Landowners, business leaders and community members also invited to CERTS conference in St. Cloud
Interest in wind energy is high, as illustrated by the nearly 750 people who have attended landowner forums designed by Rural Energy Development Initiative (REDI) staff and partners to share information on REDI, community-based energy, the Dispersed Generation Study, wind rights and land lease/easement agreements, wind energy development choices and more.
Landowner forums are open to anyone who would like more information about navigating the wind energy arena and why wind energy presents a unique opportunity for rural Minnesota. Forums have been conducted throughout the state including Warren, Blooming Prairie, Montevideo, St. Charles, Newfolden, Paynesville, Hayfield and Bemidji since June, 2008, with additional opportunities set for January in southwest Minnesota.
The first 2009 forum is set for 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the VFW Post 1656, located at 711 2nd St. in Madison. This opportunity is hosted by the Lac qui Parle County Economic Development Authority in partnership with SWIF, REDI, the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission and Windustry. It is offered at no charge to participants. Contact Lac qui Parle County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Pam Lehman at 320-598-7976 for more information.
The second forum will take place Thursday, Jan. 22 at the Redwood Area Community Center, located at 901 Cook St. in Redwood Falls. The morning session from 9 a.m. to noon will focus on commercial-scale wind. The afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. will focus on home and farm-scale wind. Participants may attend one or both sessions. This opportunity is hosted by the Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC) in partnership with SWIF, REDI, Redwood County Economic Development Authority and the Southwest Clean Energy Resource Team. Contact the RADC to register no later than Jan. 20. Lunch is available for $5 per person. Payment can be mailed directly to RADC, PO Box 481, Redwood Falls, Minn., 56283. Contact RACD/Redwood County EDA Economic Development Specialist Julie Rath at 507-637-4004 for more information.
A third educational opportunity is offered through the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) 2009 Conference Feb. 10-11 in St. Cloud. SWIF/REDI will host a pre-conference workshop on community-based energy development in partnership with Windustry during which participants will learn about the basics of community-based energy development and dig into specific issues regarding planning, financing and project implementation, especially concerning wind power. For more information, visit www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/events/conference.
REDI is a program intended to maximize rural economic development and stabilize rural economies in Minnesota by providing wind energy development outreach and education, project assistance and low interest loans. It is administered by the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) and sponsored by the State of Minnesota and the Center for Rural Policy and Development.
SWIF is excited about the opportunity to help local groups develop successful wind energy projects and make choices that best serve the people of greater Minnesota. “Wind is a valuable resource,” said SWIF Program Specialist/REDI Regional Contact Cheryl Glaeser. “We want to help community members keep as much of this value as possible in their local areas.” For more information about these educational opportunities or the REDI program, contact SWIF Program Specialist/REDI Regional Contact Cheryl Glaeser at 800-594-9480 or visit www.swifoundation.org/redi.html.
The Southwest Initiative Foundation is a regional community foundation dedicated to advancing southwest Minnesota through leadership, relationship-building, program development and philanthropy. The Foundation has contributed more $43 million through its grant and loan programs in southwest Minnesota. It has also helped over 400 businesses start or expand through its business finance programs, which has created or retained over 6,800 jobs. To learn more, visit www.swifoundation.org.