New National Study Finds 54,000 Clean Energy Workers in Minnesota

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New business-led group credits Minnesota’s strong clean energy policies for growth of burgeoning sector

Lt. Gov. Smith, Commissioners Rothman & Sieben see bright future

MINNEAPOLIS (March 22, 2016) – More than 54,000 Minnesotans work in the state’s clean energy industry, according to a comprehensive analysis unveiled today by a clean energy impact investor, Clean Energy Trust. The report also projects that Minnesota’s clean energy workforce will grow by 4.4 percent next year, representing more than 2,300 new jobs.

The analysis – available at www.CleanJobsMidwest.com – is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data and a comprehensive survey of thousands of businesses across Minnesota and the Midwest region. The Clean Jobs Midwest report provides detailed breakdowns of clean energy jobs not available previously – including job totals by sector for Minnesota major regional centers. Other collaborators in the research included BW Research, and Environmental Entrepreneurs.

“This report affirms that Minnesota’s commitment to clean energy benefits not only our health and environment, but also our economy,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Despite this progress, we can’t let up now. We must continue to pursue bold action to alleviate climate change and ensure that Minnesota is positioned to lead the clean energy revolution, reaping the benefits of good new jobs along the way.”

Also launching today is Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM), an industry-led, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening Minnesota’s clean energy sector through public education. Its board of directors includes representatives from Cargill, Ever-Green Energy, Mortenson Construction, TruNorth Solar, Werner Electric and Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, University of St. Thomas.

“It is essential to capture the enthusiasm and expertise of Minnesota’s clean energy businesses in an organization dedicated to furthering this explosive growth sector of our economy,” says Gregg Mast, executive director of CEEM. “Minnesota’s strong tradition of leadership through clean energy policy has paid big dividends. Clean energy is helping diversify and strengthen our state’s economy and CEEM is committed to working across sectors to promote the benefits of clean energy to our businesses, communities, students, and policy leaders.” Specifically, Mast noted Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard, Energy Efficiency Resource Standard and Solar Energy Standard as key policy provisions helping to drive investment and growth in the clean energy economy.

Steve Polski, a CEEM board member and senior director at Cargill, added, “Rapid advances in technology are helping reduce costs and mitigate exposure to risks. Businesses involved in moving the clean energy economy forward must work together to drive further commercial applications of these solutions. Collaborating as an industry will help create more jobs, increase the knowledge of the public, and bolster the economic case for clean energy.”

According to the Clean Energy Trust research findings, energy efficiency is by far the largest clean energy sector employer in the state, with more than 47,000 people, or around 87 percent of Minnesota’s clean energy workforce.  These workers are employed in areas such as high-efficiency lighting, Energy Star appliance manufacturing and high-efficiency HVAC services to reduce wasted energy in homes, schools and businesses.

Renewable energy generation jobs account for more than 5,300 jobs – about 2,700 in solar and 2,100 in wind.

The report also found:

  • The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro has the largest regional clean energy employment in the state with 38,047 clean energy jobs.
  • Other major regional centers with a strong clean energy economy are Duluth with 1,527 clean energy jobs and St. Cloud with 1,180 clean energy jobs.
  • Small businesses drive clean energy in Minnesota with nearly 80 percent of clean energy businesses employing fewer than 25 employees.
  • Clean energy employs nearly 569,000 people across the 12-state Midwest region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin).

MN Commissioners Rothman & Sieben & Werner Electric Predict Strong Clean Energy Growth

  • “Minnesota’s clean energy job market is already big, and it’s only going to get bigger as we continue to move forward to a clean energy future,” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.  “Innovative, forward-looking companies and state energy policies are playing a vital role in this job growth. Many companies, both large and small, now know that good business means energy efficiency and clean energy resources.”
  • “Minnesota’s clean energy economy is developing rapidly with an increase in available jobs and above-average wages,” said Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “The analysis released by Clean Energy Trust further emphasizes that Minnesota is a national leader in clean energy sectors due to a culture of innovation, smart policies and strong partnerships.”
  • “Minnesota is experiencing exponential growth and opportunity for companies to expand their energy portfolio, said Randy Moberg, energy services & solutions manager for Werner Electric, which has offices in Cottage Grove, St. Cloud, Mankato, Owatonna, Rochester, and La Crescent. “Solid, proven clean energy technologies in solar, biofuels, efficiency, and other disciplines offer businesses the ability to tailor these energy solutions to meet their sustainability goals, reduce their overall costs, and still be friendly to the grid. Clean Energy has allowed our company to add numerous jobs in Minnesota and we anticipate tremendous growth in this market. The available technological solutions in clean energy will continue to create new opportunities and bring more energy independence to our state and the nation.” Moberg is also a board member for CEEM.

Editor’s Note: For interviews or more information, contact Gregg Mast, executive director of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota, at gmast@cleanenergyeconomymn.org.

ABOUT:

CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY MINNESOTA
Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM) is an industry-led, nonprofit with the mission to provide educational leadership, collaboration, and policy analysis that accelerates clean energy market growth and smart energy policies. CEEM works across the private and public sectors providing a leading voice regarding clean energy technology matters, convening leaders to advance marketplace innovations, conducting authoritative industry research and analysis, and communicating information to the public and key stakeholders on behalf of the clean energy industry. For more information, see www.cleanenergyeconomymn.org.

CLEAN ENERGY TRUST
Clean Energy Trust (CET) fuels clean energy innovation in the Midwest. A Chicago-based non-profit, CET helps launch, fund and grow Midwest clean energy companies to ensure a more prosperous, sustainable future for generations to come. It does this through direct investment, commercialization assistance, mentorship, access to its broad partner network and the promotion of a supportive clean energy community and business climate. Learn more at http://www.cleanenergytrust.org.

ENVIRONMENTAL ENTREPRENEURS
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors and others who promote smart environmental policies that drive economic growth. Our members, active in nearly every state in the country, have built or financed more than 1,700 companies, created more than 570,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org.

CONTACTS:
Gregg Mast - gmast@cleanenergyeconomymn.org - (612) 743-9157
Cathy Kennedy – cathryn@cathrynkennedy.com – (612) 309-3951
Pam McCarthy-Kern - pam@cathrynkennedy.com - (612) 360-0647