Written by Sierra Club intern Jennifer Wang
On Wednesday, July 13th, a group of 30 elected officials, business leaders and local citizens attended a Clean Energy Tour hosted by the Sierra Club in Spicer, Minnesota. The tour highlighted successful clean energy projects of the area, and showed insight as to how the community can move to a cleaner energy economy.The first stop of the tour was at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, which is moving towards (and getting close to) using 100% clean energy. They utilize a combination of solar, wind, and biomass to run the center. They even have an electric pickup than can go 40 miles before recharging that they use to travel around the center and to run errands nearby.
The Spicer SuperStop, a car wash and convenience store, was also on the itinerary, an example of commercial use for clean energy. They have a ten kilowatt solar array installed on their roof and can generate up to 25% of their energy from the solar panels. Ed Nowacki’s farm was also visited, where he generates enough electricity to power his house and two other farm buildings with five free-standing solar systems on his property.These projects demonstrate that we can start transitioning to clean energy successfully in Minnesota. Moving towards a clean energy economy will create jobs and leave our air and water cleaner and safer. This is the time to start reducing our dependence on dirty coal and investing in renewable energy sources.