Letter: Clean energy a boon for Mower, Minnesota

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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Last year Mower County received more than $2.1 million in wind energy production tax revenue. Since 2004, the county has received nearly $20 million in tax payments. This is incredibly beneficial for our largely rural county with roads and schools that require continual funding.

For over a decade I’ve worked training electricians and from 2008-2017 I worked training wind technicians and solar installers at Riverland Community College helping to graduate many young men and women from our programs. I have grown to be a passionate champion for Minnesota’s clean energy industry because of the benefits to the planet and the incredible job creation potential it presents.

Fresh out of a training program, new electricians and technicians can expect to make between $18 and $25 per hour.  An experienced technician can average around $28 per hour. Not only does clean energy create good-paying jobs, it creates local jobs. According to the recently published Clean Jobs Midwest 2020 Report, one in three clean energy jobs in our state is located in Greater Minnesota.

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E2 reports that the fastest-growing jobs across 12 states were in renewable energy during 2018, and renewable energy is already the fastest-growing source of new U.S. electricity generation, leading the U.S.  Bureau of Labor Statistics to forecast America’s two fastest-growing jobs through 2026 will be solar installer (105 percent growth) and wind technician (96 percent growth)

I’ve seen firsthand how the wind and solar industries have helped to improve the lives of individuals and communities in Mower County. I’m hopeful for a future where clean energy continues to thrive and power our state and local economy.

Steve Vietor

Oakland, Minnesota