Clean energy industry poised to thrive with new investments
ST. PAUL, MINN. – As historic investments in clean energy are being considered in Minnesota and at the federal level, Governor Tim Walz highlighted the significance of Minnesota's clean energy business community and its many contributions to the state's economy. Today, he delivered a proclamation that declares March 2, 2022 as Clean Energy Business Day in the state of Minnesota.
The proclamation coincides with the sixth annual Clean Energy Business Day at the Capitol (virtual this year) – an education and advocacy day for individuals and organizations working in the state's energy efficiency and clean energy industry. Governor Walz has been a vocal clean energy champion, most recently including $897 million to support the issue across all state agencies in the Climate Change Subcabinet.
"Minnesota's energy efficiency and clean energy businesses are innovating and delivering clean, reliable, and affordable energy solutions that diversify and strengthen the state's economy," reads the Governor's proclamation. "Clean energy encompasses thriving business and labor sectors that are critical to the health and economic growth of our State."
"The State of Minnesota is at a crucial point today where we have compelling needs and tremendous opportunities to invest in clean energy," said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Grace Arnold. "Businesses across the state are acknowledging the challenges of climate change and seeing the potential for tremendous opportunities to grow jobs in our state and to sell clean energy technology to the world."
"Minnesota's clean energy industry is made up of resilient workers and businesses pursuing energy efficiency and clean energy to save money, mitigate risks and address consumer demand," said Gregg Mast, Clean Energy Economy MN Executive Director. "These businesses strengthen Minnesota's economy and provide tens of thousands of family-sustaining jobs. Our industry is poised to further the momentum and success of last year's session. We look forward to working with lawmakers this year to capture and leverage federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and passing bipartisan energy policies that will positively impact all sectors of our economy. This will deliver more good-paying jobs, stimulate investment, and expand economic opportunities for Minnesotans throughout the state."
"Minnesota's solar energy industry is stronger than ever. Our state reached 1.7 gigawatts of installed capacity in 2021, which is expected to double in the next five years. We employ over 4,000 Minnesotans with family-sustaining jobs and are proud to say that solar installer is one of the fastest growing jobs in the state. The price of solar is at an all-time low, and a growing amount of businesses and consumers are realizing how much money they can save with clean energy," said Logan O'Grady, the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA)'s Executive Director. "2021 was the biggest year for solar at the state legislature since 2013 - and Minnesota had the only divided government in the country at the time! This demonstrates the strong and growing bipartisan support for solar. It's not a red or blue issue, but a real opportunity for Minnesota to create family-sustaining jobs, tax revenue for communities, and clean energy across the state. MnSEIA is excited to build off last year's momentum and continue to move the solar and energy storage industries forward this session."
"Wind and solar development has been a booming business for Minnesota over the past decade, putting thousands of Minnesotans to work in great-paying jobs and generating millions in local tax revenues," said Beth Soholt, Clean Grid Alliance Executive Director. "The cost of wind has declined 70% and solar prices have dropped 90% in the last decade. These cost declines have turned utilities and corporate and industrial companies into major players in driving the transition to a clean energy economy, but Minnesota's clean energy vision also requires focus on the grid. New high voltage transmission lines, upgrades to the distribution system, and storage will all play an important role in our ability to deliver our clean, low-cost, and reliable renewable energy."
"Last year, in the country's only divided legislature, Minnesota adopted its strongest bipartisan clean energy policies since 2007," said Chris Duffrin, President of Center for Energy and Environment. "With such innovative, consumer-focused legislation defining our state's clean energy framework, energy efficiency is poised to boom as we come out of the pandemic. But even as we celebrate the wins, we're truly just getting started. New opportunities for progress will depend on continued diligence, stronger regional partnerships, and a lot more hard work."
"Certified green buildings are a critical part of decarbonizing the built environment and realizing a clean energy future. Through the use of LEED, LEED Zero and other green building programs, Minnesota's building industry is already taking important steps that will help the state move in that direction," said Sheri Brezinka, U.S. Green Building Council Regional Director. "The buildings and spaces we occupy have the power to impact both environmental and human health. When we commit to making these spaces more sustainable, we're creating economic opportunities that we can improve the standard of living for everyone."
About Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM): CEEM is an industry-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit representing the business case for clean energy in Minnesota. CEEM provides a unified voice for clean energy business across the state. Our mission is to provide educational leadership, collaboration, and policy analysis that accelerates clean energy market growth and smart energy policies. Learn more at cleanenergyeconomymn.org.
About Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA): MnSEIA is a 501(c)(6) trade association that serves to move Minnesota solar forward as the voice of the Minnesota solar industry. Representing over one hundred-member companies, MnSEIA pursues its mission to grow solar energy industries as part of Minnesota's clean energy transition by delivering strong public policy, education, job creation and sustainable industry development. This is done through active engagements at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the Minnesota Legislature, and in various agency matters. Find out more at www.mnseia.org.
About Clean Grid Alliance (CGA): Clean Grid Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., that works to advance renewable energy in the Midwest. Its members are comprised of wind and solar developers, environmental organizations, tribal representatives, public interest groups, clean energy advocates, farm groups and businesses providing goods and services to the wind and solar industries. Learn more at cleangridalliance.org.
About Center for Energy and the Environment (CEE): Center for Energy and Environment is a clean energy nonprofit with special expertise in energy efficiency that stretches back nearly 40 years. CEE provides a range of practical and cost-effective energy solutions for homes, businesses, and communities to strengthen the economy while improving the environment. Learn more at mncee.org
About U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC): USGBC is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, an international network of local community leaders, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. Learn more at usgbc.org.