June/July 2016 DIRECTOR’S NOTE

Even as the State of Wisconsin stands still on clean energy planning and policy awaiting the federal court decision on the Clean Power Plan, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects are being installed and new financing approaches rolled out. Creative initiatives are being undertaken by collaborating communities, businesses, tribes, schools, faith based organizations, NGOs, electric cooperatives and some investor owned utilities as reported on in Energy On Wisconsin news. Yet, Wisconsin ranks 29th nationally in clean tech activity according to the US Clean Tech Leadership Index. The unrealized job growth reflected in that standing is worth reflecting on.

Employment in solar business alone grew twelve times faster than overall job creation in the US last year, surpassing jobs in oil, coal and natural gas extraction for the first time. The US is in the top three countries for renewable energy jobs globally, investing $56 billion in clean energy in 2015 (Sustainable Energy Factbook infographic). While Wisconsin has nearly 25,000 clean energy jobs, according to Clean Jobs Midwest “…the state has the smallest clean energy workforce in the region as a percentage of the state’s workforce”.  State clean energy policy and programs are of equal import as federal policy in advancing clean energy (Bloomberg New Energy Finance). Neighboring Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois with enabling legislation have more than double Wisconsin’s clean energy workforce. Wisconsin could grow clean energy jobs substantially with effective State energy policy and codes. The motivated marketplace and industry sector is here. 

Sherrie Gruder