Democrats Propose New Renewable Energy Requirements For Utilities

'Wisconsin Renewable Energy Act' Would Require Utilities To Produce 30 Percent Of Power From Renewable Sources By 2030

The new bill would encourage more energy production from sources like wind turbines. Photo: German Borillo (CC-BY-SA)

Some Democratic state lawmakers are introducing a bill that would require utilities to produce 30 percent of their power from renewable sources by the year 2030.

The “Wisconsin Renewable Energy Act” would require power companies to use more solar, wind, and bio-fuels.

Its sponsors say Wisconsin spends $12 billion every year on energy that comes from out of state. Supporters include Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point, who said the proposal doubles the Renewable Resources Credit if the green power is produced in Wisconsin. She said that will create jobs.

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“Wisconsin has the second-highest electric rates in the Midwest, while our neighbors have lower cost of energy but stronger renewable portfolio standards,” said Shankland. “This bill will put Wisconsin on track to lower the cost of energy and help ratepayers while increasing Wisconsin’s energy reliability and independence.”

Shankland says utilities in Minnesota and Illinois are on track to meet or exceed goals of producing 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025.

Wisconsin’s current goal is to produce 10 percent from green sources by next year.

“The fact that we are confronting the retirement of some of our oldest and dirtiest generation plants … it would really behoove the state to have a long range energy policy, which we currently do not have,” said Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) opposes the act, calling it a “rehash” of a proposal from former Democratic governor Jim Doyle. WMC says the act will drive up utility costs and kill jobs.