The effort is part of a broader collaborative effort to make all electricity consumed within the state of Wisconsin totally carbon-free by 2050.
The Clean Energy Plan puts forth numerous strategies to lower energy prices for Wisconsin families, promote energy independence in the state by cutting reliance on out-of-state sources, improve water security and weather-resistant infrastructure and invest in job training to support industries and technologies, such as solar energy, that are conducive to cleaner energy.
“Over the past two years the OSCE team worked to create a collaborative path forward to address emissions in our state,” OSCE Director Maria Redmond said. “I’m looking forward to implementation of this plan and to continuing to work with partners across the state to support sustainable local economies, environmental justice and direct actions to address climate change. ”
Evers believes that executing these recommendations will create more than 40,000 jobs by 2030. To bolster the workforce, the plan will work with technical colleges to develop pathways into the clean energy industry, support reentry skills training programs for incarcerated individuals and create a Clean Energy Workforce Advisory Council.
“Our Clean Energy Plan can help us create good paying jobs that don’t require a college degree and bring talented workers to Wisconsin while saving money, reducing energy costs and building the sustainable future we want for our state,” Evers said.
Wisconsin in particular has much room to improve with its energy sourcing: a 2019 study conducted by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy estimated that Wisconsin annually sends $14.4 billion out of state due to the it’s dependence on out-of-state energy sources. The same study expects that 100% in-state production would directly create an estimated 162,100 net jobs, increase the GDP due to in-state spending and save the state several billion dollars of expenditure due to greater investment in energy efficiency.
“By expanding and speeding up production of cheaper, cleaner energy like wind and solar here in Wisconsin, we can keep our money here at home rather than relying on unpredictable markets often disrupted by foreign leaders and conflicts,” Evers stated.
In addition, the plan includes environmental justice directives meant to address the disproportionate impacts of the energy industry on low-income communities and communities of color. Some of these goals include equitable opportunities for the clean energy jobs and improvement of energy affordability.
Wisconsin Conservation Voters have applauded Evers’ release of the Clean Energy Plan, declaring it “the strongest roadmap to climate justice and clean energy in Wisconsin history.”
“This plan is a much needed step to addressing the climate crisis and creating economic opportunities for the people of Wisconsin,” Wisconsin Conservation Voters Executive Director Kerry Schumann said. “We look forward to working with the governor to build a clean energy future that creates opportunities for everyone in the state.”
The Clean Energy Plan builds on the previous work of the Evers Administration, including the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change. Beyond energy infrastructure, it also rolls out a few subsidiary goals, including modernizing building methods, conserving forests and funding for electric and alternative transportation.
It ultimately incorporated the suggestions of people throughout Wisconsin, including utilities, private industry, frontline communities, Tribal Nations, government partners and academic experts.
“Wisconsin’s economy depends on fresh air, clean water and fruitful land. But it’s more than that — it's part of who we are as a people, from handing down a family farm to teaching the next generation to hunt or fish to showing a loved one a new park or trail,” Evers said. “We must deliver on the promise we made to our kids by leaving them a better life and world than the one we inherited, and this plan will ensure we can deliver on that promise for generations to come.”
Alex Tan is a staff writer for the Daily Cardinal specializing in state politics coverage. Follow him on Twitter at @dxvilsavocado.