- Minnesota could obtain 6,884 megawatts of electricity, over half its power, from renewables by 2030 while creating up to 1,200 permanent jobs and $76 million in annual wages, according to “Powering Up Minnesota: A Report on The Benefits of Renewable Electricity Development” from the Wind Energy Foundation.
- Minnesota’s abundant solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, geothermal and waste-to-energy make the estimates achievable but solar advocates say solar’s potential is underestimated. 2013 legislation establishing a 1.5% solar by 2020 mandate could drive utility development of 450 megawatts of solar by 2020, over five times the report’s 2030 solar estimate of 81 megawatts.
- Another factor in Minnesota’s high level of renewables potential, according to the report, is the conservative estimate that wind project costs have dropped 50% since 2009 and the installed cost of solar has dropped 40% since 2010.
The report’s high growth scenario could produce 35,000 construction jobs and $2 billion in construction wages in addition to the permanent jobs and annual wages, reports Midwest Energy news. An 852 megawatt low growth scenario, driven primarily by Minnesota’s renewables mandate, would create 3,600 construction jobs and $215 million in construction wages as well as 130 permanent jobs and $8 million in annual wages.
The high growth scenario would produce $28 million in annual tax revenue and $20 million in annual land lease revenue, mostly from wind and hydropower development. The low growth scenario would produce $3.6 million in annual tax revenue and $2 million in annual land lease revenue.
Minnesota’s $11 billion investment in renewables between 2004 and 2013 is the foundation for the predicted growth. The state now gets 20% of its power from renewables, including 3,035 megawatts of wind, 15 megawatts of solar, 204 megawatts of hydropower, 367. Megawatts of biomass, and 123.2 megawatts of waste-to-energy.