Crookston, Minn. — An internet-based communication portal is keeping Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Roundtable participants connected.

An internet portal is a single site with multiple functions such as email, news feeds and blogs. The portal at www.mnrer.org tracks Roundtable activities and links to renewable-energy developments elsewhere.

Facilitated by AURI, the Roundtable includes representatives from more than100 Minnesota organizations and businesses that want to further the state’s renewable-energy industry.

“The portal helps address many communication issues,” says David DeMuth, University of Minnesota Crookston professor and Roundtable portal project director. “This is a communications tool to facilitate conversations and help solve problems.”

Demuth and several UMC students collaborated with AURI to design the portal. As a “living site,” it will be continually updated with information from the five Roundtable action teams and include speaker presentations and other news.

The portal will also be valuable to people outside the Roundtable. “There will be information about strategies that are being developed on issues like green-power jobs, curriculum development, research and public policy that will affect people who don’t directly participate in the Roundtable,” says AURI’s Valerie Gravseth, Roundtable coordinator. “Our hope is that it becomes a credible source of information and a go-to place to learn about what’s going on in renewable energy.”

Those who access Facebook, My Space, LinkedIn and other web networks will be familiar with the MNRER portal concept. But it’s user friendly for the novice too.

“We envision the site to be a one-stop communications portal for both the public and those who are ‘churning the butter,’” DeMuth says