Updated:
Original:

Leadership retreat hidden in northern MN wilderness gets carbon-free power

Author:

Nestled in the picturesque, unspoiled surroundings of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a groundbreaking retreat center took a major step toward opening this week.

For many years now, pioneering explorer and environmentalist Will Steger has been converting his homestead near Ely into the Will Steger Wilderness Center – a unique leadership retreat designed for those who want to solve the world's problems.

And considering Steger – famous for leading the first ever dogsled expedition across Antarctica in 1990 – is a major climate change activist, it's only fitting his wilderness retreat had an eco-friendly power source.

On Wednesday, the center flipped the switch on Phase I of its completely carbon-free, standalone power system, which will generate 20 kilowatts of power through a combination of solar and battery power sources.

The eyes of the sustainability world have been on northeast Minnesota, the center says, as renewable energy experts survey whether it is possible to create a successful, small-scale, fully-independent power grid.

It has been hailed as a "first for Minnesota" and is a huge landmark in the center's progression, with Steger hoping leadership teams will be able to use the retreat starting in the fall of 2016.

"This is a big moment for us," Steger told the Duluth News Tribune. "We're saying goodbye to the seven generators that we've been maintaining for the last 20 years."

The newspaper notes that by the time the center opens, wind and biodiesel power will also be introduced into the local power grid to meet the needs of the center.

Speaking to BringMeTheNews in 2013, Steger said he hoped to bring everyone from students to national policy leaders to the center, so they can discuss the "critical question of how to preserve and respect nature, live sustainably, while moving the country forward economically."

But his focus is on the local as well as the global, as he told the Duluth News Tribune he wants people visiting the center to discuss how the expansion of renewable energy options in the Twin Cities could bring "equity to inner-city residents."

Next Up

Lakeville South

May bomb threat at south metro school traced to Lakeville area kid

Months of investigation led to the digital footprint of the juvenile.

WIkimedia Commons - Frey April 20, 2021

Frey backs creation of Dept. of Public Safety, removal of police staffing minimums

He is in favor of removing police staffing minimums from the city charter – which this November's ballot question would also do.

Foreman tl - Flug-Presley tr - Sturm bl - Pettus br - Go Fund Me and Facebook

St. Paul PD takes over quadruple killing probe after it emerged they died in Minnesota

A "thorough investigation" reveled where the four Minnesotans were killed.

superior national forest

Highway 1 reopens as Greenwood Fire is 80% contained

The highway has been closed for about a month.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, September 20

Data in Monday reports includes the past Friday, not the weekend. Weekend data is released on Tuesdays.

ATV

Driver killed in ATV rollover crash north of Alexandria

The crash occurred in Douglas County Sunday evening.

Related

wind turbine

Minnesota Power to retire coal plants, plans to be carbon-free by 2050

It will retire and convert its remaining two coal plants by 2035.

Keillor retreat on sale for $1M

Minnesota author and humorist Garrison Keillor is selling his riverfront property. The 11.5-acre home off the St. Croix River housed Keillor when he wrote the novel "Wobegon Boy."