Commerce launches 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards

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Minnesota Commerce Department launches 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards

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Applications accepted from Minnesota communities through Feb. 5, 2018

Communities big and small are eligible. To apply, go to and complete an application by February 5, 2018. Please direct questions about the awards program to

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has announced the opening of the application process for the 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards (CECA). The awards recognize the good work of Minnesota communities in helping to achieve the state’s clean energy goals. Commerce is the sponsor and coordinator of the program, with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy. Applications and award information is available, and applications will be accepted until February 5, 2018.

The awards will recognize communities that implement planning, programs, policies, and technologies that encourage energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy generation. They will be given in two categories: Achievement and Planning.

Achievement Awards

Given to up to five Minnesota communities, the CECA Achievement Awards acknowledge the work that communities have had in place in the previous year that demonstrates progress towards reaching the state’s clean energy goals. Designed to showcase and support the efforts of Minnesota’s communities, the Achievement Awards also encourage a network of communications for sharing best practices among communities from around the state.

Planning Awards

Given to up to three Minnesota communities, the CECA Planning Awards seek to provide support and resources for communities that are at the beginning to intermediate stages of working towards the state’s clean energy goals. Designed to encourage the implementation of planned projects, the Planning Awards will provide feedback to successful applicants as well as connect communities with a variety of clean energy resources.

“Minnesota has ambitious clean energy goals and the objective of our Clean Energy Community Awards is to acknowledge the great work of communities in helping to achieve those goals,” said Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman. “Our state is a national leader in clean energy initiatives and we want to continue that momentum.”

Indeed, Minnesota generated more than 22% of its electricity from renewable energy sources in 2016, so it is well on pace to exceed its Renewable Electricity Standard of 25% of electricity from renewables by 2025. Similarly, well within reach is the Solar Energy Standard that calls for generating 1.5% of the state’s electricity from solar energy by 2020.

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Who can apply

Communities eligible for the awards can be any group formed to implement clean energy goals. Units of government (city, county, tribal nation, school district, military unit, or other jurisdiction) must be a core member, but coalitions that include nonprofits, service organizations, and businesses will strengthen the application. To qualify for the award, the community’s clean energy program must have been in operation during the last 12 months. Projects from communities of all sizes are welcome.


Applications will be reviewed by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Successful applicants will be evaluated by the following metrics:

(1) Measurable efforts towards the state’s clean energy goals:

(2) Policy development, such as adoption of Comprehensive, Sustainability, Zoning, or Climate Action Plans that support measurable clean energy achievements in public or private buildings or other infrastructure.

(3) Community partnerships with local business, industry, agriculture, nonprofits, utilities, or residents.

(4) Public engagement efforts, stakeholder education, or other community outreach endeavors.

(5) Implementation of energy efficiency or renewable energy projects or programs that benefit low-income and/or historically underserved communities.

Learn more

To learn more about the awards, including benefits to winning communities, go to and complete an application by February 5, 2018. Please direct questions about CECA to