Evers releases new plan to expand clean energy in Wisconsin

By: - April 19, 2022 1:27 pm
A construction worker on the job laying solar panels on a house

Lew Robertson | Getty Images

A new state plan issued Tuesday proposes expanding state incentives to use clean energy, funding more projects for generating energy from renewable sources, encouraging more energy efficiency, modernizing buildings and supporting greater use of electric vehicles and other forms of clean transportation.

The State of Wisconsin Clean Energy Plan was developed by the Office of Sustainability & Clean Energy, an agency established in 2019 by an executive order from Gov. Tony Evers. It is also based in part on the work of a climate change task force that Evers established early in his term.

The plan’s goals include lowering energy and fuel costs and developing more energy production within the state. It seeks “to change the adverse trajectory of the effects of a changing climate,” Evers’ office stated in announcing the plan Tuesday.

The governor’s office said the plan would create more than 40,000 jobs by 2030 while also supporting job training and apprenticeship programs for innovative energy-related industries and technologies. It calls for a Clean Energy Workforce Advisory Council, for ensuring that workers and communities displaced by the transition from current energy sources get support, and making it a priority that new jobs created provide adequate wages and strong worker rights.

The plan includes a promise to “put equity first” in the shift to a clean energy economy, and says that requires “ensuring that the economic, health, environmental, and security benefits of clean energy accrue to communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.” Those include low-income communities and communities of color, according to the plan.

The plan’s first phase will include efforts to speed up the adoption of clean energy technologies. That will include expanding clean-energy incentives in the state’s Focus on Energy programs and supporting projects such as community solar development, funded through state and federal resources.

It also calls for increasing energy efficiency, setting new standards and encouraging energy efficiency projects in agriculture, schools, commercial and industrial settings and helping low-income Wisconsin residents adopt energy efficiency measures as well. A variety of modernization tactics for buildings and industry as well as support for more infrastructure to charge electric vehicles are also included.

The environmental group Clean Wisconsin, which was among the organizations advising the development of the plan, called the resulting document “a roadmap that will drive the transition to clean, efficient energy in our state, starting immediately and accelerating into the future.”


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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.