Last week marked several big events for clean energy in Minnesota.
The New York Times told the 20-year story of Minnesota’s leadership in clean energy under the headline “Without Much Straining, Minnesota Reins in its Utilities’ Carbon Emissions.” In the story, writer Michael Wines highlights more than a dozen different policy innovations or leadership roles that our state has taken. Fresh Energy was a key actor in almost all of them—winning transformative policy outcomes and sometimes doing better in the background rather than in the spotlight.
Also in Friday’s news, in more than a dozen Minnesota outlets, readers learned that according to a preliminary report by Collaborative Economics, Minnesota’s clean energy sector now directly employs more than 14,000 people working for about 1,000 different companies. This study was released at the governor’s Clean Energy Economy Summit at the University of Minnesota on Thursday. Fresh Energy was a sponsor of the event.
David Mortenson, president of Mortenson Construction, emphasized that renewable energy is now a cost-competitive solution. He said the cost of wind energy has dropped 43 percent since 2009 and solar energy has dropped 60 percent since 2008, but coal and natural gas markets became more volatile. “And when you can guarantee the price of delivering a kilowatt-hour 20 years from today (because that’s what you can do with solar and wind) you have a competitive advantage because coal, natural gas, they can’t tell you what the cost to produce power in six months will be,” said Mortenson.
In the opening address at the Clean Energy Economy Summit, Governor Dayton called to “eliminate coal” from Minnesota’s energy mix. The governor’s call appeared in more than 15 Minnesota news outlets, and was the lead story in Midwest Energy News, a Fresh Energy publication read by industry folks and policy pros across eight states and in Washington D.C. Here’s the original Minnesota Public Radio story, syndicated to the Duluth News Tribune. A similar piece was also written by the Associated Press, St. Cloud Times, Austin Daily Herald, Pioneer Press, and many others.