AURI has developed a one-of-a-kind tool to help Minnesota counties and regions to estimate their renewable energy potential and demand.
The AURI Renewable Energy Template is a tool devised to help answer questions that have been repeatedly asked of AURI during the last few years: How can various regions throughout Minnesota foster renewable energy development? Is there a way to determine regions’ and counties’ best resources for renewable energy? What is the most effective way to stimulate more renewable energy projects?
"We had regions asking for help conducting feasibility studies on renewable energy," says Randy Hilliard, project development director at AURI. Rather than AURI conducting multiple individual studies, "we thought it would be more economical and more practical to give organizations, businesses, and even individuals the ability to empower themselves" by providing them with a well-researched tool that they could tailor to their own situation, says Hilliard.
The template, published by AURI in May, contains instructions and data for estimating the renewable energy and potential of a region or county. Its intent is not to generate a full-blown feasibility study, but to serve as a "how-to manual" for inventorying biomass resources and determining local and regional markets for renewable energy. Hilliard states that employing the template will be a "labor intensive, but not complicated" process.
Ultimately, "we think this template will be able to help stimulate more renewable energy projects and lay the groundwork for economic development," says Hilliard.
Available at no charge, the tool is the first of its kind. It is already being used by several regional organizations in Minnesota, and is available for download at www.auri.org.