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University of Minnesota Extension

Economic contribution of proposed renewable energy projects in Minnesota

Key findings for communities

Female engineer working on a wind turbine field

Construction phase

  • NextEra, along with its local partners, plans to invest more than $1.1 billion in wind energy projects during the next three years.
  • An estimated $321.1 million will be direct purchases from Minnesota companies, which will generate an estimated $550.9 million of economic activity in Minnesota, including $218.6 million in labor income.
  • The projects will support 3,270 total jobs across all industry sectors, including jobs at the construction site and the multiplier effects.
    • The model estimates 1,840 workers will be employed to complete the construction work.
  • The proposed projects will generate an estimated $21.7 million in state and local tax collections during the construction phase.

Operations and Maintenance (O&M)

  • Annually, NextEra and its partners will spend $27.6 million to operate and maintain the wind projects.
  • The companies anticipate employing 35 workers and paying nearly $3.0 million in labor income (direct effect).
  • The wind projects will generate an estimated $44.0 million in overall annual economic activity.
  • These impacts will be annual as long as the projects operate at anticipated levels, totaling $1.3 billion (unadjusted for inflation) throughout the anticipated 30-year operational life of the projects.
  • The proposed wind energy projects will generate $7.7 million in tax collections annually.

About this study

As Minnesota diversifies its energy portfolio, companies are increasingly investing in renewable energy. NextEra Energy Resources (NextEra), which has already invested more than half a billion dollars in the state, plans to invest an additional $1 billion in six wind energy development projects between 2020 and 2023.

As these projects advance, NextEra was interested in understanding the potential economic impact for the state. Thus, University of Minnesota Extension conducted an economic impact study. Economic impact is comprised of direct, indirect, and induced effects. To quantify the direct effects, NextEra provided Extension with its budget for construction and operations. Extension used the input-output model, IMPLAN, to calculate the indirect and induced effects.

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Author: Brigid Tuck, senior economic impact analyst

Reviewed in 2020

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