Minnesota is Well Positioned to Create Good Clean Energy Jobs

Joshua Low
Blue Green Alliance

Working people and environmentalists both have a stake in building the new, green economy. Transforming our economy through renewable energy, energy efficiency, mass transit and rail, a new smart grid and other solutions to global warming, has the potential to create millions of jobs, while reducing global warming emissions and moving America toward energy independence. A green job is a blue collar job with a green purpose, like solving global warming.

When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in early 2009, one of its main goals was to make a down payment to jumpstart the creation of the green jobs and the green economy. By investing billions of dollars in weatherizing low income homes, providing incentives for home owners to make their homes more energy efficient by installing new windows or installing a new, efficient furnace, or by retrofitting government buildings to make them dramatically more energy efficient, the Recovery Act should create tens of thousands of clean energy jobs. Someone has to make that new furnace or install the new, energy efficient windows, and those are jobs contributing to the green economy in Minnesota. After all, there are several window manufacturers in Minnesota.

Minnesota isn’t starting from scratch. Minnesota already has 52,827 green jobs. Electricians are installing solar panels. Carpenters are weatherizing homes to make them more energy efficient. Minnesotans manufacture hybrid transit buses in Saint Cloud and Crookston. Workers at the Duluth Port are loading and unloading parts for wind turbines, and Laborers are pouring concrete for new wind turbines, Iron Workers are installing wind turbines on the Iron Range and in southwestern Minnesota. Workers in Baxter, MN produce inverters for solar electric systems.

Minnesota can create tens of thousands of new, clean energy jobs, but we need the right policies to realize the promise of green economy. Minnesota has a strong renewable electricity standard, and, if implemented well, policies to invest Recovery Act funds to get Minnesotans back to work, dramatically reducing global warming pollution. We are already seeing homeowners take advantage of tax credits for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, but, as of September 2009, we have not seen the full impact of the Recovery Act on the clean energy economy. That is why the Blue Green Alliance and its allies began meeting with the Office of Energy Security after the Recovery Act was passed, so we can make Minnesota create tens of thousands of good, green jobs.

Read Up

The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems by Van Jones. HarperOne 2009.

The Blue Green Alliance is a national, strategic partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. The Blue Green Alliance works to engage grassroots environmentalists, labor leaders and rank-and-file, and community partners to grow the green economy. You can get involved. The best way to get involved is to join the Blue Green Alliance as an individual member. Go to www.bluegreenalliance.org and click on “Join Us” to join the Blue Green Alliance. 

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