Q & A with CEEM’s summer interns

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With summer winding down and the return of school quickly approaching, interns Claire Lund (pictured left) and Petra Holtze (right) wanted to reflect on their time here at CEEM. As the Communications and Marketing intern, Petra spent most of her time this summer aiding Amelia in writing social media content for CEEM’s accounts, analyzing platform performance, creating the monthly newsletter, developing the second Names Behind the Numbers series, and brainstorming communication goals for the future. As the Business Development and Programs intern, Claire worked alongside Lily and spent the majority of her time working in salesforce, writing blog posts, working on case studies, and taking field trips out to greater Minnesota to see clean energy in action. She was also able to gain valuable experience for any future in non-profits through helping Lily organize CEEM’s 2019 Summer Unwind event.

Below is a bit more reflection from Petra and Claire on their summer with CEEM:

1.) Claire, tell us about the case studies you worked on with Lily this summer. 

Over the past couple of months, Lily and I have been working on three case studies involving clean energy policies such as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) and Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs). The case studies allowed me to witness energy policies in action, and how they make real positive impacts on communities and businesses. It was also interesting to listen to how passionate some of the people we talked to were about their projects and the different ways that they were able to make clean energy work for their unique situations.

2.) Petra, tell us about the Names Behind the Numbers storytelling project you worked on this summer with Amelia. 

This summer, Amelia and I traveled to five different locations across the state to interview individuals in different sectors of the clean energy field. We partnered with communications agency Ainsley Shea to create short video profiles and write feature stories on each employee interviewed. Names Behind the Numbers quickly became one of my favorite projects to work on this summer, as I had the wonderful opportunity to meet people in all aspects of the clean energy field and hear the process of how they found their job, as well as listen to their passions for the work. It inspired me to hear real stories from real Minnesotans, and be able to then tell these stories so that others can hear how impactful and exciting clean energy can be.

(Stay tuned for our NBTN stories to be posted in the next coming weeks!) 

3.) Claire, what was something surprising you learned this summer? 

I learned so much this summer, but I was most surprised at how many benefits clean energy has to our economy in Minnesota. I’ve learned about a few of these benefits in some of my classes, but I was able to learn a lot more by becoming familiar with the 2019 Clean Jobs Midwest Report.

4.) Petra, if you were going to share something about Minnesota's clean energy economy with a stranger, what would you want them to know? 

When discussing clean energy, I think many people focus on the environmental positives.Although a very important aspect, I believe focus on the environmental benefits fails to acknowledge the tremendous economic impact of clean energy on our state and nation. According to the 2019 Clean Jobs Midwest Report, there are over 61,000 Minnesotans working in the clean energy field (and counting). Within that 61,000, 72% of clean energy businesses employ 20 people or less, meaning that small businesses are a staple of this industry. To me, the economic impact on Minnesotan jobs and businesses is an essential aspect of advancing the clean energy industry here, and something that I hope continues to gain attention to strangers (and friends) across the state! 

We have loved being members of the CEEM team this summer, and are so grateful to all we have learned from Gregg, Amelia, Lily, Benjamin, and the rest of the clean energy community! Thank you for such a great summer, we can’t wait to see the continued growth of clean energy in Minnesota in the years to come!