Did you know that Minnesota is a leader in the alternative energy industry and that 25% of electricity generated in Minnesota is from alternative energy?
“Renewable energy is proliferating across the Upper Midwest. Wind farms make up the bulk of this new generation, which isn’t surprising considering the Great Plans have some of the best wind resources in the world.” [at Fresh Energy]. In fact, some people call the Midwest the Saudi Arabia of wind energy. According to Fresh Energy, renewable energy has driven a 33% reduction in harmful emission rates across the region.
This new market offers a huge opportunity to Minnesotans, especially rural Minnesotans with 30% of renewable energy jobs in rural areas (Fresh Energy). Expansion into wind and solar energy will only continue to increase across the country, and Minnesota is primed to be not only a leader in our own state, but also a resource for other states increasing the growth in Minnesota-based companies.
Throughout human history there has always been a push and pull between those who want to preserve the past and those who are driving for the future. While too much innovation driven too quickly can create problems, no innovation is a death sentence. We must strive to be on the cutting edge of innovation and that is where our alternative energy industry places us.
While the alternative energy industry offers a place of growth and opportunity for Minnesota companies, the industry also offers the benefits of decreasing air pollution and creating both a healthy environment and a healthy job market as well as an increased tax base.
In addition, alternative energy has the potential to impact our everyday lives by providing us with energy efficient items for our homes and our lives. For example, electric cars are increasing in their efficiency and reliability and offer a real hope for change in the future. As a state, as we must also explore how to make sure alternative energy options reach all of our communities. Costs for effective alternatives to traditional energy can be expensive, but it does us no good as a society to not bring along those who cannot afford these alternatives. We must invest in a plan that will flip this state into an energy efficient state.
Meanwhile, Minnesota’s other renewable energy program, ethanol fuel, continues to bring strong dividends to the state. By providing a cleaner and more efficient fuel, ethanol helps to create a healthier environment, while providing a source of revenue for rural Minnesota. The ultimate goal is to eventually move away from petroleum based energy, but ethanol helps reduce the dissemination of harmful chemicals into the environment and provides a valuable alternative until green energy sources are fully developed and disseminated. As technologies change, Minnesota must plan ahead to transition into industries that are future focused.