|  Feb 06, 2017

A Smart Choice: Wind Energy Grows Good Jobs in Minnesota

Kelley WelfKelley Welf, Communications Director
A Smart Choice:  Wind Energy Grows Good Jobs in Minnesota
Kelley WelfKelley Welf, Communications Director

According to the Department of Energy, the wind industry now employs over 100,000 Americans with good, family-supporting jobs.  That’s more jobs than in coal, gas, nuclear or hydroelectric plants.  And, these jobs span all 50 states.  While wind turbine technician is the country’s fastest growing job according to the US Department of Labor, not all the jobs require scaling those tall towers. Jobs in engineering, law, finance, sales, construction, as well as manufacturing all support the wind industry.  Plus, there are 500 manufacturing facilities that build towers, blades, and other parts and supplies. 

Nacelle_operationsThere is more to a turbine than the three blades and a tower that you see on the outside.  There are over 8,000 component parts in modern wind turbines.  And today, 60 percent of the value of a wind farm is made right here in America. Those parts include massive bolts, cables and wires, and nacelles that house the gear box, generator and other systems. 

The U.S. Department of Energy Wind Vision report states that an additional 380,000 jobs  would be created to achieve the 20 percent wind energy goal.  Bump that growth to 35 percent of our electricity being supplied by wind and the jobs number grows to 600,000 jobs.

Here in Minnesota, according to a new report issued by the Environmental Law and Policy Center, there are 49 companies that supply the wind industry, and another 16 companies that supply both wind and solar.  The Department of Employment and Economic Development estimates Minnesota employs nearly 2,000 people in the wind industry.

Wind energy is a smart choice for good, family-supporting jobs in Minnesota.

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Photo credit:  Dennis Schwartz
by Kelley WelfKelley Welf
Communications Director

Kelley Welf is the communications director for Clean Grid Alliance. She writes about transmission, MISO, and the benefits of renewable energy across the Midwest. Follow CGA on Twitter @CGA_Midwest, Facebook @cleangridalliance and LinkedIn @clean-grid-alliance.