Wisconsin’s Path To Zero-Carbon

The population of the state of Wisconsin is approximately 5.85 million people[1]. In April 2020, state utilities used natural gas (39.9%), coal (31.3%), nuclear energy (18.8%) and renewable energy (10.0%) to generate electricity[2]. Hydropower, biomass, wind, and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s reliance on expensive coal and nuclear power contributes to state’s above average cost of electricity. In April 2020, the average cost of electricity in Wisconsin was U.S. 14.89 ¢ per kWh, which is the 13th most expensive state in the nation. The average cost of residential electricity in the United States in April 2020 was 13.28 ¢ per kWh.

Wisconsin has established energy policies to increase the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The state is also increasing the state’s forest lands to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). In 2019, state legislators set the goal that all electricity consumed in the state be carbon-free by 2050.

In July 2020, Wisconsin utility, Alliant Energy Corporation announced a plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company further announced plans to eliminate all its coal-fired power plants by 2040. Alliant, headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin supplies electricity, natural gas, and water to customers in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin[3].

Alliant joins a growing list of major utilities across the nation, committing to achieve zero-carbon emissions in the foreseeable future. Over the past decade, Alliant has been moving from coal-fired power plants to renewable energy. Power from wind and solar are now significantly cheaper than coal and even natural gas.

Coal has fueled Wisconsin power plants for over a century. Over the past fifteen years, coal prices have steadily increased, while the cost for power from renewable energy have dramatically fallen. Concerns over economics, air quality and climate change is causing utilities in Wisconsin and across America to move from fossil fuels to clean, green energy.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

[1] Worldpopulationreview.com

[2] U.S. Energy Information Agency, www.eia.gov

[3] Alliant Energy Corp – Company Profile and News – Bloomberg. www.bloomberg.com

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