Minnesota is one of the leaders in green energy adoption in the United States. Our largest utility, Xcel Energy, is set on generating and delivering 100% of its electricity by renewable sources by 2050. Minnesota reached its goal of a 25% renewable energy standard eight years ahead of schedule. This thanks to legislation passed by Governor Tim Pawlenty. A study from the McKnight Foundation shows that Minnesota can achieve a 91% standard. It can be done cost-effectively, using current technologies. We can do it, we need to do it.
Greater amounts of renewable energy are the key to a future Minnesota citizens will appreciate. Failure to lead in this fuels the effects of human-caused climate change. The first to feel the effects of climate change will be those that work the land, farmers. Climate change is predicted to increase the number of days above 90 degrees to 80 in Goodhue County, while also increasing precipitation 10-30% by 2070 according to the Union of Concerned Scientists of the USA (UCSUSA). These erratic climate changes will lead to crop failures. Crop failures will lead to failing family farms.
But there are opportunities in our transition from fossil fuels as we lessen the impact of human-caused climate change. Consider single-use plastics. We have the manufacturing capability and agricultural lands to produce a ready-for-market product known as bioplastics. These products are produced from industrialized hemp that thrives in the conditions created by our geography. Not only does it thrive, naturally, it requires less inputs - water, herbicide, pesticide - and does more to keep topsoil in place, protecting our commercial and recreational waterways. Expanding the growth of industrialized hemp and producing bioplastics gives farmers a product with a domestic market of greater than $2 billion, in the US; eliminating sharp declines in revenue caused by disruptions in global trade.
Forty percent of the jobs in green energy are in greater Minnesota, according to MinnPost. An increase in renewable energy also keeps the $13 billion spent annually on fossil fuels in the state. Thus, I will work to support and pass laws that limit our need for fossil fuels and our impact on the environment.