Clean Energy Jobs Act needed to strengthen commitment

MADISON — The Wisconsin State Senate passed Senate Bill 273 today, a bill that rolls back Wisconsin’s commitment to renewable energy by expanding what qualifies as the “renewable energy” utilities must produce to meet Wisconsin’s renewable electricity standard.

“The passage of Senate Bill 273 represents a significant step backward for clean energy policy in Wisconsin,” said Ryan Schryver, clean energy advocate at Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “Wisconsin voters want more clean energy, not less. Our legislators should be focusing on increasing our commitment to renewable energy by passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act, not weakening our existing commitment by expanding the definition of renewable energy to include garbage.”

In 2005, the bipartisan passage of Act 141 set a commitment to produce 10 percent of Wisconsin’s electricity from renewable sources by 2015. Senate Bill 273 expands the definition of renewable energy to include energy produced from sources such as garbage. In doing so, the bill reduces the amount of power that must come from wind, solar, and other clean, renewable sources.

“By expanding the definition of renewable energy, Senate Bill 273 effectively weakens Wisconsin’s current commitment to clean, renewable energy,” said Schryver.

The vote on SB 273 falls on the same day that the Assembly Committee on Clean Energy Jobs passed the Clean Energy Jobs Act by a 6-3 margin. The Clean Energy Jobs Act would increase the state’s commitment to renewable energy production by increasing our renewable electricity standard from the current 10 percent by 2015 to 25 percent by 2025.

“The passage of Senate Bill 273 makes passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act more important than ever,” said Schryver. “We hope that legislators will side with Wisconsin voters and help strengthen our commitment to renewable energy by passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act.”