Minnesota’s leadership on renewable energy and climate action is unparalleled in the Midwest. Policymakers passed a 25% Renewable Energy Standard in 2007 with bipartisan support. Under Governor Dayton’s leadership, the state has already effectively met that goal seven years early. In 2013, Governor Dayton signed into law a 1.5% by 2020 Solar Energy Standard, with a goal of reaching 10% by 2030.
Over 57,000 Minnesotans worked in clean energy jobs in 2017. In the past 12 months alone, 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.
In 2017, Governor Dayton introduced a 50% Renewable Energy Standard by 2030. This policy has bipartisan support, and would promote even more job growth, especially in Greater Minnesota. For counties with wind installations, an average of one new job is created for every 2 MW of added wind capacity. In terms of property taxes, the wind and solar industries have added nearly $100 million since 2004. In 2018, more than half of Minnesota’s 87 counties will receive tax revenues from wind and solar projects, resulting in nearly $13 million in additional tax revenue.
Minnesota’s clean energy progress is result of collaboration involving policymakers, state agencies, local governments, utilities, businesses (large and small), communities (large and small) and, above all, the people of Minnesota. Minnesota is also one of 17 states in the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
On June 13th, 2018 over 300 individuals witnessed Governor Dayton’s proclamation that Minnesota will join the We Are Still In coalition at Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy’s day of climate action titled MN is Still In. Minnesota is now the first Midwestern state to join nine others in the nation-wide promise to uphold the Paris Agreement commitments of the U.S., alongside businesses, universities, cities, tribes, cultural institutions, and faith-based organizations.
Over 70 representatives from 38 Minnesota-based companies and organizations—ranging from multinational to local in scale—came together for MN is Still In to workshop how to increase and amplify their commitments to carbon reduction and clean energy. Outlined goals included reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing clean energy percentages in their portfolios, as well as other science-based, measurable, and ambitious commitments.
The progress Minnesota has made in the transition to clean energy can be accomplished anywhere – and we are eager to share our stories to help other states do the same.