As wind and solar power become more cost-effective, there will continue to be additional renewable energy projects being developed and built in Wisconsin. While the environmental and public health benefits of renewable energy are well known, Wisconsin utilities and cooperatives are now seeking to purchase more solar and wind power on economics alone.
Clean energy from wind and solar is cheaper for their customers than electricity generated from coal. Many of the most expensive coal plants in Wisconsin will be closed in the next decade, including Columbia Energy Center near Portage, South Oak Creek near Milwaukee and Edgewater Coal Plant in Sheboygan.
Wisconsin utilities such as Alliant Energy, Madison Gas & Electric, Xcel, We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service Corp. have announced plans to purchase or develop 1,913 megawatts of solar, 92 megawatts of wind and 350 megawatts of battery storage in the last year alone.
Wind and solar projects create hundreds of jobs, help farmers stay in business with land lease payments, and provide significant revenue for local and county governments. The economic benefits of these projects are enormous and can provide rural communities with strong, diversified job growth and business activity for decades.
Wisconsin stands to gain tremendously as the transition to renewable energy occurs. We should be supporting these projects here in Wisconsin so Wisconsinites can benefit from harnessing wind and solar power instead of spending money on imported energy from other countries or other states. Wisconsin can be a leader in renewable energy.