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Wind energy could help create jobs

Wind energy could help create jobs(By Laura Grevas via Worthington Daily Globe)LUVERNE — Investment in wind production could create more than 3,000 jobs

and pump $8 billion into the economy during the next 20 years, according to

a report released Tuesday by Minnesota 2020.Minnesota is the nation’s ninth windiest state and, with enough wind

capacity to power 450,000 homes annually, ranks only behind California,

Iowa and Texas in ability to produce electricity from wind.“Most of the wind in the state is located around here and in Otter Tail and

Clay Counties,” explained Minnesota 2020 Research Fellow Nathan Paine prior

to a news conference Tuesday in Luverne. “Because of that, Minnesota is

positioned really well.”Investment in wind technologies could create jobs for those who manufacture

and maintain wind turbines, and those who educate them, the report said.“This year (at Minnesota West) in Canby, 50 students are enrolled in the

wind turbine technicians class. Now we have jobs for our kids when they

graduate high school,” former Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Jim

Nichols said. There will soon be one additional school in Minnesota,

Riverland Community College in Albert Lea, that trains technicians, he

added.Paine said each group of six to 10 wind turbines could create one full-time

maintenance job, in addition to manufacturing jobs.The report, titled “Winds of Progress,” estimates it would take about 4,000

megawatts of capacity to meet the state’s renewable energy standard — for

utilities to purchase or generate 25 percent of their energy from natural

resources by 2025. And, according to Minnesota 2020 recommendations, the

increase in wattage required should be generated by locally owned wind

farms.There are 11 locally owned turbines in Rock County, and the report said

annual impact of local ownership is three times greater than

corporate-owned projects. But Paine said such initiatives take work.“Local ownership is not something that can be done overnight,” he said. “It

requires the whole community to see the opportunity and make it happen.”For the very latest wind jobs from across The U.S. and globally please

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