Clean energy grows green jobs in state

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

From a commentary by State Rep. Fred Clark (Baraboo, 42nd Assembly District) in the Baraboo News Republic:

While the housing market begins what will likely be a long, slow, recovery, homeowners looking to make investments in energy efficiency are providing one of the few bright spots for local contractors.

On January 30, for example, an array of area businesses will fill the basement of the West Square Building during Sustain Sauk County’s "Home Energy Savings Workshop" to meet residents looking to improve their homes and save money on energy bills in the long-term.

Meanwhile, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (AB-649), introduced last month in the legislature, promises to help boost opportunities for Sauk County workers learning new skills in home weatherization and efficiency, or starting new businesses to meet the emerging demand for solar energy systems and other renewable technologies.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act follows the recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change, including setting a statewide goal of "25 by ’25." That is, 25% of Wisconsin’s energy should come from renewable resources like wind, solar, and bio-fuels by the year 2025.

AB-649 is one of the largest pieces of stand-alone legislation the legislature will consider this year, and as you might expect, almost everyone can find something they like — or something they dislike — about it. For example, opposition is likely to be strong to a relaxation of the rules governing construction of nuclear power plants in Wisconsin. I support opening a door (or at least a window) to new nuclear power, in part because every credible report I have seen suggests we cannot meet our goals for reduction of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions without nuclear power as part of that mix.