Letter: Support clean energy to boost local jobs

Published 9:40 am Thursday, September 3, 2015

Minnesota should embrace the recently-announced Clean Power Plan for the clean energy jobs and economic development that will undoubtedly come to Southern Minnesota. Already, our region has seen a 71 percent increase in clean energy jobs since 2000. More than $10 million annually in wind energy production tax revenue benefit about one-quarter of the counties in the state, with Mower County receiving the most.

Minnesota’s clean energy economy has increased by 78 percent since 2000, providing more than 15,300 well-paying jobs today. If Minnesota maximizes its clean energy potential, we stand to create more than 35,000 new jobs and over $2 billion in wages over the next 15 years.

Minnesota’s forward-thinking approach to clean energy policy has made our state a great place to do business and the Clean Power Plan provides us with the next chance to showcase this leadership to the world.

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Great River Energy, the electric utility that provides power for most of the electric cooperatives serving rural Minnesota, says that now is the time to regulate carbon emissions from the power sector. This will open the door for increased usage of renewable energy in Minnesota, much of which is likely to be built in our area. By embracing the Clean Power Plan, we are choosing to create jobs and wealth within our own communities. I urge Gov. Mark Dayton to continue championing policies that send clear market signals that demonstrate Minnesota’s commitment to affordable energy from renewable sources.

Justin Van Beusekom

Senior Operations Manager at Prairie Star Windfarm in LeRoy