By Anna Richey, Southeast Minnesota Community Coordinator, and Jackie Halberg, Northeast Minnesota Community Coordinator
Last month, five Minnesota cities were chosen to participate in the German Energy Partnership: Rochester, Warren, Elk River, Duluth, and Morris. The partnership sponsors include Germany’s federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Industry, the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and Natural Resources Research Institute, among others.
In July, each Minnesota city will be paired with a German city and send delegates to discuss strategies for tackling future energy challenges and tour environmentally friendly energy facilities. The partnership sponsors include Germany’s federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Industry, the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and Natural Resources Research Institute, among others.
Project leader Sabine Engel says Minnesota and Germany have both chosen to focus on energy solutions at the municipal level because local communities have been shown to inspire national, regional and state policy. Ultimately, she says, the hope is that participating communities will share their progress and strategies with other Minnesota communities, boosting local economies and achieving Minnesota’s state goal of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions at least 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
As Conservation Minnesota staff in Duluth and Rochester, we thought this would be a fun opportunity to demonstrate the ways in which conservation work can bring Minnesota together, from the northeast to southeast.
So, here’s the challenge to Rochester and Duluth: we want to see which city can go the farthest with this opportunity and how much support we can get from our great network of members and supporters to hold our delegates accountable for bringing back and implementing some of the great ideas we’re sure they’re going to get from this experience. Of course, we wouldn’t issue a challenge to Duluth and Rochester without also offering something in return, so whichever city wins will get a special award from Conservation Minnesota for their efforts.
We’ll be posting updates to keep you informed about the progress Duluth and Rochester are making, and hope they’ll take this challenge to heart. Besides, what’s more fun than a little friendly competition?