Clean energy industry shows up in big numbers at State Capitol
ST. PAUL, MINN. – As the clean energy transition accelerates across the country, Governor Tim Walz highlighted the significance of Minnesota’s clean energy business community and its many contributions to the state. Today he delivered a proclamation that declares March 4, 2020 as Clean Energy Business Day in the state of Minnesota.
The proclamation coincides with the fourth annual Clean Energy Business Day at the Capitol – an education and advocacy day for individuals and organizations working in the state’s energy efficiency and clean energy industry. Governor Walz has been a vocal clean energy champion, touting the, “One Minnesota Path to Clean Energy” – a bill that calls for 100% clean energy by the year 2050.
“Minnesota’s nation-leading clean energy policies have set the table for innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses to make clean energy thrive; helping decarbonize our state as they create jobs and grow our economy,” reads Governor Walz’s proclamation. “Minnesota is home to 61,047 clean energy jobs. Clean energy encompasses thriving business sectors that are critical to the health and economic growth of our state and its citizens.”
“Minnesota is a land of crystal-clear lakes and rivers, fertile farmland, and clean air – but all of these things are threatened by climate change,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “By investing in and prioritizing clean energy, we are not only preserving the things we love about Minnesota, we are building a brighter economic and environmental future for generations to come.”
“Minnesota is known as a national leader in setting and achieving clean energy goals,” said Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley, whose agency administers the state’s energy policies and programs. “These policies not only ensure reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity for Minnesota. They also give us a cleaner, healthier environment and a strong clean energy economy throughout the state.”
“Over the last decade, Minnesota workers and businesses have made incredible gains both in developing and deploying clean energy solutions as well as advancing the conversation about why growing this industry is good for our state,” said Gregg Mast, Clean Energy Economy MN Executive Director. “In the last six years, renewables output has risen 37 percent – and now clean energy accounts for a full quarter of our state’s electricity generation. But we also know that’s not enough. We’re here at the Capitol to say ambitious policies will deliver even more jobs, investment, and economic opportunities for Minnesotans throughout the state.”
"We're excited to see the huge progress Minnesota has made in advancing clean energy, particularly in solar energy,” said David Shaffer, Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) Executive Director. “In 2019, solar installer was the fastest growing job in our state. We know that by working together with legislators, we can deploy more solar, add more jobs and create a stronger clean energy economy in Minnesota.
“Wind and solar development has been a booming business for Minnesota over the past decade, putting thousands of Minnesotans to work in great-paying jobs," said Beth Soholt, Clean Grid Alliance Executive Director. "The cost of wind has declined 69% during this time, and solar prices have declined 88%. These cost declines have turned utilities and corporate and industrial companies into major players in driving the transition to a clean energy economy, but Minnesota's clean energy vision also requires focus on the grid. New high voltage transmission lines, upgrades to the distribution system, and storage will all play an important role in our ability to deliver our clean, low-cost, and reliable renewable energy."
“We are thrilled to rejoin our partners for Clean Energy Business Day at the Capitol. It’s important for us to recognize the role green buildings play in advancing a clean energy economy that supports the health of Minnesota’s environment, economy and communities,” said Sheri Brezinka, U.S. Green Building Council Regional Director. “Minnesota is a leader in green building and the state’s more than 470 LEED-certified buildings are examples of how the spaces we use every day can be tools for promoting more efficient and sustainable energy. We applaud the leadership shown here today by everyone who is helping to create a more sustainable future for us all.”
"Three out of four jobs in the clean energy sector are energy efficiency jobs," explained Chris Duffrin, president of the Center for Energy and Environment. "Updating and constructing new buildings with energy efficient materials and equipment saves customers money and creates jobs in HVAC, construction, engineering, insulation, and more — all inherently local jobs that can’t be exported. It’s crucial that local workers statewide benefit from Minnesota's clean energy transition, and we're supportive of several pending bills that underscore the importance of career opportunities for local workers and local businesses."
To learn more about the different types of clean energy jobs in Minnesota, watch and read the Names Behind the Numbers | Minnesota profile series.
About Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM): CEEM is an industry-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit representing the business case for clean energy in Minnesota. CEEM provides a unified voice for clean energy business across the state. Our mission is to provide educational leadership, collaboration, and policy analysis that accelerates clean energy market growth and smart energy policies. Learn more at cleanenergyeconomymn.org.
About Clean Grid Alliance (CGA): Clean Grid Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., that works to advance renewable energy in the Midwest. Its members are comprised of wind and solar developers, environmental organizations, tribal representatives, public interest groups, clean energy advocates, farm groups and businesses providing goods and services to the wind and solar industries. Learn more at cleangridalliance.org.
About U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC): USGBC is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, an international network of local community leaders, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. Learn more at usgbc.org.
About Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA): MnSEIA is a 501(c)(6) trade association that serves to move Minnesota solar forward as the voice of the Minnesota solar industry. Representing over one hundred-member companies, MnSEIA pursues its mission to grow solar energy industries as part of Minnesota’s clean energy transition by delivering strong public policy, education, job creation and sustainable industry development. This is done through active engagements at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the Minnesota Legislature, and in various agency matters. Find out more at www.mnseia.org.
About Center for Energy and the Environment (CEE): Center for Energy and Environment is a clean energy nonprofit with special expertise in energy efficiency that stretches back nearly 40 years. CEE provides a range of practical and cost-effective energy solutions for homes, businesses, and communities to strengthen the economy while improving the environment. Learn more at mncee.org