region’s aging coal plants “face hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades and may not be economically viable to meet modern air-quality requirements. Alternatives are going to be more economical than (throwing) good money after bad.”
8.8.12 // Smart Minnesota public utility smartly votes to shutter coal plant Grist picked up a story from Midwest Energy News that quoted J. Drake Hamilton. “It’s not like you scoop out a nice even ice-cream scoop out of the ground. The geology is much more complicated than that, so as you go deeper … the costs are going up,” said Hamilton.
8.8.12 // Regulators weigh cost of coal “It’s a mystery to me why this company is not taking a harder look at the options that are available to them when there are cleaner and less costly options than running these coal plants,” said J. Drake Hamilton in Finance & Commerce.
8.8.12 // Minnesota ponders fate of aging coal-burning power plants “We believe the commission should find that continued operation of those older units at Laskin and Taconite Harbor is not in the public interest,” said J. Drake Hamilton in this Star Tribune piece about how Minnesota regulators are facing the thorny question of whether to shut down aging coal-burning power plants.
8.8.12 // Rochester’s coal-fired power plant to go dark Science policy director J. Drake Hamilton was quoted in this Star Tribune piece about the Rochester public utilities board of directors’ decision to retire the state’s oldest operating coal plant.
6.19.12 // Are we wildly underestimating solar and wind power? Ezra Klein linked to Michael Noble’s post about renewable energy predictions on his Washington Post blog,
6.13.12 // Environmentalist groups want Xcel to look beyond coal Fresh Energy’s press release was picked up by the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
5.27.12 // The biggest climate victory you never heard of Michael Noble was quoted in this Aljazeera story about the decline of coal in the United States. ‘Stopping new coal may be “the most significant achievement of American environmentalists since the passage of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act” in 1970,’ he said.
5.9.12 // Minnesota coal-fired power plant may be on the chopping block Fargo’s WDAY news picked up an Associated Press story first featured in the Pioneer Press about coal-fired power plants that face retirement. Michael Noble was quoted in the article.
5.5.12 // The end of the line for Minnesota’s coal plants? Utilities are facing decisions about what to do with their oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the face of coming environmental regulations and concerns about greenhouse gases associated with climate change. Michael Noble was quoted in this Pioneer Press article about the possible transition to natural gas.
5.1.12 // Commentary Fresh Energy and J. Drake Hamilton were highlighted in a Duluth News Tribune commentary about a forum at the University of Minnesota Duluth to discuss the future of Minnesota Power-owned coal plants.
4.22.12 // This Earth Day, imagine a new energy economy Michael Noble wrote an Earth Day post for Minnpost. “What Earth Day needs is a credible narrative that the world can change the old energy economy for a better one that solves our world’s most pressing economic and security challenges — and is good for the environment to boot,” he said.
4.11.12 // Minnesota Power looks to the future of renewable energy J. Drake Hamilton was quoted in a story about a clean energy forum in Duluth with Minnesota Power. “Right now we’re shipping money out of the state to buy coal from other states, bringing it in by train and we’re trying to think of a transition that will work better for Minnesota,” Hamilton said.
4.6.12 // Almanac North J. Drake Hamilton was a guest on Almanac North in April to talk about Minnesota’s energy future.
4.3.12 // BLOG: J. Drake Hamilton plans discussion on state’s clean energy future The Bemidji Pioneer highlighted an upcoming clean energy forum featuring J. Drake Hamilton.
4.3.12 // UMD forum focuses on future of coal-fired electricity The Duluth News Tribune highlighted an upcoming clean energy forum in Duluth featuring J. Drake Hamilton and Minnesota Power.
2.27.12 // Natural gas: A cleaner source of energy for Minnesota’s future J. Drake Hamilton was interviewed in this Public News Service story about natural gas. “We get almost 60 percent of our electricity from burning coal, and when we replace that with natural gas, we cut the mercury emissions to zero and the carbon pollution by 50 percent. It’s a much better, much cleaner fuel.”
1.30.12 // Dayton Blasts GOP Lawmakers for Refusing Commissioner Michael Noble was quoted in a FOX9 news segment about Ellen Anderson and the Senate’s vote to remove her from her position as PUC chair. “Anderson has managed the commission’s business with professionalism and efficiency, and her long tenure on key legislative committees offers the state an unusually deep understanding of energy and consumer issues,” Noble said.
1.30.12 // Dayton blasts GOP senators as ‘unfit to govern’ Michael Noble was quoted in this Star Tribune piece about the Minnesota Senate’s firing of PUC chair Ellen Anderson. “I think that the politics of clean energy is not bipartisan the way it used to be,” said Noble, who interpreted Monday’s vote as a sign of strength by coal and oil interests who “don’t like the state’s energy policy.”
1.22.12 // Reader’s view: Minnesotans need to work for clean, healthy energy future J. Drake Hamilton wrote a letter to the editor at the Duluth News Tribune that urged Minnesotans to talk about the best ways to move the state to a cleaner, cheaper, more efficiency energy future.
12.22.11 // EPA announces landmark mercury standards for power plants J. Drake Hamilton was interviewed for a Public News Service story about the EPA’s historic issuance of the nation’s first-ever nationwide standards for mercury and toxic air pollution.
12.10.11 // Faith community is joining the climate discussion J. Drake Hamilton was quoted in this Grand Rapids Herald-Review article about her talk with Will Steger and Minnesota’s renewable energy potential. “That is part of the success story of what we’re talking about this evening,” said Hamilton. “Why has Minnesota been able to build so much wind power into its system in a very short period of time? One of the reasons is that many, many Minnesotans demanded it.”
12.7.11 // Arctic Explorer Steger Treks through MN to Talk Climate Change Public News Service interviewed Will Steger and J. Drake Hamilton in advance of their speaking engagements in Princeton and Grand Rapids, Minnesota on December 7 and 8.
11.28.11 // Minn. utilities don’t want more coal power from ND Minnesota Public Radio interviewed J. Drake Hamilton for a story about North Dakota’s push to sell coal power to Minnesota. Hamilton said North Dakota has better energy options than coal and should focus on them instead.
11.21.11 // Minnesota Power looks at less coal The Duluth News Tribune interviewed J. Drake Hamilton about the PUC’s request that Minnesota Power re-figure its future energy demand and generation. “This isn’t about shutting down coal plants and not replacing them with anything,’’ Hamilton said. “It’s about keeping the lights on and the hospitals running, but doing it at reasonable price, doing it as you create jobs in Minnesota and making Minnesota air a little cleaner.”
11.14.11 // ‘Revenge of the Electric Car’ screening tonight in Minneapolis The Pioneer Press wrote a story on our special film screening with the film’s director.
11.13.11 // Minnesota philanthropy magazine MNSIGHTS highlighted Philanthropedia’s list of 18 high-impact Minnesota environmental nonprofits, an impressive list that includes Fresh Energy at number four.
11.13.11 // Fresh Energy was listed as one of the top 18 high-impact nonprofits that protect Minnesota’s environment in New York Times Magazine.
11.3.11 // Fresh Energy: #4 Expert-Identified Environmental Nonprofit in Minnesota Fresh Energy placed fourth on Philanthropedia’s list of the highest-impact environmental nonprofits in Minnesota.
11.2.11 // Discussion On Clean Air Scheduled In Rochester KAAL-TV highlighted a forum on clean air in Rochester that featured J. Drake Hamilton.
10.21.11 // Poll: The EPA, Not Congress Should Determine Air Pollution Standards J. Drake Hamilton was featured in this story about a new poll that found that 75 percent of voters believe the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be in charge of regulating air pollution, not Congress.
10.13.11 // More small-scale, local clean energy in Minnesota? Twin Cities Daily Planet picked up a piece from Powering Progress on distributed generation (a system of small, local energy-generation projects—like small wind turbines or solar panels).
9.7.11 // Compact fluorescents not the only light of the future Midwest Energy News‘s Ken Paulman wrote a piece for Miller-McCune about the supposed light bulb “ban.” “There’s a legitimate discussion to be had about the effectiveness of light bulb efficiency standards and the potential for undesired consequences. But it’s also important to have a little perspective,” he said.
8.11.11 // Different times call for different St. Croix bridge Transportation policy director Ethan Fawley wrote a commentary on the St. Croix bridge that was published in the Star Tribune. “Regardless of the final solution, the bridge decision cannot be made based on what the world was like in 2003,” said Ethan.
8.9.11 // City Council is considering new plans to make Northfield roads ‘complete’ Fresh Energy was mentioned in this Northfield News article about Northfield’s work toward implementing Complete Streets.
7.29.11 //Obama, automakers agree to double fuel efficiency FOX9 news interviewed transportation director Ethan Fawley for a story about new fuel efficiency standards. “It’s certainly a huge day for everyone,” said Fawley.
7.13.11 // Light bulb rhetoric becomes overheated as Congress rejects repeal Fresh Energy’s Ken Paulman was quoted in an article about the so-called “light bulb wars” on Poynter.org: “The language that’s been used by the politicians finds its way into the coverage, because people don’t go back and actually look at what the law does,” said Paulman. “There’s no language in there that says you can’t buy an incandescent bulb,” Paulman said. “A narrative emerged that simply wasn’t true.”
7.7.11 // Cleaning messes On July 7, the EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to reduce harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants. Fresh Energy’s J. Drake Hamilton applauded the long-overdue rule, which falls under the “Good Neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act. It will help 28 states in the eastern half of the United States reduce air pollution from outside their borders by leveling the playing field among power plant emitters.
6.28.11 // Complete Streets: Sharing the Road Transportation policy director Ethan Fawley was quoted in this Hopkins Patch story about the city of Hopkins’ pursuit of complete streets. “Complete Streets means that our streets are planned to be safe and accessible for pedestrians, transit riders, bicyclists and drivers. It is for all users, regardless of age or ability,” said Fawley.
6.3.11 // Clean air advocates predict more respiratory issues if ozone standards not lowered Science policy director J. Drake Hamilton was quoted in this MPR story about increased respiratory problems due to coal-fired power and the need for the federal government to toughen ozone standards.
6.1.11 // Minnesota attorney general says poor, elderly suffer under CenterPoint’s pricing policy Clean energy director Linda Taylor provided information for a story about CenterPoint’s inverted block rate pricing, a program designed to encourage energy efficiency that has come under attack by the attorney general. “Other states, including New York, have used inverted block rates for years and structure the rates so they don’t hurt the poor or elderly,” said Taylor.
5.30.11 // Business people Fresh Energy’s current and newly-elected board of directors were listed in the Star Tribune’s business section.
5.29.11 // Minnesota above average in pedestrian safety; rural areas deadlier Ethan Fawley was quoted in this Alexandria Echo Press article about a new report released by Transportation for America that highlighted the need for investment in pedestrian safety. “Mn/DOT and seventeen local Minnesota communities have already stepped up with Complete Streets policies to make their roads safer for everyone, including pedestrians. But there is still much work to be done to improve safety for people walking and we need the federal government as a strong leader and partner for that effort,” said Fawley.
5.18.11 // Xcel Energy CEO Richard Kelly to retire “I tip my hat to Dick Kelly for bringing Xcel into the 21st century,” said executive director Michael Noble in this Pioneer Press article about the retirement of Xcel Energy’s CEO.
5.16.11 //New report outlines seven tools for improving transportation system “Minnesota has long strived to be a leader in transportation,” said Transportation policy director Ethan Fawley in this Alexandria Echo Press article. ”But we still need to do more, including more bus rapid transit, better coordinated planning, and better local street connectivity.”
5.11.11 // House passes bill to allow coal-generated electricity purchases Executive director Michael Noble was quoted in a Politics in Minnesota article about the passage of the coal rollbacks bill in the Minnesota House. “It’s now up to Governor Dayton to veto this bill and continue our transition away from expensive, dirty fuels of the past and toward cleaner energy for Minnesota families and businesses.”
5.10.11 // Solar energy not as bright in Minnesota Clean energy director Linda Taylor was quoted in a Finance & Commerce article about the shortcomings in Minnesota’s solar energy incentive program.
5.30.11 // Light bulb wars and the MOA parking ramp Senior policy associate Kate Ellis served as a source for a post on MPR’s The Cities about the Mall of America’s new LED parking ramp lights.
4.20.11 // Study claims energy mandates will cost state billions Executive director Michael Noble was quoted in a Finance & Commerce article about Minnesota’s renewable energy standard and the Minnesota Free Market Institute’s assertion that the standard drives up energy costs. Michael said the Institute does ” a very poor job of understanding our electrical system.”
4.19.11 // On energy and the environment, Michael Noble keeps politicians honest Don Shelby profiled executive director Michael Noble for a piece in MinnPost, and along with its critique of the Minnesota Senate’s vote to unravel part of the Next Generation Energy Act, the article included high praise for Noble. Shelby said he “knows more about energy, global warming, state law and the environment than any of our elected officials.”
4.15.11 // Minnesota Senate lifts curbs on new coal-fired power plants “We’re moving in the wrong direction” said Executive Director Michael Noble in response to the Minnesota Senate’s approval of a law that frees utilities from offsetting emissions from new coal. “We’re rolling back part of the foundation of our energy policy.”
4.15.11 // Minnesota Senate votes to lift coal plant restrictions Executive director Michael Noble was quoted in an Associated Press piece that was picked up by the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, the Bismarck Tribune, CBS moneywatch.com, and businessweek.com. “It doesn’t make sense to encourage more dirty energy while we accelerate smart investment in clean energy,” said Michael.
3.19.11 // Report finds air pollution harms Minnesota fish & wildlife Science policy director J. Drake Hamilton was quoted in this Review Messenger article about a National Wildlife Federation report that found a number of wildlife species important to Minnesota’s hunters and anglers are being harmed by toxic air pollution and climate change. “Congress needs to update safeguards in the Clean Air Act, to cut down on the enormous health costs caused by air pollution.”
5.30.11 // Minnesota legislators receive coal lump for efforts to roll back pollution standards The Uptake covered a press conference held by concerned legislators and environmental allies (including Fresh Energy executive director Michael Noble) to bring attention to the damaging effects of HF72 and SF86, bills that would roll back an important piece of Minnesota’s clean energy policy and allow new coal pollution in the state.
5.30.11 // Before he cuts funds to global warming research, state senator should check his science (3/7/11) – Executive director Michael Noble writes a commentary for MPR news about how the chairman of the Minnesota Senate Environment Committee thinks global warming is a “farce” and the multitude of scientific societies that disagree.
3.2.11 // Readers write for Wednesday, March 2: Tar sands and pipeline safety Executive director Michael Noble and Marty Cobenais, pipeline organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, discuss tar sands and pipeline safety in this letter to the editor published in the Star Tribune.
2.7.11 // Woodbury retail center goes solar Clean energy director Linda Taylor was quoted in a Pioneer Press article about a new solar project in Woodbury, and what will be the largest solar project on any shopping center in the Upper Midwest. “Every big-box retailer and most shopping centers are prime spots,” she said.
1.25.11 // Minn. Republicans hope to undo clean energy policies Clean energy director Linda Taylor was quoted in a story about a number of repeals the Minnesota legislature is considering. “The whole system is moving beyond this almost silly discussion we’re having in Minnesota about whether or not we’re going to build nuclear power plants or coal power plants,” Taylor said. “We’re kind of behind the times I think on these things.”
1.24.11 // Izaak Walton League official tapped to head state energy division Executive director Michael Noble comments on the appointment of Bill Grant as head of the Office of Energy Security. “Nobody knows Minnesota’s energy policy like Bill Grant,” said Michael.