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Explore Germany, a world leader in the transformation to sustainable energy systems and the inventor of the vision of cities and regions powered 100% by renewable energy. Germany’s renewable energy system emerged through collaboration across political, business and nonprofit sectors based in science. Spend time in three cities known for sustainability: Dusseldorf, Saerbeck, and Münster. These cities have excelled in advancing their renewable energy storage, combining heat, solar and wind power, and the electrification of transportation in truly revolutionary ways.

Relish in the unique opportunity to experience the political, social and technological drivers behind renewable energy development. You will meet with Germany's top politicians, government officials, researchers, and educators, along with German university students, and learn how they advocate for and manage change.

This immersive experience is tied in with the Climate-Smart Municipalities program that involves cities, counties, state agencies, and political leaders in Minnesota and Germany. 

Housing and Meals

You will stay in hostels in Düsseldorf and Münster. Quite a few dinners will be provided, but you should plan for most lunches on your own. In total, you should plan for about 13 meals on your own.


Daily visits to renewable energy organizations in Düsseldorf, Münster, and Saerbeck, Germany, walking tours, a bike tour, museums, and, possibly opportunity to spend a day with a state legislator in his or her district.

Program Leaders


Beth Mercer-Taylor, JD, is the sustainability education co-director at the University of Minnesota, where she administers the Sustainability Studies Minor. Beth has helped to implement the GreenStep Cities program in Minnesota and many campus sustainability programs.

Dr. Sabine Engel is a program director in the Institute on the Environment, and leads the Climate-Smart exchange program with Germany. Sabine has led 15 delegations to Germany of Minnesota elected officials, business and community leaders and is connected to a large network of influential German partners. 

Troy Goodnough is the first sustainability director at the University of Minnesota, Morris, where he has worked to develop and implement sustainability initiatives by creating new educational programs, outreach initiatives, and renewable energy projects. On the Climate-Smart Municipalities project, he serves as the advisor of record for the student interns from Germany. He also serves as a speaker on the student delegation tours to Germany.

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