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An Analysis of Expanding Renewable Energy Markets in Minnesota Implications for Rural Economic Development

In 2007, the State Legislature and Governor enacted legislation to put Minnesota on a path to have 25 of its energy produced from renewable sources by the year 2025. Minnesota statute also sets a goal of increasing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline to 20 percent by 2013. Development of Minnesota’s renewable energy sector has a real potential to serve as an engine for rural economic growth. Farm households, rural businesses and rural communities can benefit from rural development because of new and higher-wage employment, new markets for agricultural commodities and more vibrant regional economies. To research the economic potentials, we perform an in-depth analysis using primary survey data and secondary data. Our findings suggest that the growth of the renewable energy sector can serve as a key avenue for value-added agriculture to advance Minnesota’s rural economy. Expanding renewable energy markets, such as ethanol, can create positive impacts on rural employment and household income, the profitability of farm-related businesses, and other businesses connected to Minnesota’s rural areas.

File Attached: Binder1.pdf