The Badger State Going Green

The population of the Badger State, Wisconsin is approximately 5.85 million people[1]. In July 2020, state utilities used coal (44.9%), natural gas (33.9%), nuclear energy (13.8%) and renewable energy (7.40%) 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 July 2020, the average cost of residential electricity in the state was 14.53 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 13.26 ¢ per kWh.

Wisconsin is one of 30 states[3] with a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The state’s current renewable energy goal is for all new installed generating capacity to be powered by renewable energy resources to the extent that it is cost-effective and technically feasible.

On August 19, 2019, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order[4] that established a state Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy and set a goal that all electricity consumed in the state be 100% carbon-free by 2050. Wisconsin has also established energy policies to increase the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and state forest lands.

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[5].

In October 2020, Wisconsin’s first large scale solar project began operation. The 150 MW capacity Two Creeks Solar Facility is located near the shore of Lake Michigan, approximately 50 miles north of the city, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The solar project contains 500,000 photovoltaic panels, covering 800 acres.

Coal has been the dominant fuel for Wisconsin’s power plants for more than a century. Over the past fifteen years, coal prices have steadily increased, while the cost for power from renewable energy have dramatically fallen. Economics and concerns over air quality and climate change are 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] Wisconsin Population 2020, worldpopulationreview.com

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

[3] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, April  17, 2020

[4] Wisconsin Governor Orders 100% Carbon Free By 2050, Despite Lack Of Legislative Support, www.utilitydive.com

[5] Alliant Energy Corporation – Company Profile and News, Bloomberg – www.bloomberg.com

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