The SRDC provides assistance to local units of government in relation to energy issues that affect the region, including electrical transmission lines and energy inputs that affect economic viability (wind-power/bio-fuels) and provides staff and analytical support to the Rural Minnesota Energy Board and the Southwest Clean Energy Resource Team.
Rural Minnesota Energy Board
Rural Minnesota Energy Board (RMEB) is an eighteen County Joint Powers Board; formed to provide policy guidance on issues surrounding energy development in rural Minnesota. Originally formed in 1996 as the Ridge Counties Task Force, it developed into the Wind Task Force, SW Minnesota Energy Task Force, and Rural Minnesota Energy Task Force; as both the membership and policy issues expanded. The initial focus on wind energy has broadened to include renewable energy and transmission issues. In January 2004, the process to become a more formal entity through the formation of the Joint Powers Board was initiated. The first joint powers meeting with fourteen county members was held in January 2005. The counties have been active in working together to resolve many energy related issues, including the barriers to local wind energy generation and development. The RMEB PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program is the most recent energy project created to assist the business and commercial sector in the member counties with financing energy efficient upgrades.
Clean Energy Resource Teams
The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) connect you and your community members with resources to identify and implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. CERT is a public-private partnership staffed by: the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Great Plains Institute, Southwest Regional Development Commission, and the Minnesota Office of Energy Security. Some of the activities of CERT include:
- Host meetings & tours and facilitate gatherings
- Connect people to technical resources
- Research energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and projects
- Identify and provide project funding resources
Minnesota GreenStep Cities
CERTs is a partner in Minnesota GreenStep Cities, a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability goals through implementation of 29 best practices. These best practices are your tool box to improve your community, with ideas and resources in:
- Buildings and Lighting
- Land Use
- Environmental Management
- Economic and Community Development
These actions are tailored to Minnesota cities, focus on cost savings and energy use reduction, and encourage innovation. Other partners include the League of Minnesota Cities, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Great Plains Institute, Izaak Walton League, Minnesota Department of Commerce, and the Urban Land Institute-Minnesota.
The Cities of Marshall and Vesta are GreenStep cities in the the SRDC area.
The SRDC has completed a GreenStep Health Impact Assessment for the City of Marshall.