MFU President Gary Wertish part of Minnesota energy delegation to Germany
June 13, 2018
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) has long held a commitment to advancing the use of renewable energy of all forms. On June 23, MFU President Gary Wertish will carry out that commitment further, traveling to Germany with a nonpartisan delegation of 20 Minnesota business, nonprofit, government and academic leaders.
The group will spend a week visiting showcase examples of the country’s dramatic energy transformation and talk with its leaders.
The annual Berlin Seminar on Energy Policy is part of a larger Regional Economies and Renewable Energy Policy dialogue hosted since 2016 by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE), in partnership with Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
This year’s focus is on rural communities and the rural-urban partnerships needed for the transition to a clean-energy economy to be successful. Rural communities have been leaders of Germany’s statewide energy transformation, said Sabine Engel, director of international partnerships at IonE and leader of the Berlin Seminar and dialogue initiative.
The U.S. delegation, which includes President Wertish as well as Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap and Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, will visit showcase sites in the Bavaria and Berlin/Brandenburg regions that demonstrate how distributed electricity generation and new technologies add value, especially in rural areas.
“Renewable energy is not only necessary for mitigating the effects of climate change, but it is also a good source of jobs in rural areas and can increase the efficiency of family farm operations,” President Wertish said. “I look forward to advocating for more renewable energy ideas based on what we learn in Germany, and I’m thankful to have been invited.”
The delegation also includes four state senators; leaders from Mortenson Construction, Geronimo Energy and Connexus Energy; participants from Minnesota’s Departments of Agriculture and Transportation; and representatives from Fresh Energy and the Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota. Leaders from the University of Minnesota’s IonE, College of Science and Engineering, Humphrey School of Public Affairs and UMN-Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute.
The seminar and site vists in Germany are the basis for follow-up events in Minnesota this fall with energy experts from Germany. All funding for the Berlin Seminar is provided by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
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