Environmental Initiative - Home

Archive for September, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up – 9/27/13

September 27th, 2013

Environmental Initiative’s next policy forum, The Future of Minnesota’s Electric Utilities, will focus on the future business models for utilities given changes in the landscape – from increasing energy efficiency to smaller, more dispersed sources of energy such as solar and wind. State and local energy experts will be featured and it should be a really interesting conversation. Given the forum topic, here are few things that grabbed my attention this week:

  1. What’s the largest misconception people in the U.S. have about renewable energy? (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. 2040: The City of Minneapolis establishes its energy vision. (City of Minneapolis)
  3. Installed solar power capacity outpaces wind energy for the first time. (Fuel Fix)
  4. World climate scientists embrace an upper limit for emissions. (The New York Times)
  5. If you add more solar and wind power to the energy grid, what happens? (The Washington Post)

Registration for the event will remain open until Friday October 25th. The event is from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and is $30 for members and $60 for nonmembers. We hope you’ll join us!

Emily Franklin


Director of Communications

Introducing Gena Gerard, Director of Project Planning

September 4th, 2013

My name is Gena Gerard, and I am honored to be Environmental Initiative’s new Director of Project Planning.

As a native of northern California, I grew up camping amongst the redwoods and spent many summer nights in an orange Coleman tent with my parents and siblings, listening to the sounds of the Stellar’s Jays while the lush ocean fog rolled over us and cooled the air after a day spent hiking below the cathedral-like canopy of the evergreens. Now a Minnesota resident of 18 years, I take my own family outdoors to experience the beautiful boreal forest of Lake Superior’s north shore, where we encounter nature in a similar way. It is this connection with the natural world that inspires me to find ways I can contribute to the protection of the environment through the work that I do.

I came to Minnesota to study public policy, earning a Masters degree with a concentration in nonprofit management from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. After launching and directing Restorative Justice Community Action, a model neighborhood-based 501(c)(3) conflict resolution program in Minneapolis, I started my own small business – a yoga studio called Yoga Bella – but soon realized how much I missed working in the policy sphere. I decided to turn my attention toward the environmental issues confronting us today.

For the past three years, I have enjoyed working in the field of energy efficiency and conservation on efforts to support the 1.5% Next Generation Energy Act energy savings mandate and other conservation measures. I conducted multiple program and process evaluations with Integrative Growth, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in energy efficiency and conservation. In that role, I presented at American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource in Denver, CO, speaking on energy efficiency financing tools for economic development. Most recently, I served as senior project manager for Energy Insight, Inc., where I supported utility Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) planning and evaluation activities by facilitating stakeholder group planning processes, process mapping, and logic model development to successfully achieve energy savings goals.

Last year, I became a Certified Professional Project Manager (CPPM) through the University of St. Thomas School of Business. The timing could not have been better! As I undertake my new role as Director of Project Planning with Environmental Initiative, I look forward to the task at hand: facilitating new partnerships and projects to protect our most valuable natural resources, including our air. Environmental Initiative has a tremendous track record in this area, and I have been given some very big shoes to fill. I am grateful for the opportunity.

Gena Gerard


Director, Clean Air Program
Environmental Initiative - Home