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Sustainability & Resilience in Action

R5DC has a long history of work around regional resiliency and renewable energy in our beautiful, biologically diverse region (e.g. Local Foods, Solar Schools, Watershed Planning, household well water loans through NCEDA). Community members in our region continuously express interest in having more opportunities to expand energy and environment-related initiatives via our Comprehensive Regional Economic Development Strategy (CREDS). Through that process, R5DC has prioritized facilitating energy and environment-related projects in our region. 


Our Energy & Environment Planning process prioritizes projects that complement and support a city's comprehensive plan and county's hazard mitigation plan. Through community meetings and surveys, projects are prioritized into a five-year action plan that includes investments and timelines and identifies additional resources for further implementation. 


Sustainability and resiliency planning ensures a thriving region for generations to come and is measured by the intersectional connections with environment and the WealthWorks eight forms of wealth. We are excited to continue Energy and Environment Planning with selected cities in our region during the next few years.


Energy & Environment Plans Completed with Projects Planned:

If you are interested in learning more about Energy and Environment Planning

and how it might work in your community, contact Savannah Winkler


Resources for Consideration

Region Five Development Commission’s GreenCorps member went through the SolSmart program that works to help provide education for local solar markets. Solar energy uses a renewable energy source – the sun – and provides many benefits for individuals, the community, economy, and environment.


Below is a list of resources for individuals, businesses, and local units of governments that may be considering solar.

  • Thinking About Installing Solar? Here’s Where to Get Started.
    MN Solar Suitability Analysis App ( Use this site to learn about your business or home’s potential for solar energy. You can also estimate the performance of potential PV projects using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts Calculator. Connect with the Clean Energy Resource Teams representative in your area and check out their list of solar resources. If your site looks like it might be good for solar, check out MnSEIA’s list of solar contractors. A local installer can provide you with a solar site assessment, quotes, and other useful resources for getting a solar installation off the ground.
  • Resources for Local Governments
    Below are helpful resources for local government units around solar zoning, planning, and land use. - Clean Energy Resource Teams solar toolkit with model ordinances - Best Practice Guidance for Solar and Zoning | SolSmart - Local Government Guide for Solar Deployment | US Department of Energy - Solar@Scale: A Local Government Guidebook for Improving Large-scale Solar Development Outcomes | American Planning Association
  • Further Learning and Training
    Interested in more solar training? You could become NABCEP certified and take more courses through the Midwest Renewable Energy Association | Solar Training, and Resources Interested in becoming part of the renewable energy economy today? Check out the Minnesota Clean Energy Job Board


Providing collaborative facilitation of comprehensive watershed management plans


Plans created through the One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) program are called comprehensive watershed management plans. 1W1P is now in implementation phase.




The Region Five Development Commission (R5DC) assisted communities and SWCD’s throughout the planning process by facilitating a strategic policy framework that is based on obtaining input from a broad array of soil and water conservation stakeholders ranging from hydrologists, well drillers, and farmers, to state agencies like the DNR and MPCA.  Through this process, Region Five helped communities navigate a process to identify issues, barriers and solutions related to soil and water conservation on a watershed basis, which naturally transcends local municipal and county boundaries.


Helpful Resources:

For more information about watershed planning, contact Candice Zimmermann.

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