Climate-Smart Municipalities

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a renewable energy farm

Modeling Integrated Energy Communities for the 21st Century in Minnesota and Germany is pairing Minnesota municipalities with award-winning climate-smart communities in Germany to accelerate progress toward a cleaner and more efficient energy footprint. Selected muncipalities send representatives to Germany to learn about innovative programs and practices, then share their progress and insights in Minnesota. They also have the benefit of working with their twin community while a delegation of municipalities and leaders visits Minnesota each fall. In April 2016, five communities — Duluth, Elk River, Morris, Rochester and Warren — were chosen to participate in the program.

Project Leads

  • Sabine Engel, Institute on the Environment


  • Germany’s federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy
  • Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Protection and Consumer Protection in the state of North Rhine–Westphalia
  • University of Minnesota Natural Resources Research Institute
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Minnesota Environmental Quality Board
  • Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • Great Plains Institute
  • Ever-Green Energy
  • Minnesota Credit Union Network