Hastings Council Member Tina Folch accepted the 2018 Clean Energy Community Achievement Award from the Minnesota Department of Commerce as the sustainability coordinator with the City of Red Wing. The award was presented March 28 in St. Cloud at the Community Driven Clean Energy Conference, which recognizes communities contributing to Minnesota's clean energy goals by planning and implementing programs, policies and technologies that encourage energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy generation.

Red Wing earned its achievement award for the Green Wing Energy Action Plan. The city teamed with Xcel Energy and local volunteers to make Red Wing Minnesota's third "Partners in Energy" community with a goal of helping residents and business owners save energy while promoting renewable energy. The project concluded in 2017 with an estimated savings of 1.7 million kWh of electricity in the Red Wing area.

"I am passionate about supporting the clean energy industry locally as it generates jobs and lowers carbon emissions," Folch said. "However, the biggest impact we can make is upgrading energy efficiency to lower our energy use."

The City of Hastings has been selected to participate in Xcel Energy's Partners in Energy program. The two-year program is designed to help a community develop and implement a strategic energy action plan that will help shape future energy use and supply. Residents, business owners, city staff and community partners are encouraged to participate. For more information, contact Sarah Hodder at shodder@hastingsmn.gov or 651-480-6159.