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Midwest Making Strides in Solar and Wind

Minnesota's community solar projects are being called a step in the right direction. (elpc.org)
Minnesota's community solar projects are being called a step in the right direction. (elpc.org)
December 27, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota is being called a leader when it comes to solar and wind technology.

Attorney Brad Klein with the Environmental Law and Policy Center said Minnesota has strong policies that are leading to developments in the renewable industry. He gives the state a lot of credit for community solar projects that have been put into place.

"Even if you're not able to put solar on your own roof, you can sign up for programs in Minnesota that would allow you to subscribe to a solar farm located elsewhere, but you actually see the benefits of that solar directly on your electric utility bill," he explained.

Klein said Xcel Energy in Minnesota also is planning for new wind and solar technology. He said the renewable industry leads to job creation, helps combat climate change and lowers utility bills.

Klein said the Midwest has been a little slow to completely embrace the renewable industry, but things are starting to pick up.

"Over the last several years, there have been tremendous technology improvements and cost improvements for solar that are really putting us right on the cusp of a real boom in the solar market in the Midwest," he said.

While advocates of renewable energy have expressed concern over President-elect Donald Trump's choice of Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Klein believes the industry will survive politics.

"What it does do is it makes the role of the states even more important," he added. "So, while I think there are some reasons to be discouraged now about the direction of the federal policy in this area, I do think the development of more renewable energy and clean energy is inevitable."

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MN