We are on the verge of a profound shift in the way we produce and use energy. This shift will move the world away from the consumption of fossil fuels (such as oil, coal and natural gas) that cause climate change, toward cleaner, renewable forms of power.
The popularity of clean energy is already exploding as millions of people around the world use it to generate electricity, to heat and cool buildings and to produce a variety of cleaner vehicle fuels.
Wind and solar are the fastest growing sources of energy in the world. These low-polluting energy industries are creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in countries as diverse as Germany and China. In fact, the renewable-energy sector generates more jobs per megawatt of power installed, per unit of energy produced, and per dollar of investment than the fossil fuel-based sector.
The United States, and Minnesota and the Midwest in particular, is richly endowed with clean energy, including wind, solar, biomass and geothermal sources. With the right policies, Minnesota, the Midwest and the U.S. can use clean, renewable energy to satisfy its energy needs and become a world leader in sustainable technologies.
Past energy revolutions—from wood to coal, and from coal to oil and gas—have brought an explosion of new profits, productivity and improvements in human health. Investing in new clean-energy sources can make us wealthier and healthier, too.