Guest blog post by Clean Energy Economy Minnesota
From our crazy cold winters to Tater Tot Hotdish - Minnesota is known for a variety of things. But if you were posed with the question, “What comes to your mind when you think about Minnesota?” we bet clean energy wouldn’t be at the top of your list. But according to the recently released Clean Jobs Midwest Report, here’s why it should be: three reasons why Minnesota’s booming clean energy economy should be a point of Minnesota pride.
Fast-growing jobs with above-average wages
In 2017, clean energy jobs grew twice as fast as overall job growth in Minnesota, and now employ more than 59,000 Minnesotans. Not only that, but clean energy employers are projecting to add more than 2,600 jobs in the next year – that’s a growth rate of 4.6 percent. This means that clean energy is quickly and consistently adding jobs to Minnesota’s economy - and the wages are far from minimum. The average wage for a job in the clean energy industry in Minnesota is $71,000, that’s 42 percent higher than the statewide average. Clean energy is working hard for Minnesotans, providing an increasing amount of jobs with competitive wages; who wouldn’t want to brag about that?
Major money back in your pocket
While clean energy offers a plethora of employment opportunities, it simultaneously works to put money back in Minnesotans’ pockets. Energy efficiency, our largest clean energy sector with some 44,000 jobs, is adding jobs at a faster rate than the rest of the Midwest.
Minnesota is assisted in these jobs gains by having long-standing energy policies that prioritize efficiency in our utilities long-range planning. In fact, one of Minnesota’s most successful energy policies, called the Conservation Improvement Program (or CIP) has helped save Minnesotans $6 billion since 1998. For every public dollar spent on the program, it returns $4 dollars in economic benefits.
We think all Minnesotans should be proud of our state’s commitment to saving energy!
Minnesota is a clean energy leader
Minnesota is a leading example of how beneficial clean energy can be. All three of Minnesota’s largest clean energy sectors experienced growth between 2016 and 2017, despite the overall Midwest experiencing a decline in clean energy jobs. In fact, jobs in our two largest sectors, energy efficiency and renewables, grew faster in Minnesota than the rest of the Midwest.
Minnesota even moved up in the rankings of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) state energy efficiency scorecard this year – leading the entire Midwest, and coming in number 8 out of all 50 states.
Minnesota is a shining example to other states of how they too can have a cleaner, stronger, more reliable energy economy. As other states move toward clean energy, Minnesotans will be able to proudly say, “We helped lead the way.”
To put it simply, clean energy is benefiting Minnesota in a variety of ways. While it may not be as obvious as winters that last 9 months, our clean energy economy is working hard for Minnesotans and deserves to be on the list of Minnesota points of pride.