REGIONAL— The clean energy industry has become a significant bright spot in Minnesota’s overall economy in recent years, creating nearly 3,000 new jobs in just the past 12 months. That’s …
REGIONAL— The clean energy industry has become a significant bright spot in Minnesota’s overall economy in recent years, creating nearly 3,000 new jobs in just the past 12 months. That’s according to a new report from Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs, which is being highlighted by state officials, including Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.
With the latest growth in employment, the clean energy industry— which includes businesses and workers advancing renewable sources of energy production and energy efficiency improvements—now employs just over 57,000 Minnesotans according to the study. Of those jobs, just over 17,000 are located outside the Twin Cities metro area, making the sector a major employer in outstate Minnesota. In Mankato, Duluth and St. Cloud, clean energy job growth was greater than 10 percent over the past year – double that of the statewide average.
Clean energy represents one of the fastest-growing sectors of the state economy, having grown by 5.3 percent in just the last 12 months, a rate of growth that’s about 3.8 times faster than overall state economy. Despite the rapid growth that has already occurred, clean energy technology continues to present a significant opportunity for business and job growth, according to the report.
“This report tells the story of how Minnesota’s rapid transition to cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy is driving job creation all across our state,” said Gregg Mast, executive director of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota. “Companies and communities, whether small or large, are prospering from clean energy and this is just the beginning.”
Energy efficiency comprises the largest component of Minnesota’s clean energy jobs. Jobs in renewable energy generation grew the fastest among the different subsectors at a rate of 15.7 percent. Minnesota’s solar and wind energy sectors now employ over 5,700 people.
“This report is further proof that renewable energy is good for our health, our environment, and our economy. Minnesota’s clean energy industry continues to outpace growth in the rest of our economy – creating thousands of good new jobs all across the state,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “I urge the Minnesota Legislature to enact the bipartisan ‘50 by 30’ renewable energy standard that was proposed last session to spur additional job growth in the future.”
“Clean energy provided an opportunity for us to diversify our 50-year-old business, which began as a manufacturer of extruded aluminum components for boating and other industries, and over the past five years we have seen dramatic growth in revenue year on year,” said Mark Turley, Renewable Energy Market Leader at Alexandria Industries. “We now have over 35 full-time positions as a direct result of manufacturing precision aluminum products for the solar industry. Our intent over the next five years is to continue to grow our market share and support renewable energy companies throughout the country.”
Within the state’s clean energy industry, a variety of employment opportunities exist. Approximately 34,000 construction jobs are supported by Minnesota’s clean energy economy. Another 6,200 manufacturing jobs and 6,800 professional services jobs in Minnesota also are supported by clean energy.
The full analysis is available at www.CleanJobsMidwest.com.