Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast

Community Heating and Cooling: How can district-scale heat and power projects achieve big carbon reductions and new union jobs?

July 08, 2021 Fresh Energy Season 2 Episode 8
Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast
Community Heating and Cooling: How can district-scale heat and power projects achieve big carbon reductions and new union jobs?
Show Notes

Tune in to Part 1 of Fresh Energy's "Intersection of Energy and Community" webinar series!

The transition to an equitable, carbon-neutral economy will bring big changes to our communities. State and federal policies, utility programs, and the overall evolution from a world powered by oil and gas to a clean electricity-powered future, play out in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes. But it’s not just communities adapting to change. Cities, counties, and local institutions are often leading through model projects and Climate Action Plans to shape a new reality.

In summer 2021, Fresh Energy hosted a webinar series to raise the question: How can we dramatically reduce carbon emissions in a way that improves our communities and benefits everyone?


Brian Larson, Co-Founder and CEO of Darcy Solutions
Brian found a love of the land as a child, while spending time on his grandmother’s farm near Willmar, MN. His studies in Economics at the University of Minnesota led him to pursue his MBA at Indiana University. In the early part of his career he was employed by various large oil and gas companies on the west coast and southern gulf coast, regularly working closely with geologists and geophysicists. Brian’s passion for innovation and problem-solving brought him to work at the consulting firm McKinsey – gaining invaluable knowledge on how to build great companies and design growth strategies. His desire to use innovation to make the world a better place led him to a 14-year career at Cargill. Brian is always looking for an opportunity to do something impactful and use his 30+ years of business experience to elevate brilliant entrepreneurs. When Brian and Jimmy Randolph met, it became clear that the duo’s shared a desire to protect the planet for future generations inspires their partnership at Darcy Solution.

Tony Poole, Business Manager, Steamfitters/Pipefitters Local 455
Tony Poole is a 23-year member of the St. Paul Steamfitters Pipefitters Local 455 and is currently serving as Business Manager for the Union. Upon completion of his apprenticeship in 2004, Tony spent the better part of his career working at industrial sites welding on critical piping systems. He also has experience working on many commercial projects, including hospitals and schools. Tony was elected Business Agent for the Union in 2013 and Business Manager in 2018 and in this capacity is closely involved in contract negotiations, public relations, and more.

Margaret Cherne-Hendrick, Lead Director, Energy Transition at Fresh Energy
Margaret Cherne-Hendrick steers Fresh Energy’s work to decarbonize our economy through the transition of end-uses currently served by fossil fuels to efficient, equitable, carbon-free electricity. She leads a team of staff shaping and driving solutions that use beneficial electrification, efficiency, and other carbon-reduction strategies to dramatically reduce emissions from the building and transportation sectors. She also leads Fresh Energy’s work on carbon sequestration and low-carbon fuel standards as well as actively evaluating other opportunities to move Minnesota toward an equitable carbon-neutral economy by 2050.  In addition to Minnesota policy work at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, State Legislature, and administrative channels, Margaret leads Fresh Energy’s involvement in multiple key partnerships and is a primary architect of the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition.