In 2007, Minnesota passed what was then a nation leading Renewable Energy Standard (RES). It required Minnesota utilities to provide 25% of the state’s energy from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar by the year 2025. Today Minnesota’s utilities are ahead of schedule in meeting that goal. We can be proud of the positive impacts that this law, and others like it across the country, are having on our state.
Renewable Energy is now less expensive to build than power sources that rely on fossil fuels. A 2014 study by Lazard financial shows that investing in renewables has brought down costs and changed the debate. We used to ask “how much renewable energy can we afford to add?” Today, the long term question for Minnesota is “how much polluting energy do we have to keep?”
Renewable Energy is powering Minnesota’s economy. Employment in this sector surged by 78 percent between January 2000 and the first quarter of 2014. These are good jobs, with average annual wages of more than $71,000 in 2013. That same year, Minnesota employers in the clean energy economy paid more than $1 billion in wages.
Minnesota communities want more renewable energy. In recent months, more than 10,000 people in over a dozen communities have responded to Conservation Minnesota’s energy surveys. The responses show overwhelming support, with more than 70% of respondents saying they support increasing renewable energy goals. See the results here.