Clean energy

Jobs grew faster than overall employment

Minnesota added 2,737 jobs related to clean energy in 2018, a 4.7% increase, according to a study released Tuesday.

“Clean-energy jobs continue to show strong year-over-year growth,” said Gregg Mast, director of Clean Energy Economy MN, a nonprofit group that released the study, which was conducted by the industry-led Clean Energy Trust and the business group E2.

In the 12-state Midwest region included in the study, which spans Nebraska to Ohio, clean-energy jobs grew 4% in 2018.

The clean-energy sector accounted for 61,047 jobs in Minnesota last year, led by 46,191 in energy efficiency.

Most efficiency-related jobs, which rose 3% in 2018, are in worker occupations such as refitting buildings to reduce energy use.

Energy efficiency includes building-trades workers involved in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). The sector also includes jobs in the manufacture of energy efficient products; installation of efficient lighting systems; and in software development for HVAC.

To calculate employment in energy efficiency, the study’s authors used the same methodology as the U.S. Energy Administration, Mast said.

Renewable-energy generation was the second-largest clean-energy sector in Minnesota last year with 8,098 workers, a 12% increase over 2017, according to the report; 61% of those jobs were in solar power, while 28% were in wind.

The majority of energy-generation jobs involve workers who build wind and solar farms and install solar arrays on buildings.

Employers in the overall clean-energy sector, including efficiency, project adding 4,400 jobs in 2019, a 7.3% growth rate, the study said.

Mike Hughlett

Building wealth

Black Women’s Alliance, U teaming up

The north Minneapolis-based Black Women’s Wealth Alliance (BWWA) and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota are working together on an “innovative partnership to strengthen housing stability among black women” over the next year.

The partners will work with women who have experienced housing instability by promoting positive economic, social and health outcomes for women and children through empowerment training and wealth building skills.

The pilot program will be guided by Brittany Lewis of the U’s CURA. Each participant will complete a health, financial and housing assessment that will help them create individual plans of action, partly through one-on-one counseling.

And each participant will be paid for eight hours each month to help inform a research-based agenda for the future. The several-year-old BWWA seeks to advance the black community by working with women on wealth-building education, strategies and entrepreneurship.

The Star Tribune recently featured Tonia Brinston, who is a veteran financial educator who works with low-income as well as affluent folks.

Years ago, with the help of a counselor, she turned around her financial life as a single mom. Brinston also is a volunteer adviser with BWWA; see strib.mn/2Idyluc for her story.

Neal St. Anthony

suburban development

Doran Cos. plans project in Minnetonka

Doran Cos. plans to break ground this month on a luxury apartment community in Minnetonka at Wayzata Boulevard and Fairfield Road near Hopkins Crossroads and Interstate 394.

The multifamily complex, designed and built by Doran, will be the first led by Doran RE Partners, an independent venture that pursues joint development deals relying on capital independent of founder Kelly Doran.

The 175-unit apartment community will be constructed on the site of what are now three office buildings.

“We are excited to bring this project to life, marrying the tranquility of the natural environment within this Minnetonka neighborhood with the modern conveniences and amenity-rich lifestyles residents of Doran properties … expect,” said Anne Behrendt, Doran chief operating officer.

The multifamily apartment community will boast 20,000 square feet of amenity space, including a fitness center.

The complex will include 35 income-restricted apartments for those who make up to 50% of the Twin Cities area median income.

The city of Minnetonka will contribute $4.8 million in tax increment financing for the project.

Doran Partners paid $3.65 million for the two parcels of land, but declined to quote a development-and-construction cost for the project.

Over the past decade, Doran Cos. has developed, designed or built more than 30 luxury multifamily projects.

Neal St. Anthony