Clean energy employs 59,079 Minnesotans. Our state’s clean energy sector has added more than 1,500 jobs since 2016 -- growing more than 2 times faster than overall job growth in the state.
In the next year, Minnesota’s clean energy employers project they will add almost 2,700 jobs -- that’s a growth rate of 4.6 percent. Along with the ingenuity of our business sector, smart and predictable state and federal policies are critical for Minnesota to maximize the economic opportunity presented by the transition to cleaner, more sustainable energy.
There is a lot changing in Minnesota’s clean energy sector. You'll find ‘need to know’ information on this page and for comprehensive analysis of Minnesota’s clean energy jobs we invite you to visit www.cleanjobsmidwest.com.
What do people working in clean energy do?
People working in clean energy have jobs in several industries. They may work in energy efficiency, manufacturing energy efficient windows and doors, or in construction working to retrofit buildings and save people money with efficient lighting or HVAC systems.
Clean energy jobs also include workers who are employed in industries that generate power from wind, solar, bioenergy, geothermal, and low-impact hydro technologies.
Minnesotans who build and develop hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles, as well as, those who develop clean fuels like biodiesel and non-corn ethanol from grasses or agricultural waste are also part of the clean energy sector. An emerging clean energy sector in Minnesota is advanced grid, which employs people working to modernize how energy is stored and distributed to consumers.
To learn more about the 59,000+ Minnesotans employed in clean energy visit our Names Behind the Numbers | Minnesota series.
How many people work in each clean energy sector?
Of the 59,079 Minnesotans working in clean energy, the energy efficiency sector employs the largest number of people—75.9 percent of the clean energy workforce or nearly 45,000 people.
Minnesota’s second largest sector of clean energy jobs is renewable energy, which employs more than 7,000 workers.
Which sectors of clean energy are growing?
Minnesota’s three largest clean energy industries – energy efficiency, renewables, and advanced grid all grew since 2016. Jobs in renewable energy have grown the fastest with the largest job growth coming from the solar industry.
- Energy efficiency jobs grew faster in Minnesota than the rest of the Midwest; the efficiency sector in the Midwest added jobs at a 1.5 percent rate while Minnesota’s efficiency sector grew at a 2.4 percent clip by adding 1,050 jobs.
- Renewable energy added 1,026 jobs for a 16.5 percent annual growth rate – the highest in the Midwest due to growth in both the wind and solar industries.
- Advanced grid jobs grew by a growth rate of 7.2 percent, third-most in the Midwest, by adding jobs working in technologies like microgrid and smart grid.
What else is there to know about clean energy jobs?
Clean energy jobs can also be categorized by the role they play in the value chain. Each value chain category captures jobs from multiple clean energy sectors. For example, construction jobs can include energy efficiency jobs and renewable energy jobs.
Minnesota has the largest percentage of clean energy jobs in construction within the Midwest region.
Where are clean energy jobs located?
Jobs in clean energy are located in communities across the state. In fact, 40.9 percent of clean energy jobs are located in Greater Minnesota. Additionally, entrepreneurs and small businesses drive the sector—74 percent of Minnesota’s clean energy businesses employ fewer than 20 individuals.
The metro areas with the largest number of clean energy jobs are Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Cloud, and Duluth. Take a look at this interactive map to see where clean energy jobs are located by county, district, and metro area.
Who works in clean energy?
In Minnesota, nearly 12 percent of clean energy jobs are filled by veterans. By comparison, 6 percent of all workers nationwide are veterans. The large ratio of veterans transitioning to clean energy jobs is the result of the U.S. Department of Defense's long-standing commitment to investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency and training programs that prepare veterans for private-sector employment in industries like solar.
What policies can support clean energy development?
At the state level, companies have cited Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES), and Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) as policies that provide market certainty for renewable energy generation and energy efficiency investments and projects.
At the federal level, the potential expiration of the 179D Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Tax Deduction, the U.S. EPA’s attempt to roll back fuel economy standards in the auto industry, and the anticipation of a tariff levied on solar panels created general market uncertainty for many clean energy businesses in the Midwest in the past year.