The Rochester Post-Bulletin reports that Minnesota has lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 10 months. If there were a way to stimulate Minnesota’s manufacturing sector, create more jobs, and boost the wind industry, I don’t know about you, but I’d be interested.
It seems that this may indeed be possible. Minnesota is already one of the nation’s leaders in already installed wind capacity with 1,800 megawatts. That’s enough to power 450,000 homes annually, according to the Albert Lea Tribune. Only three states have a greater availability to produce more wind energy than Minnesota. Minnesota 2020 fellow Nathan Paine told the Post-Bulletin that Minnesota already has a lot of manufacturing companies that produce similar products to turbines:
"Minnesota is essentially very well positioned with its skilled work force, its large manufacturing base, its wind resources to take advantage of the benefit the wind industry has to offer," he said.
The Riverland Community College just announced that its Albert Lea campus will house a new wind energy technician training program in the fall. This will hopefully make training workers unnecessary as they will already have the skills and knowledge needed for the job.
In order to realize this potential, the state must help companies meet wind turbine manufacturers’ certifications and invest in some training for the workers while training programs such as Riverland Community College’s are still in their early stages. Local ownership of the wind farms is essential to helping boost Minnesota’s economy, making sure the money generated stays in the state. By creating new wind power capacity in the state, Minnesota will create more jobs while also investing in alternative energy. Check out the full Minnesota 2020 report on “Minnesota’s Winds of Progress” here.
Photo Credit: Minnesota 2020