Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM) released a new report from Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs that finds that Minnesota now has 57,351 total clean energy jobs. In the last 12 months, Minnesota’s clean energy industry grew by 5.3%, adding 2,893 jobs — 3.8 times faster than overall job growth in the state. Despite the rapid growth that has already occurred, clean energy technology continues to present a significant opportunity for business and job growth.
“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%. 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.”
The clean energy industry has tremendous potential for rural economic development. There are approximately 17,251 people employed in clean energy in Greater Minnesota, making up 30% of the total clean energy workforce. In Mankato, Duluth and St. Cloud, clean energy job growth was greater than 10% over the past year – double that of the statewide average.
“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.”
“Clean energy is fueling new jobs for Minnesota workers and new opportunities for Minnesota businesses,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, whose agency includes the State Energy Office. “Minnesota’s nation-leading commitment to energy efficiency and renewable resources like wind and solar helps drive results for our economy as well as our environment.”
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.
“Clean energy jobs continue to be an important part of Minnesota’s energy sector and overall economy,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “With more than 57,000 clean energy jobs now across our state, this industry is providing family-sustaining wage jobs to thousands of Minnesotans, all while working to preserve and improve the environment our state is known for.”