Walker has decided to go with the old standby, fossil fuels. Stunning:
Cap Times-Mike Ivey: A new report from a California group shows the state continuing to lag behind its Midwest neighbors in development of clean energy, such as wind and solar power. Wisconsin did move up to two places in the index to 19th ... But all states adjacent to Wisconsin ranked better, with Minnesota and Illinois both landing in the top 10.
The Clean Tech Leadership Index also shows Wisconsin trailing in areas like energy-efficient buildings, use of alternative-fuel vehicles and clean energy venture capital.
“It’s too bad,” says Keith Reopelle, energy policy director at Clean Wisconsin. “There are lots of policymakers in positions of power who are missing out on the opportunity to grow the state’s clean energy sector, which is making people in other places a lot of money.”
If moving in the opposite direction is the “right direction” for Walker, than we’re screwed. The following is an amazingly disconnected and backward record of mistakes:
Rates have soared in part because of the costs of building new coal-fired power plants and constructing high-voltage transmission lines to move the electricity, in part, to markets in Illinois and points east. The reliance on fossil fuels in Wisconsin is largely an economic drag since the state has no oil, coal or natural gas reserves of its own. The state spends an estimated $12 billion annually to import fuel to generate electricity and power its vehicles.
In a move that seems to defy logic, the Legislature’s budget committee has directed another $8 million each year away from weatherization programs to a program that helps low-income residents pay their utility bills … the weatherization (is) particularly ironic since the constant drumbeat from the Walker administration and Republicans has been about ending handouts to low-income residents in the state. “You talk about making people more self-sufficient but then you cut a program to help people get their energy bills under control.”
Walker’s first budget in 2011 eliminated the state Office of Energy Independence, which worked to reduce the state's annual energy bill. He also nixed a directive for the state to reduce its gasoline use, stopped a program for hybrid-electric or alternative-fuel state-owned vehicles, and ended a requirement that the state consider energy use in the purchase of new appliances, lighting or heating systems costing under $5,000. Walker also killed plans for using biomass as a fuel at the new UW-Madison power plant.