Keeping Energy Dollars in MN Forum Video
Minnesota's Energy Future
Produced by Bill Sorem Video Reporter at the UpTake
Keeping Energy Dollars in Minnesota
From the Minnesota's Energy Future Forum on September 27, 2011
It was an exciting evening at the Bloomington Civic Center as Lynn Hinkle and John Farrell described how MN's transition to clean energy could contribute to the prosperty of Minnesotans. They told us clean energy could be an enormous jobs engine. It could also bring the $20 billion our state spends annually on fossil fuels back to MN in the coming decades and grow MN's manufacturing base for solar panels and wind turbine components. "We're talking about accomplishing something truly remarkable," stated John Farrell. Following them, long term energy justice activist George Crocker told us that winning those benefits for our communities would require community organizing.
1 hour 5 minutes: presentations; 25 minutes: Q and A
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Moderator - John Doll, Former MN Senator
and Vice-Chair, Senate Energy Committee
Lynn Hinkle - Policy Development Director,
Minnesota Solar Industries Association
The Green-Blue Alliance: Solar Energy and Labor Issues in Relation to Clean Energy Development
"Renewable energy is an enormous jobs engine for our state." Hear about the public policies that can create those jobs.
John Farrell - Director,
Energy Self Reliant States and Communities Program, Institute for Local Self Reliance
How Distributed Wind Development Can Grow Jobs and Contribute to Economic Development in Minnesota
"Minnesota has a tremendous potential for getting electricity from renewable resources, but an even larger potential in terms of what the economic opportunity could be."
George Crocker - Executive Director, North American Water Office
The Importance of Community Organizing for Developing Distributed Renewable Energy
"Until enough people figure out how to actively pursue their interest, their community's interest, in securing the benefits that John and Lynn talked about . . . the power of organized capital will prevail. Organized people can beat organized capital every time that the people are organized. The problem is that they're not."
Our speakers explained how distributed wind and solar energy differs from centralized or base energy and how the coming energy revolution can democratize the electricity system. Following are brief descriptions of their work.
The Minnesota Solar Industries Association promotes solar manufacturing in Minnesota. Lynn Hinkle contributed to the strong clean energy provisions in the recently passed Property Assessed Clean Energy Law which allows property owners to finance solar, other renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle plug-in improvements to their homes or businesses through voluntary property assessments. Under the new PACE law, Minnesota has the potential to significantly increase solar and other types of renewable energy in buildings across our state.
John Farrell watches developments in renewable energy not only in Minnesota, but also throughout our nation and worldwide. He reports them on his Energy Self Reliant States blog, which contains a broad range of information on wind and solar energy and effective ways to finance their development.
Lynn Hinkle, Policy Development Director for the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association, began the evening with a presentation of how clean energy and, in particular, solar energy could create jobs that can support families. Hinkle spoke of how the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, with the emphasis on retrofitting of homes, are able to create jobs and reduce energy consumption. PACE in combination with energy efficiency retrofitting of public buildings and the growth of solar generation systems, can create well-paying jobs within Minnesota across all skill levels and education levels.
Hinkle provided evidence of how solar energy industry creates more jobs per $1 million of investment compared to fossil fuel investment – 14.1 versus 5.3 jobs. Hinkle estimates that in the year 2020 that 3,000 jobs that can support a family will exist in Minnesota’s solar energy industry. Additional benefits of investing in solar energy is that the jobs are created quickly, and Minnesota will move closer to energy independence. He cautioned, though, the fossil fuel industry enjoys hidden subsidies n the tax code that are larger by a factor of 50 to 12 as compared to transparent subsidies to the solar energy industry. Hinkle ended with a promising future of accelerated capital investment within Minnesota once the solar energy sector attains 10 percent of the energy production market in the state.