Report: Minnesota efficiency push could spawn 15,000 direct jobs by 2030

Dive Brief:

  • A new report by the BlueGreen Alliance estimates a push to reduce energy use by 20% in some Minnesota buildings could create up to 15,000 direct jobs by 2030, with two-thirds of those jobs blue collar. 
  • The efficiency projects would be completed in so-called MUSH sector: municipal buildings, universities, schools and hospitals.
  • The alliance, a group which focuses on both the environment and labor and economic issues, said in addition to employment gains, the increased efficiency would avoid using more than 36,000 GWh and save consumers $3.1 billion.

Dive Insight:

The BlueGreen Alliance report concludes building efficiency is win-win for the state, fueling a big jobs push while reducing costs. Efficiency is a big employer already, providing jobs to tens of thousands, according to the group.

“Clearly, there’s a need to improve the energy and water efficiency in this sector,” Bob Ryan, coordinator of the United Steelworkers District 11 Rapid Response program, said in a statement. The alliance teamed up with labor unions and green advocates in developing the report. “Doing this the right way would support jobs in the local economy, improve the condition of these buildings, and even reduce the strain that energy costs put on municipal budgets," Ryan said.

Sierra Club North Star Chapter State Director Margaret Levin called it a "practical and pragmatic approach." 

“If we can avoid wasting energy, while creating quality jobs, that’s an idea that should have bipartisan appeal,” Levin said. “This is a practical and pragmatic approach to address our state’s greenhouse gas emissions that will also, in the end, save us money.”

The report also focused on ways the efficiency push could be financed, including the use of “green banks,” on-bill financing similar to Property Assessed Clean Energy financing already going on in Minnesota, and leveraging federal funding.

The alliance also cited a study by Clean Jobs Midwest, which estimated there are 54,000 workers in Minnesota’s clean economy with almost 90% focused on efficiency.

In 2015, a report by the Minnesota Commerce Department concluded the state's Conservation Improvement Program was generating at least $4 in benefits for every dollar spent, as well as producing $5.9 billion in new economic output and nearly 55,000 job years.

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Filed Under: Efficiency & Demand Response
Top image credit: Jason Nelson