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November 2013 CIP News

Welcome to CIP News, where you will find the latest news and information on a wide range of Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) topics. 

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CARD Grant Program

The purpose of the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) Grant Program is to identify new technologies, strategies and program approaches that utilities can implement to help achieve the annual state energy conservation goal of 1.5 percent as established by the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. One recently completed CARD project is described below.

News & Reports

  • Minnesota is 11th in 2013 ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

  • Guide shows CHP's Value as alternative power source during emergencies

    • A new publication, “Guide to Using Combined Heat and Power for Enhancing Reliability and Resiliency in Buildings,” is available to provide practical information on what factors must be considered when configuring a combined heat and power (CHP) system to operate independently of the grid and what steps are typically involved in CHP project development. The guide, issued by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, is a tool that responds to a post-Hurricane Sandy rebuilding strategy and serves as a model for communities facing greater risks from extreme weather.
  • Commerce issues report on microgrid development

  • New condensing boilers save energy for Sherburne County, Chisago

    • Sherburne County and the Chisago Lakes Middle School replaced aging boiler systems with new high efficient condensing boilers and are now realizing energy savings. Both received Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants and utility rebates to fund their projects. Case studies of the Chisago Lakes Middle School project and the Sherburne County energy upgrade are available on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.

Events & Training

  • Hold the date: 2014 Energy Design Conference & Expo is Feb. 25-26
    • The 24th annual Energy Design Conference & Expo hosted by Minnesota Power will be held in the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center on Feb. 25–26. This event will once again offer a diverse set of seminars and workshops about the latest in energy-efficient building and technologies, renewable energy, best practices, and responsible design. Each year the Expo attracts about 1,000 participants and 75 exhibitors. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources will be a partnering sponsor and exhibitor. The deadline for early-bird registration is Jan. 17. Visit to register and for conference details.

Energy Legislation Update

The 2013 Minnesota Legislature set a number of new energy policies. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources is charged with developing policy in several areas. Read more below about progress, including updates on Energy Savings Goal Study, the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, and the Value of Solar Methodology. Energy legislation information is available at the Commerce website.

  • Energy Savings Goal Study meeting help shape report

    • The information gathering process to help the Minnesota Department of Commerce address issues and opportunities related to Minnesota’s energy savings goal concluded with a final public stakeholder meeting on Nov. 4 at the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul. About 100 attendees heard proposals on Industrial Energy Efficiency and Combined Heat and Power and participated in an open forum. Read more.
  • Made in Minnesota first incentive amounts set for 2014; staff hired

    • The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced on Nov. 22 the 2014 incentive amounts for its 10-year, $15-million-a-year Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, to launch Jan. 1 2014. The incentives for solar electric systems from the Made in Minnesota program will be available to customers of investor-owned utilities who install solar electric systems using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Read more. 
  • Solar value methodology draft unveiled; comments due Dec. 10

    • An initial draft of a solar value methodology was presented by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Clean Power Research on Nov. 19 at a workshop at the Science of Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul.  A summary of the draft was presented and questions were taken from the crowd of 80. The initial Draft Value of Solar Methodology (pdf) is posted online. Comments on the draft methodology are due by Dec. 10 and may be sent to . Read more .

  • Oct. 22 workshop addresses Minnesota Energy Future Scoping Study

    • A stakeholder workshop was held on Oct. 22 to help establish the scope for a study on how Minnesota can achieve an energy future that does not rely on fossil fuels. The workshop, which attracted about 200 attendees to the Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul, provided a review and assessment of relevant prior studies and strategic framing for a Minnesota Energy Future Study.  Additional information, including presentation slides on study scoping options and a report reviewing previous studies, is available on the Minnesota Energy Future Study webpage.  Rocky Mountain Institute is providing technical assistance to Commerce to develop the study scope. Commerce will report the results of the scoping process to the Legislative Energy Commission by Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Solar Thermal and On-site Energy Storage studies

    • Work continues on two studies required by 2013 legislation: Solar Thermal and On-site Energy Storage. The Solar Thermal study will analyze the potential costs and benefits of expanding the installation of solar thermal projects in residential and commercial buildings in Minnesota. Thirty-five solar stakeholders convened on Nov. 7 to discuss barriers and energy opportunities for solar heating and cooling. Their input will inform the study process. A final report from Commerce is due to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2014.

    • The On-site Energy Storage White Paper will examine the potential costs and benefits of installing utility-managed, grid-connected energy storage devices installed in residential and commercial buildings in the state. The study will be submitted by Commerce to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2014.