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Local interest group to focus on energy initiatives

The Park Rapids area has received seed money to start organizing a local energy interest group.

Park Rapids Area Energy Expansion - Sailer Environmental Park Rapids - was awarded $2,500 from Clean Energy Resource Teams.

The Park Rapids Area Energy Expansion project's primary aim is to facilitate the formation of a cohesive, local energy interest group, beyond the city itself.

"When we received a Green Park Rapids grant a few years ago it was restricted to the city limits," said Brita Sailer, who applied for the grant. "We wanted to see if we could expand some of these programs to about a 40 mile radius."

A number of people in the area have had wind turbines, solar panels and other energy-efficient projects completed, Sailer said. She wants to work on creating a business directory of contractors who have worked on energy efficiency projects.

"This money will help get this group going and help us get organized," she said.

The group will collaborate with other organizations, provide structure for future community energy initiatives, and educate community members on a broad spectrum of energy topics including energy efficiency and conservation measures, renewable energy systems and the expertise to maintain them.

Sailer said she plans to be at the Park Rapids Energy Fair March 3 to talk with people about the initiative.

CERTs announced 27 seed grants were awarded across the state in 2012. Seven regions were awarded $10,000 worth of seed grants, catalyzing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across the state. The funding is provided by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources.

Many projects include components of education, outreach and community building, and research.

Park Rapids also received a CERTs grant in 2008 for The Green Park Rapids Initiative worked toward getting more environmentally friendly building developments on the ground in Park Rapids. Many homeowners had home energy audits completed and some had energy improvements done on their homes.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561