Published on November 3rd, 2011 | by Adam Johnston0
Gopher State Becoming a Clean Tech Diamond in the Rough
While Minnesota is known for gophers, ice, and a thousand lakes, it is also becoming known as a hub for clean technology in the mid-western United States. Two recent events have only solidified the Gopher state as a serious player in green technology.
The University of Minnesota this past week opened up its doors to the Wind Energy Research Station. The opening of the station involves a 2.5-megawatt (MW) wind turbine and a 426-foot-tall meteorological research tower that will allow researches to investigate how to build more efficient wind turbines while creating more skilled engineers and technicians, something that will help to solidify the US as a clean tech power.
“Projects like the research station at the University of Minnesota provide hands-on training for talented students and help advance the technologies necessary to achieve the Administration’s goal of generating 80% of our nation’s electricity from clean energy resources by 2035,” said Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary.
The University of Minnesota wind consortium is a part of a US$7.9 million fund received by the US Recovery Act in 2009 to help boost wind energy in the US. The U of M was one of two other universities who received money from the Act to improve wind energy efficiency. The University of Maine in Orono and the Illinois Institute of Technology were also the big winners. An additional US$3.1 million from other sources (including, Xcel Energy, 3M, and Lockheed Martin) also provided support for the project.
Besides Minnesota shoring up its reputation in wind, it is also a national leader in energy efficiency. The state finished in the top ten, eighth overall, in energy efficiency, according to the American Council For an Energy Efficient Economy. The report cited various factors that kept Minnesota’s ranking unchanged from last year, including: good utility policies that allow for energy efficiency, loan programs that offer support to homeowners, and 75% of new on-road fuel efficiency standards of greater than 30 miles per gallon.
While the state may not be as trendy as California, with its cost competitive advantage and strong passion for using entrepreneurship for solving social problems like environmental issues, Minnesota is definitely well-placed for attracting more people to it’s already 52,000-strong environmental sector.
Photo Credit: By WindImages