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2016 Clean Energy Community Award Winners

Eight communities in Minnesota have earned 2016 Clean Energy Community Awards.

The award winners will be honored on Thursday, November 10, at the Clean Energy Community Awards Conference at the Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul.

The Minnesota Commerce Department is the sponsor and coordinator of the awards program, with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy and The McKnight Foundation. 

Achievement Awards

City of Hutchinson

Clean Energy Generation: Capped Landfill Solar Development

In November 2015, the City of Hutchinson completed construction of a 400 kW solar array constructed on a capped landfill. The array is the first of its kind in Minnesota and will be a model for ushering in the solar revolution in Minnesota while minimizing environmental impacts of solar arrays.

City of Minneapolis

Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership

The Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) is a new approach that partners the City of Minneapolis in a unique way with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy—its electric and gas utilities—to help the City reach its Climate Action Plan and Energy Vision for 2040 goals of 30% greenhouse gas reduction by 2025 and 80% reduction by 2050. The CEP is a collaborative leadership framework through which the City and utilities study, prioritize, plan, coordinate, implement, market, track, and report progress on clean energy activities in the City.

Minnesota Air National Guard, 133rd Air Wing

Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings and Infrastructure

The Minneapolis-based Minnesota Air National Guard is a long-standing leader within the Air National Guard and the local community when it comes to optimizing facility energy efficiency. While executing federal and state missions, the base decreased its total annual energy intensity (KBTU per square feet) by 40% from 2003 to 2015 and it decreased its total annual water intensity (GAL per square feet) by nearly 50% from 2007 to 2015. The Air National Guard has accomplished these impressive reductions through a comprehensive strategy that includes local policy, community partnership, user education, and replicable technical initiatives including retro-commissioning, high efficiency system upgrades, submetering, and HVAC controls.

City of Morris

The Morris Model: Catalyzing Community Resilience, Energy Conservation and Clean Energy Planning and Action

Over the past 12 months, the City of Morris has launched several complementary initiatives with diverse partners to incorporate clean energy and conservation goals into its overall community planning efforts. These efforts were developed in close partnership with the University of Minnesota, Morris. The City has also worked with local partners (Stevens County, Horizons Public Health, SW-RSDP) and statewide collaborators (Eutectics, LLC, Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams, Institute on the Environment, Jefferson Center, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy).

City of St. Cloud

City of St. Cloud’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Initiative (REEI)

The City’s Wastewater Utility’s Resource Recovery and Energy Efficiency master planning efforts in 2014 were the catalyst that developed into identifying citywide renewable energy and efficiency opportunities. These efforts led to the City’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Initiative that looked at opportunities that could be implemented communitywide. This initiative includes the 2015 Solar Initiative, 2015-16 Wastewater Energy Efficiency & Biogas (E2B) Project, 2016 Street Light Improvement Project (SLIP), and the development of a communitywide Energy Action Plan through Xcel Energy’s Partners in Energy Program.

Planning Awards

Chisago County

Chisago County Clean Energy Hub

The Chisago County Clean Energy Hub is a citizen-driven, countywide initiative to advance clean energy economic development across Chisago County, with a focus on energy efficiency and solar energy projects. The Clean Energy Hub, a partnership of several local groups, has the goal of facilitating at least $40 million in direct project investment, above and beyond the 134 MW of utility-scale and community solar garden projects currently in development in the County. Hub activities are focused on underserved market segments, including: Main Street businesses and small- and medium-sized nonprofit organizations; small- and medium-sized public buildings; and multifamily properties and single-family residences across Xcel Energy, rural cooperative and municipal utility service territories.

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Minnesota Solutions to Energy Poverty

This initiative will deploy the first 100% low-income community solar installation in the State of Minnesota, and the first community solar installation in the nation on tribal lands. The installation will further provide a unique capacity-building occasion to support training and renewable employment opportunities for Leech Lake Band members. Select construction trades trainees will obtain their Registered Unlicensed Electrician license and receive hands-on training in solar installations, positioning them for a growing number of clean energy job opportunities across the state and beyond. The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is collaborating on this effort with the grantee, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL).

Cities of Pelican Rapids and Fergus Falls

Targeting Energy Efficiency in Wastewater Treatment Plants

The City of Pelican Rapids and the City of Fergus Falls both renovated their wastewater treatment plants by pairing energy-efficient upgrades with rebates available through Otter Tail Power Company’s Conservation Improvement Program.

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