Report: Minnesota a Top 10 clean energy state

Wind turbine
A wind turbine owned by Jon Christenson of Windom in southwest Minnesota.
MPR Photo/Mark Steil

A report released Tuesday by a clean energy think tank said Minnesota is among the 10 states leading the nation in clean energy and technology.

Minnesota ranked 9th in the report by Clean Edge, which does research and analysis on everything from renewable energy to technology investment to energy policies.

The report said Minnesota has more Energy Star-rated green building space per capita than any other state. The Energy Department says Energy Star buildings use on average 35 percent less energy and emit 35 percent less greenhouse gases than other buildings. Minnesota is also among the states leading in wind energy and biofuel production, according to the report.

Clint Wilder, one of the report's authors, said green buildings are an important indicator when evaluating how much a city or state is investing in clean technology.

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"The building sector accounts for a very large percentage of both energy use and greenhouse gas production, so leadership in this area can really help your energy consumption and being a cleaner place in general," he said.

Minnesota's new solar energy standard could help the state in the area of clean energy production in future years, he said. That law requires that the state's large utilities produce 1.5 percent of their energy from solar by the end of the year 2020.

"If that succeeds in causing significant solar deployment in Minnesota, then you'd get a higher ranking. Right now you're tied for 19th with all the other states that have no measurable utility-scale solar," he said.

The report also looked at large cities and ranked Minneapolis 14th overall when looking at four indicators: green buildings, advanced transportation, clean electricity and carbon management; and clean tech investment, innovation and workforce.