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Column: Renewable energy can be the source of jobs

It's certainly no secret - the economy needs jobs, especially in rural Minnesota.

There is a source of jobs which could help. Those jobs come from renewable energy: solar electric, solar hot water, solar hot air, and wind. These new technologies work, especially in the rural areas where the resources are already available. There are already installers, or those who can be readily trained as installers in most of those communities. We're talking electricians, and plumbers. Add to that list the need for roofers, concrete installers, and laborers. (And I'm not even going to touch on cost savings these energy systems can provide for farmers, schools, hospitals, city buildings, and homeowners.

What's missing to make this all work?

If we look to those places where renewable energy jobs are already employing tens of thousands of people, places such as nearly all of Europe and most of Asia; and did I mention Wisconsin? Yes, Wisconsin! There is one obvious piece of the puzzle they have in place and our legislature refuses to put in place for us.

That is the Feed-In Tariff. It is the one item that is proven to make it all work.

Yet, in the eyes of a few of those we vote into our legislature, (where by the way, they get paid an excellent salary, only work for a few months out of the year, and also get health insurance and retirement benefits), they don't seem to understand that the Feed-In Tariff can create hundreds of direct and related jobs for the underemployed in outstate Minnesota.

Do an Internet search for 'Feed-In Tariff" on Read the description. Then call and ask your elected state officials why they haven't helped you with more renewable energy jobs by passing a Feed-In Tariff.

Richard Carter can be reached at