Impactful investment that drives Minnesota’s clean energy transition

Power Circle donor Venkatesh Srinivas, right, poses with friends on a 2012 cross-country cycling trip at McCormick Park near the edge of the Snake River in west-central Idaho. Photo/Venkatesh Srinivas.

While working for Google from Madison, Wisconsin, Minnesota’s next-door neighbor to the east, Fresh Energy Power Circle donor Venkatesh Srinivas began to develop a personal passion for clean energy issues based on his experience every day doing something as simple as walking to work.

With a growing interest in climate, Venkatesh began to see the energy choices being made in Madison and in Wisconsin play out before his very eyes. As he watched the coal plant he passed every day on his work commute transition to burning fossil gas, also known as natural gas, he began to wonder how these energy decisions were made. So began Venkatesh’s interest in the clean energy transition and the organizations fighting behind the scenes to end our reliance on fossil fuels. As he started digging into the data, Venkatesh learned how critical the Midwest was to widescale, deep decarbonization. This led him to Fresh Energy and our work shaping and driving energy policies to advance climate solutions.

Venkatesh eventually moved to the Pacific Northwest and now works for Google, but that didn’t make him stop caring about energy issues in the Midwest. Venkatesh gives to Fresh Energy because, in his words, “Despite a lot of talk about climate action at the federal level, I see states doing most of the interesting and important action. Minnesota is decarbonizing its economy in a cold climate region, thanks in large part to Fresh Energy’s work. I know my investment in this region of the country is impactful because Minnesota is a model for other states to learn from.”

Venkatesh has been giving monthly to Fresh Energy as a Power Circle donor since 2015 and over the years he has worked to bring even more west coasters to the fold by highlighting and promoting Fresh Energy every November during “Google Giving Week” where employees join their colleagues in support of critical work being done in several different areas of life, including climate and clean energy.

As an outdoor person, Venkatesh has a soft spot for Minnesota’s beautiful summers, but he knows that climate change brings danger. The wildfires in Northern Minnesota in 2021 hit him especially hard, “I don’t want to live through the sky being red in Minnesota ever again,” he says.

To join Venkatesh in helping Fresh Energy shape clean energy progress in Minnesota and the Midwest with a Power Circle gift to Fresh Energy, please contact Meggie LaValley at