Wisconsin’s governor wants the state’s power companies to be 100-percent green in the next 30 years. But there are a number of people who say that’s either unrealistic or too expensive to happen. 

Gov. Tony Evers last week signed an order that will lead to a plan to transition the state to 100 percent renewable power by 2050. 

“Our state has a responsibility to current and future generations of Wisconsinites to act to prevent continuing damage to our climate and to invest in solutions that help to mitigate the changes that have already occurred,” Evers said. 

Under the governor’s order, the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy will be charged with developing clean and renewable energy across the state, advance sustainability solutions and diversify the resources used to meet the state’s energy needs.

Evers is effectively ordering Wisconsin to adhere to the tenants of the Paris Climate Accords and create new energy standards for buildings that are to be built in the state. 

Evers said switching to green energy will be a net positive. 

“A transition to a clean energy economy will generate thousands of family-supporting jobs in Wisconsin,” he added. 

Not everyone agrees. 

State Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin, said Evers is letting his politics get ahead of the needs of Wisconsin. 

“The sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow,” Kuglitsch said of wind and solar energy. “It is irresponsible to mandate total carbon free generated electricity when there is not technology currently available to sustain a power grid 24/7 using intermittent generation. “

Democratic lawmakers, perhaps predictably, are on-board with Evers’ plan. 

State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, said there’s public support for green energy, even if there’s not support at the State Capitol. 

“People around the state of Wisconsin are excited about the opportunities we have to create a more sustainable future in terms of clean energy,” Hesselbein said. “It was unfortunate when the gerrymandered majority in the State Legislature removed this proposal from the budget. However, it is the right step forward for Governor Evers to act on behalf of the people of our state. I believe the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy will become an integral part of our effort to combat the effects of climate change.”

Kuglitch added that Republicans walked away from the governor’s climate change proposal because Wisconsin’s manufacturers and businesses in the state can’t deal with an on-again off-again power supply. 

“We need to have a reliable energy grid as it is literally the economic engine that keeps moving Wisconsin forward,” Kuglitch said. “To have a goal is one thing, but to mandate it without assurance that the technology will exist is negligent.”

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.

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