Minnesota Among Midwest States Experiencing Significant Job Growth in Renewable Energy Sector
New case studies find hiring by leading local employers up over the last five years
ST. PAUL, MINN., (September 11, 2018) – The State of Minnesota and local companies have experienced impressive job growth because of the national increase in renewable energy. Leaders from the American wind, solar, and energy storage industries joined local companies to share impressive job growth data at a press conference today in St. Paul. Minnesota-based companies Mortenson and Ulteig Engineers have added more than 1,600 jobs in their renewable energy divisions, and job growth in the State has been energized due to strong national demand for services including engineering, construction and manufacturing, according to new case studies released at the press conference by the Wind Energy Foundation’s “A Renewable America” campaign.
“The Midwest is a bright spot for renewable energy development, and that translates to jobs,” said Beth Soholt, Executive Director, Wind on the Wires. “Minnesota’s strong support of renewables is driving robust jobs and economic growth, making the state a national leader. And, that’s something we should be proud of.”
Minnesota is poised to be a national leader in the advancement of renewable energy. Home to over 180 companies working in the wind, solar, and storage industries, over 8,700 Minnesotan jobs are now supported by these technologies alone, according the report.
“Hearing about the great success that companies like Mortenson and Ulteig, and the many other companies in Minnesota that support renewable energy are having, is very gratifying. The renewable energy sector has done a lot to diversify our economy and provide excellent job opportunities for Minnesotans,” said Sen. David Senjem.
“We are pleased to be a part of Minnesota’s growing renewable energy economy,” said Brent Bergland, general manager at Mortenson. “We have experienced a significant five-year growth trend in renewable energy jobs, and we are anticipating continued expansion of jobs in this sector in 2019 and beyond.”
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar installer and wind turbine technician are projected as the fastest-growing job categories through 2026. A recent report by the Minneapolis-based McKnight Foundation found the state could create an additional 44,000 jobs in the wind and solar industries by 2050.
“Ulteig’s commitment to renewables has grown significantly since we developed our first wind project in 1998,” said Doug Jaeger, President and CEO of Ulteig. “Over the last five years we have increased the number of employees supporting the market by 150 percent, and we expect to nearly double the number of wind and solar projects we complete this year compared to last.”
Jobs in renewable energy extend far beyond construction and maintenance jobs. Engineers, lawyers, financial analysts, manufacturers, and many others make up the renewable energy supply chain in Minnesota and beyond. The recent growth of renewable energy, both within the state and nationwide, was highlighted in remarks from the CEOs of the leading national wind, solar, and energy storage associations attending the event.
“SEIA members in Minnesota have led a trend in the creation of thousands of jobs in the Midwest, in what last year was America’s fastest-growing solar market,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.“Minnesota shows how quickly the solar industry can bring clean energy and jobs to a state with the right policies.”
Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO, Energy Storage Association, explained that the growth of storage enables new and broader opportunities for a cleaner supply mix. “Storage supports all forms of generation and is particularly adept at facilitating grid capabilities to integrate more clean resources,” said Speakes-Backman. “Energy storage is an enabling technology. As it increases the flexibility of the electric system, energy storage technologies foster an efficient, resilient, sustainable, and affordable energy system.”
“We have a record amount of wind power under construction in America today,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA.”With wind energy construction and engineering firms like Blattner, Mortenson, and Ulteig, Minnesota will ride the wave of economic activity and job creation that accompanies this unprecedented level of wind farm construction.”