A bipartisan group of legislators and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) announced a new effort to commit the state to getting 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, creating 1,500 jobs annually in the process. It would place the state among a handful that have implemented such a high standard.
Currently the state’s renewable portfolio standard requires the state’s utilities to source 25 percent or their energy from renewable sources by 2025. In the process it has created more than 15,000 jobs and stimulated more than $1 billion in economic growth annually.While the state is now on track to surpass that requirement it’s carbon emissions have only fallen 7 percent, which misses the state’s goals.
“Ten years ago, Minnesota enacted the bipartisan Next Generation Energy Act and proved that we can have affordable, reliable, and clean energy,” Smith said in announcing the new effort. “Today, because of bipartisan leadership and a sustained effort, more than 21 percent of Minnesota's electricity comes from renewable sources. If we redouble our efforts, and raise Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard to 50 percent by 2030, we will improve air quality, continue to drive down the cost of renewable energy, and generate thousands of new energy jobs.”
The new standard is supported by Democrats and Republicans and the bill to expand the standard is being authored in the state Senate by Nick Frentz (D) and Karin Housley (R), and in the state House by Erin Maye Quade (D) and Joe Schomacker (R). "Minnesota has been a nationwide leader in promoting renewable energy, reaping the rewards in good paying jobs, cost savings for our people, and environmental benefits,” Frentz said. “This bill sends a strong message that we intent to stay that way."
“In Minnesota, the clean energy economy isn’t just the future—it’s the present,” Quade said. “Clean energy is already providing jobs, saving families money, and making our nation more secure. And we know we’ve only begun to scratch the surface. As a State Representative, one of my goals will be to increase Minnesota’s presence in the growing clean energy economy because these jobs are right here in Minnesota and can’t be shipped overseas.”
The amount of jobs created by renewable energy has grown significantly over the past fourteen years. The governor’s office said clean energy jobs in the state grew 78 percent between 2000 and 2014, growing steadily through the recession. Overall, employment growth in the state, however, was only 11 percent. Moreover, clean energy jobs pay higher than the average in the state.
Thus far only three other states have undertaken such a high renewable portfolio standard, California and New York have both instated 50 percent renewable energy goals by 2030 and Hawaii, which has more aggressive goals, wants to reach 50 percent renewable energy by by 2020.Tweet