Energy efficiency can grow Minnesota’s economy and create quality jobs

New report shows Minnesota’s energy efficiency industry could support 26,000 jobs annually
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Date Published: June 21, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Building on Minnesota’s strengths in energy efficiency can maximize job growth and give the state a competitive economic edge. That’s according to The Minnesota Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Energy Efficiency, a new report created by the American Jobs Project in partnership with the University of Minnesota. The report is funded by The JPB Foundation, Incite Labs, the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, the Fung Institute, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society. This is the latest publication from the American Jobs Project after its release of ten state reports last year.

“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on industrial clusters can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” said Robin Sternberg, co-author of the Minnesota Jobs Project. “For Minnesota, this approach could employ an annual average of 26,000 people in the energy efficiency industry over the next 14 years.”

Millions of Americans lost good-paying jobs during the recession, and unfortunately, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been in relatively low-skill, low-income occupations. In contrast, the Minnesota Jobs Project proposes innovative strategies to create thousands of skilled jobs that pay well for Minnesotans today and into the future, informed by principles of competition, local control, and less red tape.

The report recommends state-specific policies and non-legislative solutions to support job creation by capitalizing on growing market opportunities and aligning manufacturing with critical economic system components, including access to capital, innovation ecosystems, and workforce development.

The Minnesota Jobs Project finds that:

  • Minnesota is home to 450 companies that provide energy efficiency products and services, ranging from growing startups to large, established businesses. The robust supply chain can help foster a stronger manufacturing sector to supply growing national and regional demand.
  • The energy efficiency industry is an ideal mechanism for job growth in Minnesota due to the state’s company base, leading research universities with expertise in energy efficiency technology, strong innovative workforce, and attractive business climate. An increased focus on energy efficiency also aligns with the state’s clean energy leadership and capitalizes on extensive energy savings opportunities across Minnesota’s building stock.
  • By building strong economic foundations that support industry growth, Minnesota’s energy efficiency industry has the opportunity to employ an annual average of 26,000 Minnesotans for the next 14 years. This projection includes both new and sustained jobs.

University of Minnesota’s Ellen Anderson was an advisor to the Minnesota Jobs Project. Anderson stated, “The American Jobs Project offers a critical cluster-based approach to Minnesota’s energy efficiency industry that builds upon existing momentum in the state. The report provides clear and concrete strategies that state leaders can advance across government, industry, and academia. Continued leadership and collaboration can generate substantial energy savings while maximizing economic impacts, meaning more jobs for Minnesotans and increased revenue in the state.”

The American Jobs Project website features reports on Minnesota and many other states, as well as a Policy Bank detailing best practices and innovative ideas for job growth in the advanced energy industry. To learn more or to download a copy of the Minnesota report, visit