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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. 


R5DC is currently working with eight communities over the next two years, with funding from USDA's Rural Community Development Initiative, Morgan Family Foundation and Sourcewell. 

Our Energy and Environment Planning utilizes the years of experience and expertise at R5DC in energy and environment. 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.


We are grateful to Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the U.S. Economic Development Administration for funding the two pilot plans for cities of Hackensack and Staples. As the result of their investments, we are already seeing outcomes for these projects.

Energy & Environment Plans in Progress:

Energy & Environment Plans Completed with Projects Planned:

The Building Economic Resilience through Clean Energy and Equity (BERCEE) initiative is a multi-stakeholder effort co-convened by the Great Plains Institute (GPI) and BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) to find opportunity at the confluence of three complex and interrelated challenges facing Minnesota today:

1) A global pandemic that has incurred economic devastation

2) Long-standing racial disparities that can no longer be ignored

3) The growing urgency to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions

R5DC participated in the creation of this plan as a stakeholder.

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.

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

and how it might work in your community, contact BJ Allen

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