2/19/2015 10:14:43 AM
Posted on February 19, 2015 at 9:31 AM
The clean energy sector - businesses specializing in wind, solar, bio, energy efficiency and the smart grid - is one of Minnesota's fastest-growing and most promising industries.
Clean energy jobs in Minnesota are up 78 percent since 2000, compared with 11 percent job growth overall in the state during that period. More than 15,000 people are now employed in the state's clean energy economy. While the average salary for a job in Minnesota is about $50,000 a year, jobs in the state's clean energy sector pay an annual average of $71,000. The number of clean energy companies in the state has climbed 122 percent since 2000.
Clearly, the industry is positioned for a bright future. To help the state remain competitive in the $1.13 trillion global clean energy market, the National Governors Association selected Minnesota as one of four states to develop a strategy to align clean energy and economic development.
The initiative included a clean energy summit last July at the University of Minnesota. Clean energy experts from across the state and country gathered at the university to discuss how businesses, government and research institutions can work together to build a strong and successful clean energy sector in Minnesota. Representatives from the industry provided input about what is needed to grow jobs and businesses in the sector.
Another outcome was an economic profile that looked at clean energy employment, wages, investments and revenues in Minnesota. The profile represents a starting point for measuring progress in the sector and for informing Minnesotans about the economic impact, size and composition of the state's clean energy industry.
Minnesota doesn't have deposits of coal, natural gas and petroleum, but the state is overcoming its lack of fossil fuels by tapping an abundant supply of natural renewable resources like wind, solar and biomass. The clean energy economy is helping to transform the state, creating high-paying jobs, decreasing dependence on imported fuels, and improving air and water quality.