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New Information and Opportunities for Local Communities Seeking to Improve Their Sustainability

March 2, 2010

Beginning in April, local community leaders will have the opportunity to attend four webinars designed to help leaders of local communities plan and implement energy efficiency and clean energy projects.  Local communities often have an advantage in pursuing projects due to local authority in regulating land use, project permitting.  Yet, local communities often face tremendous hurdles when attempting to implement clean energy.  The process of getting projects started can often be cumbersome while all too often local leadership must address many issues, preventing them from focusing enough time and resources on energy issues.  Many of the problems local communities and community leaders face may be found in Lessons and Concepts for Advancing Community Wind, a recent publication of The Minnesota Project and available at: http://www.mnproject.org/pdf/TMP_Advancing-Community-Wind_Dec09.pdf.  Local communities face the double edged sword of local control and influence.  On one hand, this local control presents the opportunity to garner public momentum behind a project.  On the other hand, it also creates added difficulties compounded by NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

Key to overcoming many of the barriers currently facing local community leaders is both training and information.  Resources are available at www.mnproject.org.  Additionally, webinar series such as the one presented by the Energy Center of Wisconsin may provide guidance to local leaders as they plan and incorporate clean energy and projects.  For more information about the Community Energy Leadership Webinar Series, go to: http://www.ecw.org/project.php?workid=2&resultid=414.

Local leaders may also find vital information about a new grant program, as well as offer comments and suggestions, through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s new Sustainable Housing and Communities Initiative.  Information about listening sessions and webcasts may be found at: http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/program_offices/sustainable_housing_communities?msource=HUDweb.  While general information on the new initiative may be found through http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/program_offices/sustainable_housing_communities/grant_program

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