Clean Energy Jobs Act will create jobs, save money

MADISON — As Copenhagen comes to a close and Congress heads into winter recess, it is more apparent than ever that if Wisconsin wants to preserve its economic future, we must take matters into its own hands.

Last week, draft legislation, called the Clean Energy Jobs Act, was released based on recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming, which convened in July 2008. Taken together, the 25 recommendations included in the bill will save state residents and businesses hard-earned dollars on their utility bills while creating new, family-supporting clean energy jobs in Wisconsin, for Wisconsin.

“Regardless of happens in Copenhagen or with the federal clean energy bill, the state’s Clean Energy Jobs Act is good for Wisconsin,” said Keith Reopelle, senior policy director, Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “It will create thousands of clean energy jobs at the same time that it lowers energy bills for homeowners and businesses and cuts greenhouse emissions.”

According to modeling by the Technical Advisory Group to the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming and Department of Energy statistics, once fully implemented, the recommendations in the bill will save homeowners, businesses and industries $10, $50 and $1,000, respectively, on their electric bills each month.

These numbers are the result of rigorous modeling, which is significant, given a biased analysis of the Task Force’s recommendations issued by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) in November. Thad Nation, executive director of CREWE (Clean Responsible Energy for Wisconsin’s Economy) a coalition of diverse business interests formed to advocate meaningful change in state energy policies, noted Wednesday, “The WPRI report is so wildly flawed that is has no place in any legislative debate on the Task Force recommendations. Not only does the report analyze many policies that aren’t even in the Clean Energy Jobs Act, but it takes a piecemeal approach, failing to analyze the cumulative effect the policies will have on our state.”

Wisconsin is ahead of much of the nation and the world by already having these policies on the table. Blatantly biased, the WPRI study undermines the hard work of the Task Force, which has brought Wisconsin to its current competitive edge.

“Investments to fuel the clean energytransition are exactly what Wisconsin needs to revitalize its manufacturing sector by creating new clean energy jobs and lowering energy bills,” said Reopelle. “If we don’t adopt policies that create more demand for clean energy, the manufacturing and construction jobs will go to California and China instead of Wisconsin and the rest of the Midwest.”