February 9, 2010
What is the “Clean Energy Jobs Act”?
During the State of the State address, Governor Doyle championed legislation called the “Clean Energy Jobs Act” that would increase the state’s renewable energy portfolio to 25% by 2025. Democratic leaders are now pushing legislation that could affect energy prices, alter our jobs landscape, and put Wisconsin as either a leader or on an island, depending on your perspective, for environmental regulations.
In April 2007, Governor Doyle formed a group of business, industry, energy, and environmental interests to create a Task Force on Global Warming. This Task Force has put forward the Clean Energy Jobs Act now before the State Legislature. Wisconsin is not alone in its legislative pursuit to take on global warming, as California enacted similar legislation years ago.
Wisconsin’s economy is rooted in two sectors, agriculture and manufacturing; with energy inputs being a primary cost for both industries. A state mandate to acquire 25% of energy from renewable resources could drive up costs for already struggling businesses. Some estimates are that as many as 43,000 jobs statewide could be put at risk, while electric customers may absorb as much as $16 billion in higher rates as acquiring energy from unconventional resources can be more expensive. Vehicle emission standards would be similar to those seen in California.
Advocates of the legislation state that energy innovation could transform Wisconsin’s economy while benefiting the environment. Energy buyback rates could stimulate growth of smaller-scale renewable energy resources and create as much as 1.4 million in work-hours to improve energy efficiency. The Governor has also estimated 15,000 green jobs created from the generation of the energy sources. Supporters believe that a strong economic future lies in the sustainability of energy efficiency, green jobs, and a transformed state economy.
A bill seeking to change our state’s energy composition in this fashion would surely impact families, jobs, and employers. You can learn more about the legislation, Senate Bill 450 and Assembly Bill 649, online at my website www.harsdorfsenate . Your feedback and input are welcomed.