Reporter | Energy, natural resources and sustainability

Walker Orenstein covers energy, natural resources and sustainability for the Star Tribune. Before that, he was a reporter at MinnPost and at news outlets in Washington state.

Walker Orenstein covers energy, natural resources and sustainability for the Star Tribune. Orenstein previously covered state government and politics with a focus on greater Minnesota and environmental issues for MinnPost, and he reported on the Legislature in Washington state for The News Tribune of Tacoma. He was raised in St. Paul and attended the University of Washington in Seattle. In his spare time, Orenstein enjoys playing hockey, hiking and camping..


Xcel's proposed automatic bill credit could save low-income households in Minnesota $450 a year

The company would enroll people in certain census areas based on income metrics and energy bills to help make energy costs just 4% of the household's income.


How to solar power your home to lower your carbon footprint

There are more options for boosting solar power at home than you might think, including installing rooftop solar, subscribing to a community garden or simply paying extra to your utility.


Xcel drops rate fight, which will keep Minnesota utility bills cheaper

It also abruptly ended a long-running and unusually bitter split between the company and Public Utilities Commission about the "return on equity" rate.


Minnesota House drops 'franchise fees' on internet providers that would have hiked bills

Supporters said the policy would improve broadband access and help fund government access programming, but telecom groups lobbied against the plan.


Cause of Xcel's Prairie Island nuclear outage: Workers drilled through cables

Xcel Energy initially pinpointed the cause of a lengthy outage at its Prairie Island nuclear power plant as an equipment issue.


Xcel, UND say Midwest hydrogen 'hub' at risk from tax credit rules

A $1 billion federal grant could be in limbo in part because of limits on when companies can receive a hydrogen production tax credit for using nuclear and wind to create hydrogen.


Legislators scramble to create tax, environmental plan for Minnesota's first helium operation

State and local officials fear Canadian-based Pulsar could move ahead with its northeastern Minnesota project and use gas from under state land without paying royalties.


Minnesota EV sales rose last year, widespread adoption still far off

While electric vehicles will be a talking point at the Twin Cities Auto Show, the segment has a long way to go.


Some Minnesota cities want to impose fees on internet providers; customers could pay the price

Those fees would go toward improving rural broadband connectivity, increasing access to government media and offering consumer protections.


Minnesota utilities hope surge of big-scale batteries helps transition to clean energy

A state study released this month says the batteries are a necessary piece of plans to be carbon-free by 2040.