|  Oct 02, 2014

Southwest Minnesota has the largest employment concentration in wind power

ST. PAUL, MINN. (October 2, 2014) – Today, Governor Dayton presented the findings of the State’s Clean Energy Economy Profile, a report led by the Minnesota State Departments of Commerce and Employment and Economic Development, with input from a committee of industry leaders, including Wind on the Wires.  The report illustrates the great successes Minnesota has enjoyed and the competitive advantage the state has for sustaining local jobs and attracting additional investments to grow our clean energy economy.

“Minnesota’s early action to embrace wind energy has created thousands of great professional jobs in our economy,” said Wind on the Wires Executive Director Beth Soholt. According to the Minnesota Clean Energy Economy Profile report, Minnesota has seen a 288% increase in wind power jobs since 2000, compared to an 11% state employment growth during the same time period.  Wages in the wind power sector are more than $10,000 higher than the average annual wage in Minnesota.  “We applaud Minnesota’s leadership in the clean energy sector. We are enormously proud of the nearly 2,000 wind power jobs and particularly the 553% increase in wind power businesses in Minnesota since 2000,” said Soholt.

The Clean Energy Economy Profile report shows that 41% of Minnesota’s wind power jobs in 2014 are in the southwest region of Minnesota; and 52% of regional clean energy businesses are in wind power. “This report illustrates what we have known for a long time; that wind development has been bringing high-paying jobs with benefits to rural communities throughout Minnesota,” said Shanelle Evens Montana, Associate, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at EDF Renewable Energy.  “In southwestern Minnesota particularly, hundreds of people are employed to operate and maintain the many projects in the area.  Construction of wind projects brings a boom for area towns and businesses, but the best story is the long lasting economic development that spans the life of the project.”

“Wind on the Wires has worked side-by-side with many groups, organizations, and our members to establish the key policies that have helped drive this incredible growth and economic development for our state,” said Soholt.  “We urge Governor Dayton and the legislature to ensure that Minnesota achieves at least half of its electricity from clean energy by 2030 because it’s the right thing to do to create jobs, boost economic development, and reduce carbon emissions that endanger our health and pollute Minnesota’s vast water resources.”

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About Wind on the Wires

Wind on the Wires is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., which is comprised of wind developers, environmental organizations, tribal representatives, public interest groups, clean energy advocates, farm groups and businesses providing goods and services to the wind industry. Our mission is to overcome the barriers to bringing wind energy to market by addressing technical and regulatory issues, as well as through education and public outreach.

The Minnesota Clean Energy Economy Profile Report can be seen here

Print/Download a copy of this press release here.