Monday, October 20, 2008

Midwest Monday: MN Businesses Get Energy Smart

I work in public relations and I rarely write about clients. But this client is really exciting and fits the theme of Maria Energia perfectly: Smart energy policy meets business leadership.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce just launched a new initiative to assist businesses with making energy efficiency improvements that save money and electricity. "Energy Smart" helps companies understand the rebates and incentives available to them through their local utilities.

Energy costs are a big part of running a business. With those costs increasing, it makes sense now more than ever for businesses owners to make sure they're running operations as efficiently as possible (a lighting upgrade could save a business 35 percent of its lighting costs). Energy Smart is a one-stop shop that helps small and mid-sized businesses determine their energy usage, the best efficiency upgrades, forecast cost savings and navigate the myriad of financial incentives like grants, rebates and low-interest loans.

So why are utilities so concerned about efficiency? Minnesota law requires them to cut electricity demand by 1.5 percent over the next few years. In order to meet that requirement, utilities need their customers to help them get there. Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, Otter Tail Power and Interstate Power and Light are funding the Energy Smart initiative to accomplish this.

Its smart policy begetting smart business decisions that make our entire energy system more efficient.

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