Wind Power

For companies that make their living in the wind industry, Minnesota is the place to build a North American manufacturing and distribution base.

Minnesota ranks seventh in the nation in wind capacity installed, according to 2012 rankings by the American Wind Energy Association.

To succeed in the growing and highly competitive wind industry, it takes the right combination of natural and business resources. And Minnesota has everything you need.


Resources

Superb Wind Resource 

When it comes to the raw material necessary to keep the industry spinning, Minnesota and surrounding states have the best winds in the country. We're among the nation's best for the strength and reliability of our winds.

Here’s how we rank among top wind-energy states (2013):

State

Capacity
(Megawatts)

U.S. Ranking

Texas

12,214

1st

California

5,544

2nd

Iowa

5,133

3rd

Illinois

3,568

4th

Oregon

3,153

5th

Oklahoma

3,134

6th

Minnesota

2,987

7th

Washington

2,808

8th

Kansas

2,713

9th

Colorado

2,301

10th





Source: American Wind Energy Association

Commitment

Strong Commitment to Renewable Energy
The state's commitment to wind can be seen in several ways. Minnesota ranks second nationwide in the percentage of electricity produced from wind (14.3 percent), according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Minnesota's Renewable Energy Standard, one of the strongest in the country, requires the state's utilities to get at least one-fourth of their power from renewable sources by the year 2025. The requirement is 30 percent for Minnesota's largest utility, Xcel Energy. 


Minnesota's commitment to wind energy is paying off. In 2012, wind energy had a great impact on the state's economy and environment:

  • Total direct and indirect jobs supported: 2,001 to 3,000
  • Capital investment: more than $5.5 billion
  • Annual land lease payments: more than $10 million
  • Annual carbon dioxide avoided: 5.1 million metric tons
  • Number of homes powered by wind farms: 885,000

Source: American Wind Energy Association.

Logistic Advantages

Located in the Heart of North American

Minnesota is within 500 to 1,000 miles of several leading wind energy states and the major Canadian provinces focused on wind power.

Other U.S. Midwestern states and Canadian provinces have strong renewable mandates, too, leaving Minnesota manufacturers well positioned to sell regionally as well as globally. 

Exceptional Transportation Infrastructure

Minnesota has a world-class system of ports, railroads, highways, and airlines. The Port of Duluth handles a significant portion of sea-based transportation of turbines and wind-related machinery.

  • The port ranks first in North America by the Railway Industrial Clearance Association (RICA).
  • In 2012, the port handled 104,837 freight tons of wind turbine components shipments, an increase of more than 200 percent since 2005.
  • Most of the port's wind energy cargo is inbound from manufacturers in Germany, Denmark, and Spain for delivery to projects in the Upper Midwest.
  • The port handles outbound shipments of blades manufactured in the Midwest to Spain, Canada, Brazil and Chile.
  • Four Class 1 railroads connect the port to the rest of the continental United States.

Supply Chain

Well-Developed Wind Industry And Wind-Power Supply Chain

Many Minnesota companies are involved in the wind industry. Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy buys more wind power than any other utility in the country. The state is headquarters to the nation's top wind farm builder, M.A. Mortenson Construction. The largest wind turbine trucking company, Anderson, is headquartered in Minnesota.

Many Minnesota companies manufacture components for the wind industry. Search our Made in Minnesota database to find suppliers. 

Several law firms in the Twin Cities have national reputations for expertise and experience in wind power law. St. Paul's WindLogics helps site many wind farms around the world.

Workforce

Skilled Labor Force and an Exceptional Education System

From highly educated engineers to highly trained and skilled manufacturing workers, we’ve got the workforce you’ll need to succeed.

Minnesota ranks second nationwide in the percentage of people with a high school education or higher (92 percent) and 11th for the number of people with bachelor's degrees (32.4 percent).

There are 180 public and private postsecondary institutions in the state. Learn more about higher education in Minnesota. And the state's colleges and universities granted nearly 9,000 degrees and other awards in environment and energy related fields each year.

Environment and Energy Related Degrees
Conferred by Minnesota Postsecondary Institutions (2010-2011)

Field Number of Graduates
Natural Resources and Conservation 617 
Architecture 300 
Engineering 1,726
Engineering Technical Degrees 1,445 
Physical Sciences 940 
Construction Trades 1,384 
Mechanical and Repair Technical Degrees 1,403
Precision Production 718
Transportation and Materials Moving 447 

TOTAL 8,980 

Source: Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

To respond to the growing need for renewable energy, Minnesota state colleges and universities are now offering wind-energy related degrees, including:

Clean Energy Systems Technician

Energy Technical Specialist

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy Systems Technologist

Sustainable Environment Technologies

Wind Energy

Wind Energy Mechanic

Wind Energy Technician

Wind Energy Technology

Wind Turbine Technician

Windsmith


Source: Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.


Fact Sheets

Here you'll find some of the marketing materials that we use to promote Minnesota's wind industry. Select from the links below to view, download or print fact sheets, brochures, maps and reports.

Minnesota: Gateway to North America's Wind Country
This brochure provides a high-level overview of Minnesota's wind industry

Wind Speed at 30 Meters
This map tracks Minnesota's wind speed in meters per second and miles per hour at 80 meters high.

Wind Speed at 80 Meters
This map tracks Minnesota's wind speed in meters per second and miles per hour at 80 meters high.

Monthly Wind Speed at 80 Meters
This map tracks Minnesota's month-by-month wind speed in meters per second and miles per hour at 80 meters high.

Wind Capacity at 80 Meters
This map tracks Minnesota's wind capacity at 80 meters high.

Wind Energy Production at 80 Meters
This map tracks Minnesota's wind speed in meters per second and miles per hour at 80 meters high.

Wind Speed at 100 meters
This map tracks Minnesota's wind speed in meters per second and miles per hour at 80 meters high.

Regional Wind Analysis
This report discusses the methodology used in regional wind mapping

Wind Turbine Locations in Minnesota
This map shows wind turbine locations statewide since 2008

American Wind Energy Association
Find additional details about Minnesota's wind farms from the American Wind Energy Association.