REPORT: 61,047 Minnesota Jobs in Clean Energy

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Sector grew 2.5 times faster than the state’s overall job growth

  • Clean energy sector grew by 4.7% in the last year
  • Minnesota led the region in renewable energy job growth thanks to large gains in wind and solar jobs
  • Nearly 40% of clean energy jobs are located in Greater Minnesota
  • More Minnesotans are employed in clean energy than the education, banking and med-tech industries

ST. PAUL, Minn. – (April 9, 2019) – More than 61,000 Minnesotans now work in clean energy industries after adding 2,737 jobs in 2018, according to a new analysis of energy jobs data from Clean Energy Trust (CET) and the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs).

Clean Energy Economy MN (CEEM) released the fourth annual report which shows the industry making explosive gains in the state. The job growth has also caught the eye of the Governor Walz administration, who has heralded a new 100% clean energy by 2050 policy proposal this legislative session. Walz kicked off the report’s announcement on Tuesday surrounded by a diverse array of clean energy workers and business leaders.

“This report shows that Minnesota can and will pioneer the Green Energy Economy,” said Governor Walz. “I am excited by the rapid growth we’re seeing in clean energy jobs and the potential that holds for our state’s future, especially in Greater Minnesota. It is our economic and moral responsibility to take action on climate change, and this report is proof we can do so in a way that also creates high-quality jobs.”

Minnesota’s clean energy workforce employs more workers than all of the state’s teachers and education-related services, banking and credit unions as well as the state’s med-tech industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Employment Statistics.

“Clean energy jobs continue to show strong year-over-year growth, providing further evidence that clean energy is a great place to start and grow your career,” said CEEM Executive Director Gregg Mast. “This year’s report reaffirms that Minnesota is fast becoming a hotbed for clean energy innovation and job creation– that’s good for business and our state’s economy.”

Led by 17 percent growth in advanced transportation, Minnesota’s clean energy jobs now make up 2 percent of all jobs in Minnesota. The data also shows that employers project the good times will continue, expecting a 7.3 percent increase in jobs for 2019. Across all industries, clean jobs grew 4.7 percent in 2018.

“A clean energy economy is a competitive economy. By committing to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, we will position Minnesota as a national leader and create substantial economic opportunities for the state, all while advancing a healthy environment,” said Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley, whose agency administers Minnesota’s energy policies and programs. “This report proves that 100 percent clean energy will be good for Minnesota’s economy and job creation.”

“This report is exciting for Minnesota’s workforce. It’s no secret that we need good-paying jobs in Greater Minnesota. Clean energy is delivering exactly that with nearly 40 percent of jobs located outside of the Twin Cities metro having a connection to the industry,” said Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove.

Energy efficiency once again led all clean energy sectors in Minnesota, employing 46,191 workers – accounting for three in four of all clean energy jobs. The Weidt Group, a Willdan company, headquartered in Minnetonka, is an energy design business that’s been helping make buildings more efficient for the last 40 years.
“Our work is about using innovative modeling and analysis to solve energy and sustainability challenges and optimize performance,” said CEO of The Weidt Group Jim Douglas. “The Weidt Group is proud to help contribute to the job creation found in Minnesota’s energy efficiency sector. Our headquarters are located in Minnetonka, and more than half of our 80 employees work from that location.”

The report found that renewable energy jobs grew by close to 12 percent last year -- the fastest growth in the 12-state Midwest region. All Energy Solar, a residential and commercial solar installer headquartered in St. Paul, has witnessed that rapid job growth first hand.

“This report proves what All Energy Solar has experienced the past few years, that the solar industry is a big job creator. In fact, All Energy is moving offices at the end of April to accommodate our employee growth — we’ve added 24 employees just in the last week and plan to expand by another 25 by the end of the year. Policies implemented at the Minnesota Capitol have directly affected our growth and ability to bring solar energy to more homes and businesses in our state,” said CEO of All Energy Solar Michael Allen. 

Workforce issues were put under the spotlight in the report once again this year, with 83 percent of Minnesota businesses saying it was either somewhat or very difficult to find clean energy workers. That’s an issue Vice President Nina Axelson of Ever-Green Energy in St. Paul takes seriously.

“As demand for clean energy continues to grow, we are hiring talented employees to help District Energy provide reliable energy to downtown St. Paul and lead our sustainable energy services to other Minnesota campuses and communities. Having the best and the brightest is critical to our success, which is why we invest in partnerships with our local unions, higher education and technical training institutions, and community-based organizations to provide internships,” said Nina Axelson, Vice President of Public Affairs at Ever-Green Energy.

Detailed and interactive breakdowns of Minnesota’s clean energy economy are available at Cleanenergyeconomymn.org  – including job totals for every Minnesota county, congressional district, and state legislative district.

Other key findings:

  • Minnesota’s 46,191 energy efficiency workers are nearly enough to fill the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.
  • Construction (59.2 percent) and professional services (11.3 percent) make up the majority of clean energy jobs.
  • Advanced transportation technologies grew 16.8 percent in 2019, adding 482 jobs.
  • Small businesses are driving Minnesota’s clean energy sectors, with 72.3 percent of clean energy businesses employing fewer than 20 individuals.
  • 11.7 percent of Minnesotans employed in clean energy are veterans, compared to the national average of six percent.

For interviews or video access with any of the speakers at the press conference, please contact:

 

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About Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM): CEEM is an industry-led, non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening Minnesota’s clean energy business ecosystem. 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 https://www.cleanenergyeconomymn.org/ or follow us on Twitter at @cleanenergymn.

About Clean Energy Trust (CET):

Clean Energy Trust is a nonprofit that supports early-stage cleantech entrepreneurs with direct investment, venture growth services, and ecosystem development. Learn more at www.cleanenergytrust.org or follow them on Twitter at @cleanenergytrst.

 

About Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2):

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org or follow them on Twitter at @e2org.


The 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report was produced by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) in partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), using data collected and analyzed by the BW Research Partnership. The report is available at www.usenergyjobs.org.