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Green Visions
A Northland Morning feature focusing on local environmental issues, heard Wednesdays at 8:20 a.m. Green Visions is brought to you by All Energy Solar, Minnesota Power Energy Conservation Program, and Energy Plus.

Green Visions: The Future of Solar in Duluth

Rows of solar panels under a big blue sky
Duane Schermerhorn [Via Flickr]

What does it take to get renewable energy into a community. Well, a million dollars doesn’t hurt. “We just heard back on a department of energy grant,” says Mindy Granley, Sustainability Officer for the City of Duluth. The awarded grant gives Duluth $997,000 to work with. But it takes more than that; preparation, research, and input from the community will fill out the next two years for many involved in the solar-planning process.

Among the questions to be answered is where to put solar in the area. "You have to do it the right way," says Granley who's heard a lot of opinions about locations for such a project. "There's going to be some technical siting and investigation that's going to be really exciting." Interconnection with current utilities and high-use areas come into play when attacking this particular conversation.

Though the immediate impact will be on the local community, Granley views this as an opportunity to set an example for other municipalities to move forward with renewables. "[We plan] to prepare a toolkit for other medium-size cities to use, to replicate this process." And with the right input, community response, and a thoughtful approach, there is hope that Duluth will be a model city for a renewable future.

Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
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