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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 biblical mandate 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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