PODCAST

Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast

Fresh Energy

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/
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Debriefing COP26 with J. Drake Hamilton
Debriefing COP26 with J. Drake HamiltonMinnesota on the Global Stage: A pre-COP26 conversation with J. Drake HamiltonUntangling the FirstEnergy scandal: A guided tour of the biggest corruption case in Ohio history
Sep 14 2021
1 hr 2 mins
Discussing the Evolution of Energy Access and Equity at Fresh Energy
At Fresh Energy, equity is a central pillar of our mission and a priority across the organization. Our Energy Access and Equity department is where the organization and the staff on today's podcast focus specifically on policies and programs that reduce the energy burden on under-resourced communities, increase opportunities for and access to clean energy jobs, and ensure our policy-based solutions—and Fresh Energy operations—are equitable in both process and outcome. And we're pleased to share that our Energy Access and Equity department is evolving!In today's podcast, we're joined by Fresh Energy's outgoing lead director of Energy Access and Equity Ben Passer, incoming director Anjali Bains, our new director of Culture and Partnerships Janiece Watts, as well as Mari Ojeda, policy associate on the Energy Access and Equity Team.Throughout our conversation, we reference a few blog posts on the Fresh Energy site, here they are:Energy Access and Equity at Three Years: A personal reflection from Ben PasserFresh Energy launches reimagined and co-created community spaceNew Energy Access and Equity leadership at Fresh EnergyAnd don't forget to register and join us for our October 14 Virtual Benefit Breakfast! We wanted to thank a few of our Benefit Breakfast sponsors for their support! Thank you to our title sponsor: Parable Wealth Partners And to our Innovation and Technology sponsor: Mortenson And thank you also to Atomic Data, Ever-Green Energy, District Energy St. Paul, Impact Power Solutions, Apex Clean Energy, Climate Generation, Conley Family Foundation, Design 45, Minneapolis Foundation, Chuck and Candice Nadler, Old National Bank, and Sunrise Banks.
Sep 3 2021
53 mins
Electricity Instead of Gas: How can communities embrace efficiency and electrification and avoid new fossil gas infrastructure?
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.
Jul 29 2021
1 hr 9 mins
Authentic Community Engagement: What is the difference between public input and a co-created climate vision?
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.
Jul 22 2021
1 hr 4 mins
Workforce of the Future: How can Minnesota ensure broad access to jobs in the clean energy economy?
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.
Jul 15 2021
1 hr 1 min
Community Heating and Cooling: How can district-scale heat and power projects achieve big carbon reductions and new union jobs?
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.
Jul 8 2021
1 hr 6 mins
Legislative Update: An impactful year for energy and climate.
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
Jun 28 2021
56 mins
EV Exclusive: Q&A with Minnesotans who drive electric vehicles.Reckoning in Coal Country: Facing the future in Wyoming and Appalachia
Apr 22 2021
1 hr 1 min
Legislative Update: Energy and climate as session approaches the finish line.Moving Toward a Clean Energy Future: A conversation with U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Paul Douglas, and more.
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!
Apr 9 2021
1 hr 2 mins
Deep Dive Into Xcel's Integrated Resource Plan with Allen Gleckner and Ben PasserThe Paris Climate Agreement and Minnesota Leadership, with J. Drake Hamilton, Sen. Nick Frentz and Rep. Jamie LongOur Clean Energy Plans for the 2021 Legislative SessionA Guide to Careers in the Green Recovery with Eric Pasi and Ben PasserConversation with Dr. Leah Stokes + Post-Election Bonus ContentElectric Vehicles in Minnesota? You betcha! Candid convos with EV owners.Conversations with EV, Solar, and Storage Owners in Minnesota
Sep 29 2020
1 hr 24 mins

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