Join the BlueGreen AllianceHelp us identify ways to turn today’s environmental challenges into job-creating and economic opportunities!
The BlueGreen Alliance in Minnesota has a strong local membership of labor, environmental, and community organizations working towards creating good jobs, while protecting our environment.
About the Minnesota BlueGreen Alliance
We are guided by the principle that we can no longer choose between good jobs and a clean environment—that the actions we take to create quality jobs and to protect working people and the environment must go hand-in-hand, and that together, we will build clean, thriving and fair economy.
In Minnesota, the BlueGreen Alliance is working to expand the state’s leadership on clean energy and energy efficiency, increase industrial energy efficiency, reduce methane leaks in the state’s natural gas distribution system, and ensure a just transition for workers impacted by the state’s energy transition.
CLEAN ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY
The BlueGreen Alliance worked with allies in labor, the environmental movement, and the renewable energy industry to implement a solar energy standard in the state. In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a solar energy standard of 1.5 percent by 2020 for investor-owned utilities, with a goal of 10 percent solar energy by 2030.
We also worked to protect the state’s forward-thinking clean energy and energy efficiency policies that have helped grow over 15,000 jobs in the state since 2000. Average annual wages in the clean energy economy reached over $71,000 in 2013, which was 42 percent higher than the statewide average for all jobs of about $50,000. Two-thirds of those jobs are in energy efficiency.
INDUSTRIAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY
The BlueGreen Alliance was pivotal in the passage of a provision that allows the Minnesota Department of Commerce to work with manufacturers, health care facilities, and other businesses to help fund energy efficiency projects with low-interest financing through its state revenue bond authority. The $100 million in state revenue bonds can be used to finance community energy efficiency projects, including industrial, commercial and public projects, to save energy.
Later, a diverse group of Minnesota business, environmental, labor and government stakeholders gathered to provide other recommendations to spur industrial energy efficiency in the state. The resulting report, Competing to Win: Spurring Industrial Efficiency in Minnesota, was a clear call for more state efforts to reduce pollution and energy waste, while making the state’s energy-intensive industries more efficient.
NATURAL GAS DISTRIBUTION WORK
The BlueGreen Alliance profiled the natural gas distribution system of Minnesota and examined efforts to repair leak-prone pipes within the system. As of 2012, Minnesota had 512 miles of distribution pipelines made from leak prone materials: 430 miles of bare steel pipeline, 53 coated unprotected steel, and 30 cast/wrought iron. In 2012, there were 646 leaks reported in the state of Minnesota.This profile examined the natural gas distribution system of the state and the benefit of repairing leak-prone pipes within the system. It also identified best practices; highlighted how far along the utilities and workers have come in advancing distribution pipeline repair, replacement and detection; and developed strategies that could be used around the country to tackle methane leaks in distribution pipelines.
Minnesota’s infrastructure systems are in dire need of repair. Our state’s roads and bridges, water, waste water, transit, energy, and communication systems need increased investment to become efficient, safe, and productive for Minnesotans. Repairing Minnesota will create good jobs, make our systems more efficient and less polluting, and safeguard communities from the impact of climate change, like severe weather such as floods and droughts. The investments required to repair Minnesota’s infrastructure systems could create or sustain more than 114,000 jobs each year throughout the economy.
“Repairing this infrastructure will create good, union jobs making the steel to rebuild bridges and rails, making the concrete that will be poured to repair our roads, and building the components and materials used to generate renewable energy, like wind turbines and solar panels. And, it will help our environment.”
– Bob Ryan, District 11 Rapid Response Coordinator, United Steelworkers
114,000 jobs An estimated 114,000 jobs a year could be created and sustained across the Minnesota economy by making much-needed investments in our basic infrastructure systems.. (Source)