Report: Minnesota's clean energy industry growing rapidly with over 57,000 jobs


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In 2016 there were 57,351 clean energy jobs in MN

Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM) today released a new report called Clean Jobs Midwest from Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs that finds that Minnesota now has 57,351 total clean energy jobs.

In the last 12 months, Minnesota’s clean energy industry grew by 5.3 percent, adding 2,893 jobs—3.8 times faster than overall job growth in the state. Despite the rapid growth that has already occurred, clean energy technology continues to present a significant opportunity for business and job growth.

“This report tells the story of how Minnesota’s rapid transition to cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy is driving job creation all across our state,” said Gregg Mast, executive director of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota. “Companies and communities, whether small or large, are prospering from clean energy and this is just the beginning.”

Energy efficiency comprises the largest component of Minnesota’s clean energy jobs. Jobs in renewable energy generation grew the fastest among the different subsectors at a rate of 15.7 percent. Minnesota’s solar and wind energy sectors now employ over 5,700 people.

“This report is further proof that renewable energy is good for our health, our environment, and our economy. Minnesota’s clean energy industry continues to outpace growth in the rest of our economy – creating thousands of good new jobs all across the state,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “I urge the Minnesota Legislature to enact the bipartisan ‘50 by 30’ renewable energy standard that was proposed last session to spur additional job growth in the future.”

The clean energy industry has tremendous potential for rural economic development. There are approximately 17,251 people employed in clean energy in Greater Minnesota, making up 30 percent of the total clean energy workforce. In Mankato, Duluth and St. Cloud, clean energy job growth was greater than 10 percent over the past year – double that of the statewide average.

“Clean energy provided an opportunity for us to diversify our 50-year-old business, which began as a manufacturer of extruded aluminum components for boating and other industries, and over the past five years we have seen dramatic growth in revenue year on year,” said Mark Turley, Renewable Energy Market Leader at Alexandria Industries. “We now have over 35 full-time positions as a direct result of manufacturing precision aluminum products for the solar industry. Our intent over the next five years is to continue to grow our market share and support renewable energy companies throughout the country.”

“Clean energy is fueling new jobs for Minnesota workers and new opportunities for Minnesota businesses,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, whose agency includes the State Energy Office. “Minnesota’s nation-leading commitment to energy efficiency and renewable resources like wind and solar helps drive results for our economy as well as our environment.”

Within the state’s clean energy industry, a variety of employment opportunities exist. Approximately 34,000 construction jobs are supported by Minnesota’s clean energy economy. Another 6,200 manufacturing jobs and 6,800 professional services jobs in Minnesota also are supported by clean energy.

“Clean energy jobs continue to be an important part of Minnesota’s energy sector and overall economy,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “With more than 57,000 clean energy jobs now across our state, this industry is providing family-sustaining wage jobs to thousands of Minnesotans, all while working to preserve and improve the environment our state is known for.”

Driving Additional Clean Energy Economic Growth

Global energy demand is expected to increase by 31 percent by 2030 – creating a significant potential market for Minnesota businesses able to help meet this demand. Currently Minnesota ranks fourth in total number of clean energy jobs in the Midwest region. Creating policies that will help Minnesota’s clean energy industry continue to grow is critical to strengthening the state’s position as a leader in this rapidly growing industry.

“The clean energy industry is the fastest growing sector of Minnesota’s economy,” said Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Mary’s Point). “Supporting this expanding industry through market-based public policies that create stability and predictability for our home-grown businesses is in the best interests of all our constituents.”

Passing effective clean energy policies will also ensure that the industry continues to grow and create family-sustaining jobs for Minnesotans across the state.

“Clean energy is driving job growth and innovation in every region of our state—especially in Greater Minnesota where small towns and farming communities are seeing the creation of new jobs and feeling the economic impacts of new businesses,” said Senator Nick Frentz (DFL-North Mankato). “Strong policies, such as the proposed 50 by 30 Renewable Energy Standard, will incentivize the utilization of our state’s natural resources to further strengthen our economy and ensure a prosperous Minnesota for future generations.”

The full analysis is available at

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    CERTs Partners:

Minnesota Department of Commerce University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission