LINDSTROM, Minn. -- Valkommen till Lindstrom. That’s the Swedish message painted on the city’s water tower, which translates to “Welcome to Lindstrom”.
The folks in this Chisago County town of about 4,000 people have taken more than the Swedish language to heart. They’re taking the Scandanavian ethic of self-reliance too.
“By 2025, we think we can get to 100 percent, locally generated power in Chisago County,” said Jeremy Kalin, CEO of Eutactics, a Twin Cities renewable energy company.
Lindstrom is one of the five original members of the Chisago Clean Energy Hub that has now expanded its goal to providing renewable energy to every light bulb and outlet in every home and business throughout the 55,000 person county in the next eight years.
“We are 55 to 60 percent of the way to all residents, all governmental needs, all institutions and all industry needs coming from solar generated within the county,” said Kalin.
The brunt of the energy is coming from the 1,200-acre Twin Cities solar secret—the North Star solar farm about ten miles north of Lindstrom.
Add that to the 40 smaller solar community gardens and about 300 other commercial and residential solar projects already in place or in the works.
“It's good for their community, it's good for their image, it saves energy. It's win win win,” said Diana McKeown, director of the Metro Clean Energy Resource Teams.
McKeown says they went door to door spreading the word in 2015 offering up free assessments for clean energy projects, and people and companies bought in.
“They have embraced clean energy and solar. They've raised their hand and said we want this. And for them, it's economic development,” said McKeown.
Kalin says 61 percent of Chisago County voted for Donald Trump in the November election. After the president pulled out of the Paris climate accord earlier this month, Kalin says the move will likely have no effect on the progress of their energy hub.
“We've not had a national energy policy. We've not had an international energy policy. So it's been communities and states that lead the way and we don't see anything changing,” said Kalin.
For more information on renewable energy projects and information in the Twin Cities, you can click here.