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133rd Airlift Wing named Clean Energy Community Award Finalist

(from left to right) Col James Wentzlaff, Mission Support Group Commander, Lt. Col. Mike Piontek, 133rd Civil Engineer Commander, Bill Grant, Deputy Commissioner of Energy and Telecommunications for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Brig. Gen. Sandy Best, Chief of Staff with the Minnesota Air National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters and Capt Fernando Nacionales, Deputy Base Civil Engineer and Energy Manager of the 133rd Civil Engineering Squadron pose for a picture after the official announcement of the finalist for the Clean Energy Community Award.  The announcement was made at the Sustainability Stage at the Minnesota State Fair in Minneapolis on Sunday, Aug 28, 2016.

(from left to right) Col James Wentzlaff, Mission Support Group Commander, Lt. Col. Mike Piontek, 133rd Civil Engineer Commander, Bill Grant, Deputy Commissioner of Energy and Telecommunications for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Brig. Gen. Sandy Best, Chief of Staff with the Minnesota Air National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters and Capt Fernando Nacionales, Deputy Base Civil Engineer and Energy Manager of the 133rd Civil Engineering Squadron pose for a picture after the official announcement of the finalist for the Clean Energy Community Award. The announcement was made at the Sustainability Stage at the Minnesota State Fair in Minneapolis on Sunday, Aug 28, 2016.

A small crowd gathers at the Minnesota State Fair to hear the finalist read for the Clean Energy Community Award on Sunday, August 28th, 2016.

A small crowd gathers at the Minnesota State Fair to hear the finalist read for the Clean Energy Community Award on Sunday, August 28th, 2016.

St. Paul, Minn. -- The 2016 Minnesota State Fair or the 'Great Minnesota Get-Together' was an excellent venue to recognize the work by Minnesota cities, communities and organizations to further clean energy goals.  The 133rd Airlift Wing was part of this special recognition as the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced of the eight finalist for this year's Clean Energy Community Award.

The Clean Energy Community Awards acknowledge the work done by Minnesota communities to further the state's clean energy goals by implementing programs, policies, and technologies that encourage energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy generation.

The 133rd Airlift was named one of eight finalists for the Minnesota Commerce Clean Energy Community Award.  Other finalists include the City of St. Cloud, the cities of Pelican Rapids and Fergus Falls, the city of Minneapolis, the city of Morris, the cities of Hutchinson, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the Chisago County's Clean Energy Hub. 

"This award is a apex of energy conservation efforts of everyone in the wing," said Capt. Fernando Nacionales, Deputy Base Civil Engineer and Energy Manager of the 133rd Civil Engineering Squadron. "We have come along way in improving our energy efficiency, but we still have a ways to go with achieving energy resiliency."

The 133rd Airlift Wing has been a leader in practicing energy efficiency.  Maximizing on education and leveraging large operations to realize greater efficiency are just a few things that have helped the unit lead the way in their energy efforts.    

"The communities and organizations have played a big role in achieving these goals," said Bill Grant, Deputy Commissioner of Energy and Telecommunications for the Minnesota Department of Commerce. "By implementing programs and policies that not only benefit their communities ... they are benefiting the state as a whole."

Minnesota has a number of clean energy goals including: Minnesota Next Generation Energy Act, Renewable Electricity Standard, Solar Electricity Standard, Petroleum Replacement Goal and Biofuel and Biodiesel Content Mandates.

"Minnesota is increasingly being recognized as an emerging leader on clean energy," said Jothsna Harris, Public Engagement Manager at Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy and a member on the selection committee for the Clean Energy Community Awards Program.  "Truly paving the way on this issue will take lasting dedication from decision makers, as well as from people on the ground who are seeing and feeling the impacts of climate change, and who care about protecting the space and the people that make Minnesota their home."

The final decision for the award winner will be announced in October.  The timing of the announcement is fitting for this award, as in 2015 President Barrack Obama named October 'National Energy Action Month.'