Eric Steen, BlueGreen Alliance, 612-466-4488

J. Drake Hamilton, Fresh Energy, 651-366-7557

Labor, energy, business faith, youth, and conservation groups announce campaign to advance groundbreaking clean energy, jobs legislation

SAINT PAUL, MN (March 5, 2013) More than 30 organizations — ranging from labor, energy, business, faith, environment, youth and conservation groups — came together at the Minnesota State Capitol today to launch the Minnesota Clean Energy & Jobs campaign. In response to Governor Dayton’s call to establish Minnesota’s sustainable energy future this year and beyond, the group is proposing renewable energy, energy efficiency and local power policies that will create good jobs while protecting our health and the air we breathe.

“We know that transitioning to a clean economy — investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency and making it cheaper and easier to use — are the keys to creating good jobs in this state,” said Pete Parris, Political Director for Sheet Metal Workers Local 10 and a representative of the BlueGreen Alliance, a partnership of labor and environmental groups. “We have an opportunity to stay ahead of the curve — to create good jobs, and to make sure that we protect the environment for this and the next generation — we can do that with this agenda.”

The more than 30 organizations will work together to advance key policies in 2013 and 2014. Specifically, the campaign will support increasing the state’s Renewable Electricity Standard to 40 percent by 2030, establishing a solar energy standard of 10 percent by 2030, and a series of policies that will make providing local power generation easier and more cost effective, as well as advancing building and industrial energy efficiency initiatives.

“Our campaign is ready to work with Governor Dayton and our legislators at the Capitol to put these innovative policies in place,” said Michael Noble, Executive Director of Fresh Energy. “They have the ability to scale up, clear barriers, and create market opportunities for solutions that accomplish both economic and climate goals.”

Wind energy provides up to 3,000 direct and indirect jobs in Minnesota, and research shows one 250-megawatt wind project will create 1, 079 jobs over the life of the project. Meanwhile, more than 100 businesses already exist throughout Minnesota in the solar industry. Implementing the Solar Energy Jobs Act — one of the key priorities of the group — will create over 2,000 permanent jobs in the first year after the standard is passed, and thousands of jobs over the life of the policy.

“Minnesota utilities will be making many important decisions about replacing or adding generation over the next decade. Increasing the state’s renewable energy requirement will ensure Minnesota continues to be a leader in renewable energy and captures the jobs that are created to support the wind and solar industries,” said Beth Soholt, Executive Director of Wind on the Wires.

The 10 percent solar energy standard would help put solar on more than 200,000 rooftops across the state, making it easier for the average Minnesotan to be an energy producer, not just a consumer. Meanwhile, energy efficiency investments create more jobs than equivalent investments in fossil fuels. The U.S. in 2010 had at least 830,000 jobs related to energy efficiency, and that number is increasing at 3 percent per year.

“Lutherans recognize that advocating for a clean energy future is rooted in a biblicalmandate to care for creation,” said Reverend Mark Peters, executive director of the Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota (LCPPM). “For 25 years, LCPPM has been proud to support Lutheran leaders from congregations across Minnesota in their advocacy for a clean energy future.”

Representing youth environmental advocates, Katie Mercer-Taylor, a Roseville high school senior and co-chair of the Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota (YEA! MN), which is a program of the Will Steger Foundation, added, “Young people from around Minnesota are committed to work with policy makers to make the next big leap toward a sustainable energy future — clean energy jobs are central to the future Minnesota’s young people demand.”

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Advisory: Campaign to Advance Groundbreaking Clean Energy, Jobs Plan





Eric Steen, BlueGreen Alliance, 612-466-4488

J. Drake Hamilton, Fresh Energy, 651-366-7557


Labor, energy, faith, youth, and conservation groups to announce campaign to advance groundbreaking clean energy, jobs plan

ST. PAUL, MN – On Tuesday, March 5 at 9:30 a.m. in room 181 of the State Office Building, a group of labor, energy, business, faith, environment, and youth leaders will announce a campaign to advance a groundbreaking state legislation to create jobs for Minnesotans, generateclean, renewable energy, and protect our health and the air we breathe.

 The campaign will mobilize over 30 Minnesota organizations working to advance the state’s sustainable energy future and promote economic, energy, and climate change solutions supported by the majority of Minnesota voters.


o   Pete Parris, political director, Sheet Metal Workers, Local 10

o   Michael Noble, executive director, Fresh Energy

o   Beth Soholt, executive director, Wind on the Wires

o   Reverend Mark Peters, executive director, Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota

o   Katie Mercer-Taylor, Roseville Area High School and co-chair of the Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota (YEA! MN)


Campaign launches to advance groundbreaking clean energy and jobs plan in Minnesota


State Office Building, Room 181


Tuesday, March 5, 9:30AM




Clean Energy Advocates Push Minnesota Power to Commit to Renewables, Energy Efficiency in Energy Plan


March 1, 2013

Jessica Tritsch, Sierra Club, 612-963-9642,
J. Drake Hamilton, Fresh Energy, 651-366-7557,

Clean Energy Advocates Push Minnesota Power to Commit to Renewables, Energy Efficiency in Energy Plan

SAINT PAUL – Today, Minnesota Power filed its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), opening a public comment period on how the state’s second largest investor-owned electric utility will improve northern Minnesota’s energy portfolio for the next 15 years. Minnesota Power currently draws more than 80 percent of its power from coal-fired power plants.

“Minnesota Power is taking vital first steps to change their energy mix, but their plan of action does not move quickly enough to address climate disruption or the many health concerns in communities that surround its coal plants,” said Jessica Tritsch, Organizing Representative with the Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign. “Spending billions of dollars importing fossil fuels from other states and retrofitting coal plants without making more significant investments in renewable energy or efficiency will keep Minnesotans locked into dirty energy, rather than leading on clean energy development now.”

At the end of January, Minnesota Power announced that it would stop burning coal in one unit at its Taconite Harbor plant by 2015, and convert units at its Syl Laskin coal plant to burn natural gas. This decision came after the Minnesota PUC supported a motion to put Minnesota Power on notice that its Syl Laskin and Taconite Harbor coal plants may be too risky and costly to be granted rate recovery, starting in 2016. Minnesota Power was also ordered in December to include an evaluation of retiring outdated Clay Boswell coal-burning units 1 and 2 by 2020 in today’s draft plan; Minnesota Power included plans to continue operating these units past 2020.  

Minnesota Power also announced in January that rather than phasing out coal at its Clay Boswell plant, the utility plans to invest more than $350 million to retrofit coal-burning unit 4 at the plant to modernize controls for certain pollutants, not including carbon pollution. “Saddling ratepayers with huge capital costs for an aging coal plant, when the costs of running that plant into the future will go up substantially, is not in the best public interest,” said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director at Fresh Energy.

“As Minnesota Power proposes plans for the next 15 years of electric generation in northern Minnesota, customers must push them to maximize efficiency and energy savings now,” said Hamilton. “Increasing efficiency in our businesses and homes allows us to avoid reliance on imported, dirty coal.”

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, current technology available can cut electricity use by one-quarter by 2020 through efficiency alone. Based on the average electricity production of the nation’s large coal-fired power plants, this would allow communities to phase out burning coal at an estimated 60 large power plants across the nation.

While Minnesota Power has recently made significant investments in wind energy, completing construction of more than 400 megawatts of wind power in 2012, the utility’s IRP did not include any plans for investment in solar energy. Solar is a form of renewable energy that has seen exponential growth over the past five years. More than 6,000 petitions demanding more solar were delivered to Governor Dayton in 2012, and 87 percent of Minnesotans polled support increasing the use of solar power in the state.

“It is time for Minnesota Power to recognize the popularity and viability of solar power,” said Tritsch. “Last year, Minnesota Power’s pilot solar rebate program sold out due to overwhelming interest. Solar energy can create jobs in northern Minnesota as well: there are solar array manufacturers who stand to benefit by increased local production. Investment in solar energy would keep Minnesota dollars cycling through our own state’s economy, rather than out of state paying for coal.”