North Rhine-Westphalia and Minnesota to cooperate on climate action

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24 April 2018

The German State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the US State of Minnesota, who are both key members of The Climate Group's Energy Transition Platform, are to collaborate on energy efficiency and renewable energy. The governments of the two states will today (April 24) sign a Joint Declaration of Intent to continue their already rewarding partnership for another 4 years.

The areas of focus for the Joint Declaration of Intent are energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage technologies, climate protection for municipalities, economy and industry. The commitments build on a previous Declaration, signed in 2013.

One main pillar of the two governments’ collaboration is the Energy Transition Platform, a peer-learning platform for highly industrialized states and regions. Through this initiative, these governments have shared some of their pioneering and innovative projects, such as the State of Minnesota’s Community Solar Gardens that provide electricity to participating subscribers – including residents and local businesses – and support the expansion of solar power.

Another pillar is the ‘Climate Smart Municipalities’ program that pairs five award-winning climate-smart communities in North Rhine-Westphalia with municipalities in Minnesota to accelerate progress towards a cleaner and more efficient energy footprint.

The Climate Group is holding an Innovation Lab workshop of the Energy Transition Platform from April 25-27, in Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia. Eight governments of the initiative and several guests, such as the Wuppertal Institute, will come together to exchange on community renewable energy projects, engaging with industry stakeholders and making the building sector more energy efficient with the aim to develop a vision for future action.

Last year, the Energy Transition Platform workshop held in Bilbao in June 2017, was an important forum for participants to come together and discuss common challenges and solutions to achieving clean energy transitions.

The Declaration is today concluded by Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Bill Grant, Deputy Commissioner of Energy and Telecommunications for the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Contributing to over 30% of German greenhouse gas emissions, North Rhine-Westphalia – with its energy intensive industry and large share of energy from fossil sources – is a prime example of how the energy transition can work. On signing the Joint Declaration of Intent, Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, said:

“We set ourselves ambitious climate targets and we consider them as challenge as well as motivation. I want North Rhine-Westphalia to be the most modern and climate friendly location for business and industry. Innovation and digitalization are key elements for this development. 

“To accelerate our processes, we cooperate with regions around the world that face the same transformational challenges as we do. We treasure our partnership with Minnesota and our joint work in the Energy Transition Platform as a great opportunity to learn from one another and to move forward together.”

Bill Grant, Deputy Commissioner of Energy and Telecommunications for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, added:

"Here in Minnesota we've seen development of renewables at all scales, and a healthy, fast paced transition towards a more sustainable way of producing and consuming energy. Through the cooperative partnerships generated by the Energy Transition Platform, we were able to share our experience with state and regional governments in a similar situation as us.

“We’re grateful for the sharing of information, innovation, and encouragement from the other states and regions of the initiative, and are particularly positive about continuing our fruitful collaboration with the Government of North Rhine-Westphalia.”


The Energy Transition Platform connects 11 highly industrialized, carbon-intensive states and regions to develop and implement innovative clean energy policies, as well as share transition experiences and successful initiatives. Launched in early 2016, alongside the initiative’s lead government, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Stiftung Mercator, the Energy Transition Platform supports these regions and states to overcome barriers, and enable the transfer and adoption of innovative clean energy policies. It is part of the world-leading climate action network for regional and state governments, the Under2 Coalition, for which The Climate Group is Secretariat.

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