Minnesota’s top 10 gains on clean energy in 2017
1. CLEAN ENERGY JOBS OUTPACING OVERALL JOB GROWTH
Jobs in the solar, wind, energy efficiency and other clean energy industries in Minnesota grew 3.8 times faster than overall job growth last year, and jobs in the renewable energy industry grew 16 percent – or 11 times the rate of overall jobs. Small businesses drive the clean energy sector in Minnesota, with nearly 80% of businesses working in clean energy employing fewer than 25 individuals. All told, Minnesota had 57,351 people working in the clean energy sector last year, mostly in the construction industry.
Source: 2017 Clean Jobs Midwest Report
2. TARGET REACHES 350+ SOLAR INSTALLATIONS
As of April 2017, Target had completed solar installations at more than 350 stores and distribution centers in Minnesota and around the nation, and has committed to installing 500 systems by 2020. In October 2017, Target also committed to sourcing 100% renewable energy for its domestic operations. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Target is the fourth largest employer in the state.
3. MINNESOTA RANKED 6TH IN NATION FOR WIND ENERGY PRODUCTION
In its annual U.S. Wind Industry Market Report released in April 2017, the American Wind Energy Association ranked Minnesota 6th in the nation for wind energy production in 2016, up from 7th place in 2015. Last year, wind power generated over 17 percent of Minnesota’s electricity. AWEA also reported the state has been successful in attracting investment for wind energy manufacturing and large wind energy projects, with at least 20 active manufacturing facilities in the state. Major wind energy construction companies Blattner Energy and Mortenson Construction are both based in Minnesota.
4. XCEL ENERGY RANKED #1 UTILITY FOR WIND
The AWEA report also ranked Minnesota-based Xcel Energy the #1 utility in the nation for wind energy for the 12th year in a row. Wind energy supplies nearly 20% of Xcel’s power companywide, and the utility has plans to install 3,700 megawatts of new wind power by 2021, including a major wind farm in Minnesota.
5. BEST BUY TO REDUCE CARBON FOOTPRINT 60% BY 2020
In October, Richfield-based Best Buy set a new goal to reduce its carbon emissions 60% by 2020, up from its previous goal of 45%–a target the company already hit last year. The company plans to meet this goal by deploying energy-efficiency upgrades across its stores and distribution centers, and investing in off site renewable energy sources.
6. MINNESOTA #1 FOR COMMUNITY SOLAR IN THE US
Minnesota’s Community Solar Garden program, administered by Xcel Energy, is the largest in the nation. As of October 2017, the program had 40 active solar gardens delivering more than 100 megawatts of energy.
7. GOV. DAYTON RAMPS UP ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN STATE AGENCIES
On November 21, 2017, Gov. Mark Dayton issued an executive order calling on all state agencies to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2027 by increasing the energy-efficiency of state-owned facilities and the use of clean energy to power state operations.
8. LARGEST DISTRIBUTED SOLAR PROJECT LAUNCHES IN MINNESOTA
In June, Enel Green Power flipped the switch on one of the largest distributed solar projects in the state, the Aurora Project. The Aurora solar array, which is comprised of 16 separate solar power plants in Dodge County, produces enough energy to power 17,000 homes.
9. INVESTMENT IN SOLAR-POWERED SCHOOLS GROWS
In November, the largest school solar energy project began operations at the Farmington public school district. Once fully completed, the project will be one of the biggest rooftop solar photovoltaic installations ever built in Minnesota by a government entity. At least a dozen schools and school districts have subscribed to community solar gardens like the one in Farmington.
10. MINNESOTA LEADS ON CLEAN ENERGY GLOBALLY
In June, Gov. Mark Dayton joined the U.S. Climate Alliance–a group of U.S. governors who have committed their states to upholding the Paris climate deal to cut emission at least 26 percent from 2005 levels and meet the federal Clean Power Plan targets. And in November, representatives from Gov. Dayton’s office, Target Corp., state Rep. Melissa Hortman and policy and science experts from around the state shared Minnesota’s progress and leadership on clean energy at the COP23 in Bonn, Germany.
– Posted By Amelia