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Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast
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Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast

Author: Fresh Energy

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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/
28 Episodes
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Tune in to Part 4 of Fresh Energy's "Intersection of Energy and Community" webinar series!The transition to an equitable, carbon-neutral economy will bring big changes to our communities. State and federal policies, utility programs, and the overall evolution from a world powered by oil and gas to a clean electricity-powered future, play out in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes. But it’s not just communities adapting to change. Cities, counties, and local institutions are often leading through model projects and Climate Action Plans to shape a new reality.In summer 2021, Fresh Energy hosted a webinar series to raise the question: How can we dramatically reduce carbon emissions in a way that improves our communities and benefits everyone?Panelists:Margaret Garascia, Associate Director, Research and Innovation at Elevate EnergyMargaret Garascia is Senior Manager for Research and Innovation at Elevate Energy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to designing and implementing programs that lower costs, protect people and the environment, and ensure the benefits of renewable energy reach those who need them most. As part of the Elevate research team, Ms. Garascia conducts research on whether low- and moderate-income households are equitably served by renewable energy programs. In addition, she coordinates Elevate’s research, policy, and demonstration projects on building decarbonization with a focus on the affordable housing sector. She also conducts quantitative and qualitative research on topics including energy insecurity, water affordability, and residential energy use. She was lead author of a report on the multifamily building stock in Chicago and the potential for energy savings. She has presented and written on the relationship between energy efficiency, health, and wellbeing in forums including Electricity Journal, Retrofit Magazine, American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, and others. Keith Kinch, Co-founder and General Manager at BlocPowerKeith Kinch serves as General Manager and co-founder at BlocPower. Keith received his undergraduate degree at John Jay College and his graduate degree at American International University. He spent eight years as a community organizer, and two years as Deputy Field Director in New York State for the Democratic National Committee under President Obama’s grassroots arm Organizing for America. He helped advance key pieces of legislation such as the Affordable Healthcare Act.In the summer of 2016, Keith led the Solarize Brownsville campaign where more than 200homes were outfitted with solar panels. Solarize Brownsville brought together communityMargaret Cherne-Hendrick, Lead Director, Energy Transition at Fresh EnergyMargaret Cherne-Hendrick steers Fresh Energy’s work to decarbonize our economy through the transition of end-uses currently served by fossil fuels to efficient, equitable, carbon-free electricity. She leads a team of staff shaping and driving solutions that use beneficial electrification, efficiency, and other carbon-reduction strategies to dramatically reduce emissions from the building and transportation sectors. She also leads Fresh Energy’s work on carbon sequestration and low-carbon fuel standards as well as actively evaluating other opportunities to move Minnesota toward an equitable carbon-neutral economy by 2050.  In addition to Minnesota policy work at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, State Legislature, and administrative channels, Margaret leads Fresh Energy’s involvement in multiple key partnerships and is a primary architect of the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition.
Tune in to Part 3 of Fresh Energy's "Intersection of Energy and Community" webinar series!The transition to an equitable, carbon-neutral economy will bring big changes to our communities. State and federal policies, utility programs, and the overall evolution from a world powered by oil and gas to a clean electricity-powered future, play out in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes. But it’s not just communities adapting to change. Cities, counties, and local institutions are often leading through model projects and Climate Action Plans to shape a new reality.In summer 2021, Fresh Energy hosted a webinar series to raise the question: How can we dramatically reduce carbon emissions in a way that improves our communities and benefits everyone?Panelists:Russ Stark, Chief Resilience Officer at the City of Saint PaulRuss Stark is the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Saint Paul working in Mayor Melvin Carter’s Office. Previously, Russ Served for 10 years on the Saint Paul City Council including three years as Council President. Prior to his public service, he worked at nonprofits focused on community development, environmental advocacy, and improved transportation options, including early planning for what is now the Green Line LRT. Russ has a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Swarthmore College and a Master’s of Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware.Adri Arquin, Youth Member, Saint Paul Climate Justice Advisory BoardAdri Arquin is a junior at Central High School and lives in St. Paul, MN. As a High School student, he worked with other young activists and organizers to create Minnesota Youth for Climate Justice, helping to bring thousands of young people to the Minnesota State Capitol on multiple occasions to fight against the climate crisis. He additionally works with COPAL MN and the Minnesota Youth Council in order to advocate for environmental justice both inside his community and in the Minnesota Legislature. With these roles, Adri also helps as a youth member on the St. Paul Climate Justice Advisory Board. When not working or organizing you can often find him on the soccer field with friends or trying to scout out a new thrift shop.  Janiece Watts, Senior Associate, Energy Access and EquityAs a senior associate on the Energy Access and Equity team, Janiece plays a key role that is working to advance equitable outcomes across Minnesota’s energy system. Her current projects include collaborative work with environmental justice groups to improve air quality and reduce demand for oil through electrification of transportation and working internally on Fresh Energy’s commitments to anti-racism.Janiece joined the Fresh Energy team in August 2018. Before joining Fresh Energy, Janiece worked as a community engagement manager for Eureka Recycling where she developed strategies on zero waste and environmental justice. She is an established racial and environmental justice organizer working in the Twin Cities for over ten years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of Minnesota. Janiece is a board member of Headwaters Foundation for Justice, MN350, and the new St. Paul Climate Justice Advisory Board. She loves food—from growing it in her garden to cooking and food cooking shows.
Tune in to Part 2 of Fresh Energy's "Intersection of Energy and Community" webinar series!The transition to an equitable, carbon-neutral economy will bring big changes to our communities. State and federal policies, utility programs, and the overall evolution from a world powered by oil and gas to a clean electricity-powered future, play out in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes. But it’s not just communities adapting to change. Cities, counties, and local institutions are often leading through model projects and Climate Action Plans to shape a new reality.In summer 2021, Fresh Energy hosted a webinar series to raise the question: How can we dramatically reduce carbon emissions in a way that improves our communities and benefits everyone?This conversation is sponsored by Great River Energy.Panelists:Nina Axelson, Founder, Grid CatalystNina Axelson is leading the development of a clean energy accelerator, focused on demonstrating and scaling solutions for northern climates. The program will work with regional partners to connect entrepreneurs to project demonstrations, mentorship, and investments to help them grow their business. Grid Catalyst is under development, with a launch anticipated by the end of 2021. Previously, Axelson was the Vice President of Sustainability and Outreach for Ever-Green Energy, and has nearly 20 years of experience in the energy and environmental sectors. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Minnesota.Robert Blake, Founder & CEO of Solar BearRobert Blake is the owner of Solar Bear a solar installation company located in Minneapolis, MN, the Ojibwe pronunciation is Gizis-o-makwa. Robert is the Executive Director of Native Sun Community Power Development a Non- Profit located also in Minneapolis, MN. Robert is a graduate student at the University of Minnesotan Carlson Executive Master of Business Administration (CEMBA) program. Robert is a tribal citizen of the Red Lake Nation. His passion is spreading the word of renewable energy through communication, cooperation, and collaboration.Jamez Staples, President & CEO of Renewable Energy PartnersJamez Staples founded Renewable Energy Partners after seeing how solar energy was being built in other parts of the country and after Minnesota passed its Solar Jobs Act in 2013.  He has lived in North Minneapolis most of his life and graduated from North High School where REP has installed a 365-kilowatt community solar garden. He has seen and experienced injustices in economic opportunity and environmental health in Minnesota but was also inspired by former Obama Administration Green Jobs Czar Van Jones’ idea of addressing climate change and poverty at the same time.Ben Passer, Lead Director, Energy Access and Equity at Fresh EnergyBen Passer directs Fresh Energy’s work to advance equitable outcomes across Minnesota’s energy system. A member of the Minnesota Bar, Ben leads Fresh Energy in securing regulatory results at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, policy change at the State Capitol, and collaborative efforts with diverse partners and allies to move Minnesota toward a just, carbon-neutral economy by mid-century. Ben represents Fresh Energy in key regional and national forums and serves as a recognized thought leader and public speaker on the intersection of energy and equity. Ben currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy.
Tune in to Part 1 of Fresh Energy's "Intersection of Energy and Community" webinar series!The transition to an equitable, carbon-neutral economy will bring big changes to our communities. State and federal policies, utility programs, and the overall evolution from a world powered by oil and gas to a clean electricity-powered future, play out in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes. But it’s not just communities adapting to change. Cities, counties, and local institutions are often leading through model projects and Climate Action Plans to shape a new reality.In summer 2021, Fresh Energy hosted a webinar series to raise the question: How can we dramatically reduce carbon emissions in a way that improves our communities and benefits everyone?PanelistsBrian Larson, Co-Founder and CEO of Darcy SolutionsBrian found a love of the land as a child, while spending time on his grandmother’s farm near Willmar, MN. His studies in Economics at the University of Minnesota led him to pursue his MBA at Indiana University. In the early part of his career he was employed by various large oil and gas companies on the west coast and southern gulf coast, regularly working closely with geologists and geophysicists. Brian’s passion for innovation and problem-solving brought him to work at the consulting firm McKinsey – gaining invaluable knowledge on how to build great companies and design growth strategies. His desire to use innovation to make the world a better place led him to a 14-year career at Cargill. Brian is always looking for an opportunity to do something impactful and use his 30+ years of business experience to elevate brilliant entrepreneurs. When Brian and Jimmy Randolph met, it became clear that the duo’s shared a desire to protect the planet for future generations inspires their partnership at Darcy Solution.Tony Poole, Business Manager, Steamfitters/Pipefitters Local 455Tony Poole is a 23-year member of the St. Paul Steamfitters Pipefitters Local 455 and is currently serving as Business Manager for the Union. Upon completion of his apprenticeship in 2004, Tony spent the better part of his career working at industrial sites welding on critical piping systems. He also has experience working on many commercial projects, including hospitals and schools. Tony was elected Business Agent for the Union in 2013 and Business Manager in 2018 and in this capacity is closely involved in contract negotiations, public relations, and more.Margaret Cherne-Hendrick, Lead Director, Energy Transition at Fresh EnergyMargaret Cherne-Hendrick steers Fresh Energy’s work to decarbonize our economy through the transition of end-uses currently served by fossil fuels to efficient, equitable, carbon-free electricity. She leads a team of staff shaping and driving solutions that use beneficial electrification, efficiency, and other carbon-reduction strategies to dramatically reduce emissions from the building and transportation sectors. She also leads Fresh Energy’s work on carbon sequestration and low-carbon fuel standards as well as actively evaluating other opportunities to move Minnesota toward an equitable carbon-neutral economy by 2050.  In addition to Minnesota policy work at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, State Legislature, and administrative channels, Margaret leads Fresh Energy’s involvement in multiple key partnerships and is a primary architect of the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition.
Against the odds, it has been an incredibly impactful year for energy at the Minnesota Legislature. Sit down with Fresh Energy's Michael Noble, Justin Fay, and Anna Johnson to discuss significant new investments in solar energy, new policy support for a just and equitable transition to clean energy, innovative new decarbonization strategies for gas utilities, and more.Guests:Michael Noble, Executive Director of Fresh EnergyJustin Fay, Lead Director of Public Affairs at Fresh Energy Anna Johnson, Senior Associate of Public Affairs at Fresh Energy Topics: ECO ActNatural Gas Innovation ActSolar investments including solar on schools, an extension of Xcel Energy's Solar Rewards program, and an innovative "brightfields" projectClean energy jobs and economic developmentBuy Clean Buy Fair studyThe new office of community transition at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic DevelopmentClean Cars MinnesotaWhite House's American Jobs Plan and American Rescue Planand more!Further Reading: "Taking stock of meaningful progress at the Minnesota Legislature" by Justin Fay"What's up with 'renewable natural gas?'""ECO Act becomes law, modernizing Minnesota's energy efficiency policy""13 years in the rearview: The making of Clean Cars Minnesota" by Briana Kerber"The American Jobs Plan: 14 ambitious (and totally achievable) goals for clean energy, equity, and climate."Join us!July Webinar Series: The Intersection of Energy and CommunityVirtual Benefit Breakfast with BlocPower's Donnel Baird on October 14, 2021
Electric vehicles (EVs) are cleaner and more affordable than gasoline-powered cars—and they’re fun too.On April 29, 2021, Fresh Energy and Shift2 Electric hosted a free educational workshop that’s unaffiliated with any automakers. We had an honest conversation with Minnesotans across the state who own and drive EVs about their experiences.Listen in for a conversation with Shift2Electric's Jukka Kukkonen and panelists:Lisa, Kia Niro PHEVJodi, 2013 Nissan LeafBrian and Karen, Tesla Model Y and Chevrolet BoltHeather, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (PHEV)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 and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!
Appalachia and Wyoming are dramatically different places, but they also offer each other cautionary tales, success stories, and reasons for resilience and hope. Last year, the Energy News Network and WyoFile captured this complex story in a six-part investigative series, Reckoning in Coal County, now available as an ebook or paperback. Fresh Energy, Energy News Network, and WyoFile hosted this virtual panel discussion on April 22, 2021. Throughout the conversation, we explore the cultural, political, and economic obstacles faced by rural communities hoping to survive and thrive in a world without coal. Featuring: Mason Adams, journalist, Floyd County, Virginia Shannon Anderson, Powder River Basin Resource Council, WyomingHeidi Binko, Just Transition Fund, Virginia Dustin Bleizeffer, journalist, Casper, WyomingModerator:Ken Paulman, Senior Director, Energy News NetworkListeners 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 and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!Stay informed on what's happening regionally and nationally in the transition to clean energy with the Energy NewsNetwork.  Subscribe to the Energy News Network's daily email digests and original reporting, covering the U.S., the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast, and Western regions. Support ENN's work with a donation. 
The 2021 session of the Minnesota Legislature is in its final month. Join the Fresh Energy team for a conversation about meaningful action for clean energy and climate that legislators can take yet this session. Learn what's still on the table and who they would draft for Fresh Energy's imaginary baseball team. Guests:Michael Noble, Executive Director of Fresh EnergyJustin Fay, Lead Director of Public Affairs at Fresh Energy Anna Johnson, Senior Associate of Public Affairs at Fresh Energy Topics: ECO ActNatural Gas Innovation ActBuilding decarbonizaton"Rebuild Right" grant program100% Carbon Free ElectricityClean Cars MinnesotaWhite House's American Jobs Planand more! Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!
On April 9, 2021, Fresh Energy's J. Drake Hamilton and Ben Passer were joined by U.S. Senator Tina Smith, meteorologist and climate leader Paul Douglas, and Science Museum of Minnesota President Alison Brown for a discussion about why acting now on climate is critical and how climate action can present economic opportunity for Minnesota. With a new President and a new Congress, we have reason to be optimistic that the country can take real climate action. Congress needs to step up in this moment and pass meaningful climate and infrastructure legislation. At a time when we are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a tremendous opportunity for a climate and infrastructure package to deliver good paying clean energy jobs.U.S. Senator Tina Smith is pushing for the climate and infrastructure package to include a Clean Electricity Standard (CES) to aggressively reduce carbon emissions from the electricity sector. As the CES leader in the U.S. Senate, Senator Smith has seen how CESs have proven successful in many states – and hopefully Minnesota will soon join that list!A technology neutral CES is crucial to driving a rapid, cost-effective clean energy transition while also putting the United States at the forefront of technology innovation. Minnesotans know that clean energy is key to our economic future. Before the pandemic, clean energy jobs were growing 2.5 times faster than overall job growth in the state – and that’s just the beginning.Thank you to our partners Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM), LIUNA, and the 100% Campaign for helping spread the word about this event.Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!
Fresh Energy, along with Clean Grid Alliance, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, has filed expert comments with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Xcel Energy's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). Join Fresh Energy's Allen Gleckner, Lead Director of Clean Electricity, and Ben Passer, Lead Director of Energy Access and Equity for a conversation about our comments on the Xcel IRP. We'll discuss both the good and the bad, including Xcel's plans for increased renewables, energy efficiency, a new fossil gas plant, the future of the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant, and more. Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!
What does rejoining the Paris Agreement really mean for the U.S., the Midwest, and for Minnesota? What can we do to take this moment and make a real impact with big carbon reduction policies? Minnesota’s energy and climate policies, including passing Governor Walz’s commitment to 100% carbon-free electricity into law, have a crucial role to play.In this podcast, we dig into the details with J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director at Fresh Energy, Justin Fay, public affairs director at Fresh Energy, and authors of the new 100% carbon-free electricity bill, Representative Jamie Long and Senator Nick Frentz.Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today! Read our statements on the Paris Agreement and 100% carbon-free electricity.
The 2021 session of the Minnesota Legislature begins on January 5. Join Fresh Energy's Executive Director Michael Noble,  Director of Public Affairs Justin Fay, and Policy and Public Affairs Associate  Anna Johnson for a conversation about our plans and expectations for the coming session. The conversation will touch on what election results could mean for clean energy, special session outcomes, the One Minnesota Path to Clean Energy, committee appointments, clean transportation, building decarbonization, energy efficiency, the green recovery, and more! Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!
Tune in to Fresh Energy's conversation with Eric Pasi, principal at IPS Solar and author of new book, CleanWave: A Guide to Success in the Green Recovery.Rapidly advancing technology, high demand, and sheer affordability are pushing clean energy into the mainstream. With coal plants closing, pipelines under scrutiny, and prices for wind and solar dropping, fossil fuels in the United States are at a tipping point and clean energy is poised for major expansion. This exponential growth is prompting many students and mid-career professionals to ride the “CleanWave” and create a career in clean energy.Tune in to get advice on breaking into the clean energy sector and get the scoop on how clean energy will be a catalyst for economic recovery. We will also discuss energy’s place in the renewed civil rights movement and hear how Eric sees his work as honoring his father’s Tongan legacy.Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!
In celebration of Give to the Max Day, we're sharing the conversation that Michael Noble, Fresh Energy's Executive Director, had with Dr. Leah Stokes,  internationally-recognized clean energy thought leader at Fresh Energy's Virtual Benefit Breakfast in October.  Dr. Stokes brought her trademark energy to our virtual stage and put into clear focus Minnesota’s role in the national clean energy landscape. She challenged Minnesota to both pass strong policy and focus on implementing it effectively. We've also included 25 minutes of post-election "bonus content" where Michael and Dr. Stokes discuss what the outcome of the election could mean for clean energy policy and federal leadership.Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!
Electric vehicles (EVs) are cleaner and more affordable than gasoline-powered cars—and they’re fun too! But many Minnesotans wonder how they really work here in the North Star State. Can they handle our extreme winters? Are they a pain to charge? Are there hidden costs to the technology? There’s so much information, where do you even begin?Tune in to a recording of Fresh Energy, Shift2Electric, and American Lung Association's free educational workshop that’s unaffiliated with any automakers. On October 1, we had an honest conversation about EV technology, models available, advancements, emissions impacts, the realities of charging, and more. But don’t take it from us! Our panel of EV owners from around the state will tell you what it is really like to own, charge, and drive electric in Minnesota.This event is part of National Drive Electric Week presented by Plug In America, Sierra Club, and Electric Auto Association and National Solar Tour.Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today! Click here to learn more and donate. 
Many Minnesotans are taking advantage of new technologies that provide cleaner and more resilient energy production and use – in their own back yards! These technologies used to be more expensive than fossil fuels, but rapid battery tech development and solar panel price reduction have changed the game making these technologies a better choice.Join Shift2Electric, Fresh Energy, the Minnesota Electric Vehicle Owners Chapter to hear from Minnesotans who have made the switch to driving electric and harvesting electricity from the sun to power their homes and vehicles. Some of our panelists also have stationary battery storage systems that enable them to power their house even during a power outage while also making their household more grid friendly. Panelists share why they chose their specific systems, details about the design and installation process, and, most importantly, how this shift is working for them in their everyday life. There’s so much information! Our experts and panelists will help you get started.This event is part of National Drive Electric Week presented by Plug In America, Sierra Club, and Electric Auto Association and National Solar Tour.Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today! Click here to learn more and donate. 
Minnesota is poised to pass Clean Cars Minnesota, a set of standards that would reduce climate change-causing air pollution and increase customer choices – but what do “clean car standards” really mean? Due in part to a misinformation campaign by opponents of Clean Cars Minnesota, many Minnesotans are confused about what the standards would and would not do. Will California bureaucrats decide which car you can drive? Will you have to give up your gas-powered truck? Will the cost of all vehicles go up? Tune in to this conversation with Fresh Energy's Anjali Bains and Margaret Cherne-Hendrick to find out.Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today! Click here to learn more and donate. 
Minnesota is working hard to create more affordable housing. But if we build structures that are not super-efficient, residents will be saddled with high energy bills—and we will miss an opportunity to improve our built environment, a top source of carbon emissions in the state. Now more than ever the topic of affordable housing has become even more critical.In July 2020, Fresh Energy hosted conversations with Minnesota thought leaders and Fresh Energy staff about how super-efficient buildings can become the new normal in equitable affordable housing. This is the final episode in the four-part series featuring a discussion with Mayor Kim Norton of Rochester, Minnesota.With the increased attention on affordable housing in this current crisis, we know that the conversation has only just begun and it’s crucial that energy efficiency be part of the equation. We must build new affordable housing that is so energy efficient it can be heated and cooled with small amounts of renewable electricity. It makes economic sense, it improves indoor air quality, and it also dramatically reduces carbon emissions.We have the know-how to build super-efficient housing that is affordable over the long term. Why isn’t all new housing built that way, and how can we do better? Fresh Energy is bringing people together from diverse areas of the affordable housing arena to explore this issue.Thank you to Stoel Rives LLP for sponsoring this event.Meet the SpeakersKim Norton has been the Mayor of Rochester, Minnesota, since 2018 and represented the area in the Minnesota House of Representatives for 10 years. Kim won a 2016 Bush Fellowship, which allowed her to complete a master’s degree at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs focused on energy policy and leadership. She has a strong commitment to ensuring that Rochester’s Destination Medical Center and many other new developments are super-efficient and is partnering with more than 20 Minnesota cities on a policy to allow cities the option of adopting a standard that is more ambitious than the current state energy code.Justin Fay is Fresh Energy’s director of government affairs and joined our team in November of 2018. Previously, he was the Senior Chapter Representative from 2009 to 2018 for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter. Prior to that, he worked as the Field Director for the campaign to pass the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, and has held a variety of legislative and policy roles, including with the Nature Conservancy and the Campaign for Conservation. Justin leads our work with public agencies and policymakers at the state and local levels, and work to ensure that Fresh Energy’s policy and technical expertise is consistently available to key leaders in Minnesota. He strongly values our fact-based, professional approach to solving complex public problems. Justin obtained a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He also completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota in Morris. Justin enjoys traveling, catching baseball games, and when at home, getting bossed around by his family’s three cats.Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today! Click here to learn more and donate. 
Minnesota is working hard to create more affordable housing. But if we build structures that are not super-efficient, residents will be saddled with high energy bills—and we will miss an opportunity to improve our built environment, a top source of carbon emissions in the state. Now more than ever the topic of affordable housing has become even more critical.In July 2020, Fresh Energy hosted conversations with Minnesota thought leaders and Fresh Energy staff about how super-efficient buildings can become the new normal in equitable affordable housing. This is the second in the four-part series featuring a discussion with Gina Ciganik, Chief Executive Officer of the Healthy Building Network.With the increased attention on affordable housing in this current crisis, we know that the conversation has only just begun and it’s crucial that energy efficiency be part of the equation. We must build new affordable housing that is so energy efficient it can be heated and cooled with small amounts of renewable electricity. It makes economic sense, it improves indoor air quality, and it also dramatically reduces carbon emissions.We have the know-how to build super-efficient housing that is affordable over the long term. Why isn’t all new housing built that way, and how can we do better? Fresh Energy is bringing people together from diverse areas of the affordable housing arena to explore this issue.Thank you to Stoel Rives LLP for sponsoring this event.Meet the SpeakersGina Ciganik is the Chief Executive Officer of the Healthy Building Network. In her previous role at HBN she established and led the HomeFree initiative, an expansion of HBN’s healthy materials work into the affordable housing sector. Prior to HBN, she was Vice President of Housing Development at a Minneapolis-St. Paul area affordable housing development organization, where she spent two decades creating thousands of healthy, affordable homes, including The Rose, a 90-unit apartment building that set a new national standard for healthy materials.As Director of Energy Access and Equity, Ben directs Fresh Energy’s work to advance equitable outcomes across Minnesota’s energy system, and also supports the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. He joined Fresh Energy as a Policy Associate in May 2015. Ben’s previous experience includes legal clerkships with the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Honeywell International, and internships with Governor Mark Dayton and Senator John Marty. Ben holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Minnesota and a Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law. He is a member of the Minnesota Bar.Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today! Click here to learn more and donate. 
Minnesota is working hard to create more affordable housing. But if we build structures that are not super-efficient, residents will be saddled with high energy bills—and we will miss an opportunity to improve our built environment, a top source of carbon emissions in the state. Now more than ever the topic of affordable housing has become even more critical.In July 2020, Fresh Energy hosted conversations with Minnesota thought leaders and Fresh Energy staff about how super-efficient buildings can become the new normal in equitable affordable housing. This is the second in the four-part series featuring a discussion with Mitra Jalali, Saint Paul City Councilmember. It was recorded on July 16.With the increased attention on affordable housing in this current crisis, we know that the conversation has only just begun and it’s crucial that energy efficiency be part of the equation. We must build new affordable housing that is so energy efficient it can be heated and cooled with small amounts of renewable electricity. It makes economic sense, it improves indoor air quality, and it also dramatically reduces carbon emissions.We have the know-how to build super-efficient housing that is affordable over the long term. Why isn’t all new housing built that way, and how can we do better? Fresh Energy is bringing people together from diverse areas of the affordable housing arena to explore this issue.Thank you to Stoel Rives LLP for sponsoring this event.Meet the SpeakersMitra Jalali is the proud daughter of immigrants, a former classroom teacher, community organizer and policy aide who now represents Ward 4 on the St. Paul, Minn., City Council. Her main priorities in office include addressing the affordable housing crisis, community-first public safety, action on climate, and building community wealth.Janiece Watts is a policy associate with Fresh Energy's Energy Access and Equity program. Janiece plays a key role that is working to advance equitable outcomes across Minnesota’s energy system. Her current projects include the Saint Paul Property-Dweller Property-Owner Energy Project, a unique, joint partnership with Community Stabilization Project, and collaborative work with environmental justice groups to improve air quality and reduce demand for oil through electrification of transportation. Janiece joined the Fresh Energy team in August 2018. Before joining Fresh Energy, Janiece worked as a community engagement manager for Eureka Recycling where she developed strategies on zero waste and environmental justice. She is an established organizer working for racial and environmental justice through outreach, events, community meetings, and political action in the Twin Cities for over ten years. She has a BA in Political Science and Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of Minnesota. Janiece is a board member of Headwaters Foundation for Justice and MN350. She loves food—from growing it in her garden to cooking and food cooking shows.Listeners can stay up to date on our work via our once monthly email list, blog at www.fresh-energy.org, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today! Click here to learn more and donate. 
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