News Release: Governor Walz declares March 10 as ‘Clean Energy Business Day’

Mar 10, 2021

Clean energy industry shows its strength amid pandemic hurdles.

ST. PAUL, MINN. – Coming off the heels of news that the US saw its biggest addition of renewable energy ever in 2020, despite the hurdles posed by the pandemic – Governor Walz highlighted the significance of Minnesota’s clean energy business community and its many contributions to the state. Today, he delivered a proclamation that declares March 10, 2021 as Clean Energy Business Day in the state of Minnesota.

The proclamation coincides with the fifth annual Clean Energy Business Day at the Capitol (virtual this year) – an education and advocacy day for individuals and organizations working in the state’s energy efficiency and clean energy industry. Governor Walz has been a vocal clean energy champion, most recently championing a bill to achieve 100% carbon free energy by the year 2040.

“Amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic causing a 14 percent reduction in Minnesota’s energy efficiency and clean energy workforce, Minnesota’s clean energy businesses have shown their resilience continuing to build the state’s economy, adding new renewable electricity to the mix, creating sustainable buildings and delivering innovative approaches to decarbonizing our economy with solutions that are clean, reliable and affordable,” reads Governor Walz’s proclamation.

“Clean energy is a vibrant and innovative field that creates thousands of good-paying jobs, while decarbonizing our state and taking on climate change,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “When we invest in and prioritize clean energy, we are not only preserving the things we love most about Minnesota, we are building the future of our economy and environment.”

“Minnesota’s clean energy industry has strengthened the state’s economy by diversifying our energy mix while creating tens of thousands of family-sustaining jobs,” said Gregg Mast, Clean Energy Economy MN Executive Director. “Our industry is ready to deploy the innovation solutions needed to drive economic recovery and achieve Minnesota’s climate goals. Now is the time to ensure our state is signaling to the rest of the country that we are open for clean energy business. We can do this by passing bipartisan policies without delay – including strengthening our statewide efficiency standards, updating our building codes, and tackling carbon emissions across all sectors of our economy.”

“Throughout the challenges of 2020 and the pandemic, Minnesota’s solar industry has proven its resiliency. Despite many obstacles, we have continued to work and grow rapidly. Increasingly, businesses and consumers are looking at solar and storage as a way to save money on their energy bills and strengthen their personal energy reliability,” said David Shaffer, Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) Executive Director.

“We are thankful for Minnesota’s strong solar legislation that has allowed our industry to grow to its current state, but we must continue the momentum in order to provide more stable jobs for our citizens, and create an accelerated onset of fuel-free energy. Clean Energy Business Day shows that support for solar energy is a bipartisan issue. With the support of our state’s legislators, we have the opportunity to make lasting change for Minnesota and the nation.

"Wind and solar development has been a booming business for Minnesota over the past decade, putting thousands of Minnesotans to work in great-paying jobs and generating millions in local tax revenues," said Beth Soholt, Clean Grid Alliance Executive Director. "The cost of wind has declined 70% and solar prices have dropped 90% in the last decade. These cost declines have turned utilities and corporate and industrial companies into major players in driving the transition to a clean energy economy, but Minnesota's clean energy vision also requires focus on the grid. New high voltage transmission lines, upgrades to the distribution system, and storage will all play an important role in our ability to deliver our clean, low-cost, and reliable renewable energy."

"Now past the initial shock of the pandemic, energy consumers are looking for ways to manage costs through smart investments,” said Chris Duffrin, president of Center for Energy and Environment. “Passing critical energy efficiency legislation this year would help customers statewide better control their energy bills while creating new jobs for Minnesotans installing our next wave of efficient technologies.”

“Certified green buildings are a critical part of realizing a clean energy future. Through the use of LEED, LEED Zero and other green building programs, Minnesota’s building industry is already taking important steps that will help the state move in that direction,” said Sheri Brezinka, U.S. Green Building Council Regional Director. “The buildings and spaces we occupy have the power to impact both environmental and human health. When we commit to making these spaces more sustainable, we’re creating economic opportunities that we can improve the standard of living for everyone.”
 



About Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM): CEEM is an industry-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit representing the business case for clean energy in Minnesota. CEEM provides a unified voice for clean energy business across the state. Our mission is to provide educational leadership, collaboration, and policy analysis that accelerates clean energy market growth and smart energy policies. Learn more at cleanenergyeconomymn.org.

About Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA): MnSEIA is a 501(c)(6) trade association that serves to move Minnesota solar forward as the voice of the Minnesota solar industry. Representing over one hundred-member companies, MnSEIA pursues its mission to grow solar energy industries as part of Minnesota’s clean energy transition by delivering strong public policy, education, job creation and sustainable industry development. This is done through active engagements at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the Minnesota Legislature, and in various agency matters. Find out more at www.mnseia.org.

About Clean Grid Alliance (CGA): Clean Grid Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., that works to advance renewable energy in the Midwest. Its members are comprised of wind and solar developers, environmental organizations, tribal representatives, public interest groups, clean energy advocates, farm groups and businesses providing goods and services to the wind and solar industries. Learn more at cleangridalliance.org.

About Center for Energy and the Environment (CEE): Center for Energy and Environment is a clean energy nonprofit with special expertise in energy efficiency that stretches back nearly 40 years. CEE provides a range of practical and cost-effective energy solutions for homes, businesses, and communities to strengthen the economy while improving the environment. Learn more at mncee.org.

About U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC): USGBC is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, an international network of local community leaders, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. Learn more at usgbc.org