WISCONSINREPORT.COM (03/29/08) - Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton announced Clean Energy Wisconsin, the Doyle Administration’s strategy to strengthen Wisconsin’s energy future, in a visit to the Mid-State Technical College campus in Wisconsin Rapids. The comprehensive plan moves Wisconsin forward by promoting renewable energy, creating new jobs, increasing energy security and efficiency, and improving the environment. Governor James Doyle and Lt. Governor Lawton have been working to make Wisconsin a leader in renewable energy since the beginning of their terms in office.
“It is time to recast the challenges of global climate change as opportunities for growth in our economy,” Lawton said. “The green economy will bolster our mainstay manufacturing and agriculture industries, as well as create whole new career fields in renewable energy. And Mid-State Tech saw the opportunity to build the workforce to fill those jobs and plans three new degree programs set to begin this coming fall.”
Mid-State Technical College recently unveiled three new degree programs set to begin instruction this fall to train biorefinery technicians, renewable electricity technicians and renewable thermal energy technicians. The programs await formal approval by the Wisconsin Technical College System Board of Directors.
Lt. Governor Lawton also announced that the Department of Commerce will soon begin taking applications from businesses and researchers for financial assistance from the new Wisconsin Energy Independence Fund. The application period for the first round of funding will run from April 1 to June 2, 2008.
The department expects to award $15 million annually in grants and loans for research and development, commercialization or adoption of new technologies, and supply chain development. Eligible applicants include businesses and researchers. Through the development and deployment of new discoveries and innovations, Wisconsin will use its considerable natural resources and manufacturing expertise to develop new businesses focused on reducing our dependence on foreign oil. This effort will leverage nearly $1 billion in private investment and create new jobs for Wisconsin families on our farms, in our forests, in our research labs and for our manufacturers.
Since coming into office, Governor Doyle and Lt. Governor Lawton have worked to make Wisconsin a leader in renewable energy. In 2007, Governor Doyle created the Office of Energy Independence to promote efforts to reduce dependence on foreign oil and advance renewable energy initiatives. Earlier this year, Lt. Governor Lawton announced her Green Economy Agenda, a series of proposals and programs to seize the opportunities presented in the burgeoning renewable and clean energy industries.
Clean Energy Wisconsin’s goals include: Generating 25 percent of our electricity and 25 percent of the fuels for our cars and trucks from renewable sources by the year 2025; capturing 10 percent of the market share for renewable energy and bioproducts, and utilizing Wisconsin’s tremendous capability for research to become the country’s leader in making alternative energies more affordable and available to all.
Next steps toward reaching a clean energy future will require Wisconsin to make targeted investments, develop new energy supplies, and focus on climate stewardship.
AFFORDABLE, RENEWABLE, AND DIVERSE ENERGY SUPPLY
In 2006, Wisconsin citizens spent $19.5 billion dollars on energy — and costs continue to rise. The cost of petroleum alone is increasing by more than a billion dollars a year. Currently, 3.5 percent of the motor fuel sold in Wisconsin is from renewable sources and an overwhelming 66 percent of the country’s petroleum is imported. There is tremendous potential for Wisconsin to keep energy spending in the state, and in doing so, drive new industry.
Wisconsin currently spends $5.7 billion a year on electricity and much of the fuel is purchased from other states. About 5 percent of Wisconsin electricity is generated from renewable sources, generating $184 million a year for the economy. Producing 25 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources in Wisconsin would generate nearly $1 billion for the Wisconsin economy.
JOB CREATION AND NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
The renewable energy industry is estimated to become a multi-billion industry and Wisconsin has the farms, fields, forest and factories to be a leader in this market. Capturing 10 percent of this market would generate billions each year for our economy and create nearly 20,000 new jobs.
IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT
By emphasizing efficiency and promoting cost-saving alternative fuels, Wisconsin citizens and businesses can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prevent water pollution, and reduce the state’s overall impact on the environment.