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Clean energy jobs see growth in North Dakota, Minnesota

Wilton Wind Farm is utilized by Basin Electric Power Cooperative as a source of renewable power in North Dakota. NextEra Energy proposes to build an 87-turbine wind project in Stark County, which would provide more electricity to the cooperative. (AMY TABORSKY, Bismarck Tribune)

GRAND FORKS — North Dakota and Minnesota are adding more clean energy jobs, according to a report released earlier this week.

Minnesota added almost 2,900 clean energy jobs from 2015 to 2016, bringing its total to 57,351, according to a news release from Gov. Mark Dayton's office. The 5.3 percent growth meant clean energy jobs grew 3.8 times faster than overall jobs in the state, or about 2 percent of the state's workforce, according to the Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs, the group behind the annual study.

"This report is further proof that renewable energy is good for our health, our environment and our economy. Minnesota's clean energy industry continues to outpace growth in the rest of our economy — creating thousands of good new jobs all across the state," Lt. Governor Tina Smith said in the release.

Most of Minnesota's clean energy jobs are located in or near the Twin Cities, with Congressional District 3 to the south of Minneapolis hosting 12,600 jobs. There are 29,600 total in districts 3, 4 and 5 — those are the districts that surround the city.

Congressional District 7, which covers most of western Minnesota, has 6,100 jobs.

In North Dakota, clean energy jobs grew by 3.2 percent, or 384 jobs, from 2015 to 2016, bringing the total to 12,266, according to the study. That makes up about 3 percent of the state's workforce, according to the study.

Overall, jobs declined 4 percent in the timeframe.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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