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Minnesota Passes the ECO Act, a Modern and Expansive Update to its EE Framework

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Last week, the Minnesota legislature passed a major update to the state’s energy efficiency policy framework. The Energy Conservation and Optimization (ECO) Act passed both the House and Senate after a conference committee reached a compromise on the remaining areas of disagreement between the two chambers. The Act was signed by Governor Walz on May 25th. Advocates have been working on ECO for several years. The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Rep. Stephenson in the House and Sen. Rarick in the Senate, both of whom worked to establish a broad coalition of support. Additionally, Rep. Long, Chair of the House Climate and Energy Committee, and Sen. Senjem, Chair of the Senate Energy and Utilities Committee, were critical in advancing the…

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Key to reducing walkaways? Collaboration from the ground up

structural reno

In interviews with Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) implementers and agencies, a key programmatic challenge cited was walkaway rates. Walkaways happen when a home is unable to be weatherized due to a structural or health and safety issue, like a hole in the roof, flooding, hoarding and more. WAPs in the Midwest receive their funding largely from two sources, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the State Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Some states receive additional funding from local utilities, but that is not consistent throughout the region. In states like Wisconsin that receive most of their funding from a utility public benefit fund, there is higher flexibility in how the WAP dollars are spent, and these…

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The Building Operator Pathway Pilot

HVAC system on school rooftop

MEEA is proud to announce a partnership with the Energy Association of Iowa Schools (EAIS) and Southwestern Community College (SWCC) to pilot a two-year apprenticeship for high school students. The Building Operator Certification (BOC®) training curriculum will be utilized as part of the classroom component during the first year and a half of the program. The Project Students will be paired with a facility maintenance professional working in their school who will serve as a mentor, guiding the student through training. The student will gain hands-on facility maintenance experience, earn college credit through SWCC and—along with the facility manager—will be eligible to earn a Building Operator Certification Training Certificate of…

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