Walker Says He’d Use Marketplace Incentives To Boost Renewables In Wisconsin

Utilities Now Generate 10 Percent Of All Electricity From Renewable Sources

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Utility-scale wind turbines outside of Fond du Lac. Photo: DigiDave (CC-BY).

Gov. Scott Walker says he’d use marketplace incentives instead of a mandate to increase use of renewable energy in Wisconsin.

Supporters of the state’s renewable portfolio standard celebrated when state regulators recently announced that utilities now collectively generate more than 10 percent of Wisconsin’s electricity from renewable sources – meaning power companies were almost two years early in hitting a target set in a 2005 state law.

Walker said that if he’s re-elected this fall, state government would not use what he calls a heavy hand in increasing the use of renewable sources.

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“Through incentives and other methods out there, we could make it more than achievable,” said Walker. “We’ve seen that in other areas – with incentives and encouragement we can get down that path. I don’t know if it’s something where the government needs to play a direct role in terms of upping a mandate, as much as being aggressive.”

Keith Reopelle of the group Clean Wisconsin said more than marketplace incentives may be needed. He believes that the 2005 law, and an earlier version signed by Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, have succeeded in sparking the utilities to act.

“We know that when you have that policy in place so that utilities have certainty about what is being required and what their goals are, that absolutely helps to develop those resources in a more efficient, orderly, and consistent way,” said Reopelle.

Reopelle encouraged Walker to convene a group made up of diverse interests to talk about the next phase of renewable energy in Wisconsin, and aim to generate percent of electricity from renewable sources.

Editor’s Note: Mary Burke, the Democratic candidate for governor, was not available to answer questions about her own ideas regarding renewable energy.

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