45 episodes

Fresh Energy is speeding Minnesota’s transition to a clean energy economy, which will ensure that our region enjoys good health, a vibrant economy, and thriving communities today and for generations to come. Working purely in the public interest, Fresh Energy’s team of scientists, economists, policy analysts, and educators develops and advances solutions that secure a clean energy future where all can thrive. Sign up for our monthly listserv focused on clean energy issues in Minnesota here: https://fresh-energy.org/

Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast Fresh Energy

    • Science
    • 4.5 • 8 Ratings

Fresh Energy is speeding Minnesota’s transition to a clean energy economy, which will ensure that our region enjoys good health, a vibrant economy, and thriving communities today and for generations to come. Working purely in the public interest, Fresh Energy’s team of scientists, economists, policy analysts, and educators develops and advances solutions that secure a clean energy future where all can thrive. Sign up for our monthly listserv focused on clean energy issues in Minnesota here: https://fresh-energy.org/

    MISO 101 with Mike Schowalter

    MISO 101 with Mike Schowalter

    When we hear about the electric grid, it’s common to think of our local electric utility. They’re the ones we pay for our electric service after all, and it’s our utility’s trucks that we see repairing downed electricity lines. But, as explained in our “What’s up with the grid?” blog, the grid is much bigger than any single utility. It is instead a web of utilities, each interconnected with each other in a giant electric transmission and distribution system that covers the entire nation. In our region, an entity called MISO, or the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, holds the role of managing or operating our portion of that transmission and distribution system—our portion of the grid.  
    But what exactly is MISO? How and why was it created? Who has a say in its decision-making processes? And how is Fresh Energy involved? Sit down with Fresh Energy’s Mike Schowalter for answers to these questions and more!  
     
    Links referenced and additional resources:  
    Read our MISO explainer blog post for additional context on MISO.  Curious about Locational Marginal Pricing (LMP)? Check out this map showing real-time prices.  For more context on long-range transmission planning (LRTP), reference this blog post explaining the process.  An example of LRTP is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) recent approval of the big tariff change Mike discusses in this episode. Read more about it. The MISO Board of Directors is slated to approve this first set of projects in July, after which state Public Utilities Commissions (PUCs) will likely kick off their own approval processes.  Get a visual on the coal plants in and serving Minnesota that have retired or have retirement dates. Fresh Energy is using data-based research and policy to set as-soon-as-possible closure dates for coal plants that meet the urgent challenge of our climate crisis while ensuring that utilities, workers, and communities have the time and resources necessary to plan a successful transition. Read more at coalcountdown.org.  

    • 1 hr 21 min
    What does Minnesota Power’s long-range plan mean for equity and public health?

    What does Minnesota Power’s long-range plan mean for equity and public health?

    The investments utilities make in energy infrastructure, including coal and gas plants, have significant impacts on public health, environmental justice, equity, and more. Minnesota’s leaders, policymakers, community advocates, and all who live here should have the opportunity to understand these impacts. Additionally, both utilities and regulators should consider these impacts in long-range utility planning. Together, Fresh Energy, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and researchers from PSE Healthy Energy sat down to talk about it!
    This webinar dug into a recent study that delves into the equity and health impacts of Minnesota Power’s long-range plan, also known as an Integrated Resource Plan. PSE’s research revealed some significant findings about air pollution and negative health impacts from the utility’s coal and biomass plants that disproportionately impact under-resourced and Native communities. 


    Presenters and Panelists
    Kelsey Bilsback, PhD | she/her | PSE Healthy EnergyBarbara Freese | Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA)James Gignac | he/him | Union of Concerned ScientistsBret Pence | he/him | Minnesota Interfaith Power & LightIsabel Ricker | she/her | Fresh EnergyJenna Yeakle | she/her | Sierra ClubModerator: Jo Olson | she/her | Fresh Energy
    Additional resources:
    YouTube recording. Want to better understand Integrated Resource Planning? Check out our explainer blog post.Learn more about what Clean Grid Alliance, MCEA, Sierra Club, and Fresh Energy filed as comments at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in the Minnesota Power IRP docket.View the full health impacts report from PSE.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Get the Buzz: Research shows solar habitat installations support pollinators

    Get the Buzz: Research shows solar habitat installations support pollinators

    Bees, monarchs, and other critical pollinators are disappearing, and scientists agree that loss of habitat is a primary concern. However, research has found that the renewable energy sector provides a unique opportunity for creating new pollinator habitat.

    Join Monarch Joint Venture, Connexus Energy, MNL, and Fresh Energy for a webinar recorded on May 18, 2022, as we dig into the new study, “Monitoring Pollinators on Minnesota Solar Installation,” which used field data collection practices to document an abundance of bees, butterflies, moths, flies, and wasps utilizing pollinator-friendly solar habitat in Minnesota. We also discussed seed mixes and biodiversity benefits, how utilities and co-ops can lead, and more.

    Panelists
    Laura Lukens | she/her | Monarch Joint Venture
    Laura Lukens is the National Monitoring Coordinator for the Monarch Joint Venture, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving monarch butterflies and their migration. Laura coordinates research projects throughout the US and cultivates a network of researchers and science initiatives to advance monarch conservation priorities.

    Rob Davis | he/him | Connexus Energy
    Rob Davis is communications lead at Connexus Energy and chair of the advisory committee to the National Renewable Energy Lab’s InSPIRE study into low-impact solar. Davis’ work on pollinator-friendly solar has been featured in trainings by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Conservation Training Center, the U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; in feature stories in Fast Company and Scientific American, and a talk titled “This unlikely 1960s space tech can help save the bees,” on TED.com. Previously, Davis helped launch technology start-ups and created the international crowdsourced campaign that launched the Firefox web browser. He is a graduate of Macalester College.

    Jake Janksi | he/him | MNL
    Jake Janski is the Director of Field Service Operations and a Senior Ecologist at MNL (Minnesota Native Landscapes). Jake applies his experiences from the past 20+ years in the industry towards the successful restoration and management of our region’s plant communities, solar sites, and natural resources. Beyond overseeing MNL’s spectrum of ecological services, broadest in the Midwest, Jake has also written and implemented numerous studies, restoration strategies, and vegetation management plans throughout his career. Whenever possible, he enjoys sharing these experiences and perspectives with audiences of his peers, industry groups, and others who share MNL’s mission of Healing the Earth.

    Resources:
    - YouTube link to the webinar
    - Report: Monitoring Pollinators on Minnesota Solar Installations
    - Blog about Monarch Joint Venture's study
    - Sample Ordinance and Procurement Language
    - Pollinator-Friendly Solar Scorecards

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Powering Up Minnesota: Leveraging federal funds to drive local investment

    Powering Up Minnesota: Leveraging federal funds to drive local investment

    The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will funnel a historic $1.2 trillion into states—about $6.8 billion of which is headed to Minnesota. These funds will go toward much-needed investments in weatherization assistance, energy efficiency, power and grid, electric transportation, and more—all of which play a major role in our climate future as we seek energy independence.

    But how can local and state policymakers, agency staff, elected officials, nonprofit advocates, thought leaders, and all Minnesotans ensure our state takes full advantage of these federal funds?

    On May 3, 2022, Fresh Energy, Aimee Witteman from the U.S. Department of Energy, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Grace Arnold, and special guests discussed how Minnesota can take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

    Panelists:
    - Commissioner Grace Arnold, Minnesota Department of Commerce
    - Aimee Witteman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy
    - Bob Blake, Executive Director, Native Sun Community Power Development
    - Dan Josephson, Energy Director, MAHUBE-OTWA Community Action Partnership
    - Laura Ziegler, Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Minnesota

    Hosted by:
    - Justin Fay, Lead Director, Public Affairs at Fresh Energy
    - Eric Fowler, Senior Coalition Communications and Policy Associate at Fresh Energy

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Amping up Minnesota homes with electric panel upgrades

    Amping up Minnesota homes with electric panel upgrades

    Electric panel updates are a crucial way to speed up home electrification, but cost can be a barrier. That’s why Fresh Energy is leading a new effort at the Minnesota Legislature this year to prepare Minnesota’s existing residential buildings for the transition to fossil-free electricity: An electric panel upgrade program for owners of single family and multifamily buildings.

    Podcast Guests: 
    Eric Fowler, Senior Coalition Communications and Policy Associate at Fresh EnergyMari Ojeda, Senior Policy Associate, Energy Access and Equity at Fresh EnergyHost: Jo Olson, Director of Communications and Engagement
    Listeners can stay up to date on Fresh Energy's work via our once-monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today! 

    Further reading: 
    Fresh Energy's blog post about the electric panel billLeading with Equity and Justice in the Clean Energy Transition - Green & Healthy Homes Initiative 

    • 29 min
    Crossroads Moments in Fresh Energy’s 30-Year History

    Crossroads Moments in Fresh Energy’s 30-Year History

    Fresh Energy is celebrating 30 years of making history for clean energy and climate here in Minnesota and the Midwest. Join Michael Noble, J. Drake Hamilton, and Jim Ladner for a conversation about some pivotal moments in each decade of Fresh Energy’s history. 
    Podcast Guests: 
    Michael Noble, Executive Director of Fresh EnergyJ. Drake Hamilton, Senior Director, Science Policy at Fresh Energy Jim Ladner, Fresh Energy Board MemberHost: Jo Olson, Director of Communications and Engagement
    Listeners can stay up to date on Fresh Energy's work via our once-monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today! 

    Further reading: 
    Summary of Fresh Energy accomplishments over the decades.

    • 54 min

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8 Ratings

8 Ratings

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