Posted: June 8, 2016

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@MinnState.edu, 651-201-1426

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Center of Excellence Awarded $5.5 million Xcel Energy Grant
Funds to drive growth of talent in Minnesota’s renewable electric energy industry

ST. PAUL, Minn., June 8, 2016 – The Minnesota Energy Center, a collaboration of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses, was awarded a $5.5 million grant from the Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund. The grant will fund leading edge research that will ensure the growth, development, and delivery of renewable electric energy technologies throughout Minnesota.

“For renewable electric energy to continue its impressive growth in Minnesota, our state needs a talented workforce that is proficient with innovative technologies,” said Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. “The projects funded by this grant will provide opportunities for our students to conduct state-of-the-art research that will deliver economic benefits for Xcel Energy customers and create a better environment for all Minnesotans.”

One of eight Centers of Excellence, the Minnesota Energy Center was established by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in 2012 to develop partnerships with business and industry that ensure alignment with the current and future workforce needs of the state’s energy industries.

“Investing in innovative technology that leads to future wind, solar and other renewable energy projects benefits our customers and builds a better Minnesota,” said Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy Minnesota. “Xcel Energy’s Renewable Development Fund creates jobs, improves the environment, and increases renewable energy use in Minnesota.”

Minnesota West Community and Technical College and St. Cloud Technical and Community College are the co-campus leads in the Energy Center.  Minnesota West Community and Technical College will serve as the fiscal agent for the grant. University faculty from St. Cloud State University and Minnesota State University, Mankato will serve as principal investigators in the program.

“The opportunity to expand research projects at our colleges and universities to explore and develop renewable electric energy products and increase generation capacity in our state is incredible,” stated Bruce Peterson, director of the Minnesota Energy Center.  “The conversations we are engaging in to prepare for this opportunity are rich as we explore how we can expand our educational opportunities for current and future students across the state of Minnesota.”

The Center will select and oversee up to 14 quality research and development projects at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities related to renewable electrical energy technology. Projects will be chosen based on their ability to improve and stimulate the use of renewable electric energy technologies throughout Minnesota.

Rosenstone said, “The projects enabled by this grant will demonstrate the applied research strength of our state colleges and universities in ways that affect all regions of the state and leverage pathways that bring technology to industry for the benefit all Minnesotans. They will exemplify how collaboration among our colleges and universities delivers outstanding results that would otherwise be impossible.”

Additional information about the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Centers of Excellence is available at http://mnscu.edu/business/excellence/index.html. Additional information on the grant process is available at www.energycareersminnesota.com/xcel-rdf/.

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The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities include 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 400,000 students. It is the fifth-largest higher education system in the United States.

Project funding provided by customers of Xcel Energy through a grant from the Renewable Development Fund.