Renewable Standard Potential for Minnesota

A national renewable electricity standard of 20 percent by 2020 would produce more than 5,000 jobs in Minnesota, according to a new study released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Washington D.C. – September 29, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] A national standard would require 20 percent of the nation’s electricity to come from clean renewable sources such as wind, biomass, and solar energy, and would create 1.4 times more jobs in Minnesota than generating electricity from fossil fuels. Development of renewable energy would also provide a significant source of new income for Minnesota’s rural communities from capital investment and direct payments, the study found. “We must create good jobs, protect the environment and end dependence on foreign oil,” said David Foster, Director of District 11 for the United Steelworkers of America. A national renewable electricity standard would also save Minnesota’s consumers $500 million on their energy bills through 2020, according to the UCS. Nationally, the group said that consumer savings would be more than $49 billion. The national standard achieves these cost savings primarily by reducing the demand for-and the price of-natural gas. “The Minnesota congressional delegation should follow the bipartisan leadership of our Senators and support a national renewable electricity standard,” said Diana McKeown program director for Clean Water Action Alliance of Minnesota. “By supporting a national renewable electricity standard, our Congressional delegation can provide the state with safe and reliable domestic energy sources while ensuring cleaner air and water for everyone.” The analysis found that by 2020, a national 20 percent renewable electricity standard would produce benefits for Minnesota such as: – A net gain of more than 1,500 new jobs in manufacturing, construction, operation, maintenance, and other industries – $1.7 billion in capital investment – $126 million in property tax revenues for rural communities – $383 million in income for farmers and rural landowners from wind power leases and the production of biomass energy – 1.4 times more jobs than new natural gas and coal power plants would create More than $12.6 billion leaves Minnesota every year through importing coal, petroleum, natural gas, and uranium. A renewable electricity standard will help Minnesota’s energy dollars in the state. According to the Department of Energy, in the year 2000, Minnesotans spent $6,722 million to import petroleum; $1,954 million to import natural gas; $434 million to import coal; $60 million to import nuclear fuel; and $3,477 million on imported electricity. “The economic growth of Minnesota and the rest of the country is tied to technology,” said Kevin Knobloch, President of the UCS. “Investing in cleaner, efficient automobile technologies, renewable energy, and more efficient appliances will pay off in the form of new jobs for all these sectors.”
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