Region Nine’s Executive Director Nicole Griensewic will attend the Climate Smart Municipalities (CSM) delegation to Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) from September 11-18, 2021. Region Nine is an active member of the CSM group, has hosted a Clean Energy Tour in March 2020, and became a regional partner this year.

The delegation will have 28-32 members. Members represent the cities of Duluth, Morris, Rochester, Warren, White Bear Lake, along with state government, counties, business, and the education and nonprofit sectors.

The 2021 CSM workshop seminar in Germany emphasizes the idea of building integrated energy, sustainability, and climate solutions and the need to partner with the entire set of stakeholders in order to arrive at the best solutions. Cities play a special role in pioneering solutions and new policy. The visit will focus on three NRW cities that each show comprehensive approaches in building sustainable clean energy economies.

The delegation will first spend time in Muenster, a regional center with approximately 300,000 people and a long-time leader in sustainability, energy efficient buildings, and clean transportation with its electric and hydrogen buses and robust bicycle infrastructure. Next, the delegation will move to the small community of Saerbeck to visit and learn about their bio-energy park and how it will help achieve the city’s goal of being powered entirely by renewable energy. Finally, the delegation will end the week in the city of Luedenscheid where they will take part in climate-smart forest tree planting.

The 12-15 members of the delegation representing state government, politics, business and research will visit a large waste management company, connect with leaders in one of the cities damaged by the recent rain floods, and visit with leadership of the NRW state ministry of environment, agriculture, and consumer and nature protection while the city delegation members work with their city technical partners on three days. One event, a large networking dinner, is designed to connect NRW regional leaders with the full Minnesota delegation.