August 2018 Director’s Note

The world surpassed the 1 terawatt (TW) wind and solar capacity milestone late June 2018 with 54 percent wind and 46 percent solar according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report. The first TW is estimated to have cost $2.3 trillion and took 40 years, but the second trillion watts is estimated to be installed in the next 5 years at a cost of $1.23 trillion.

In the US, corporations set a renewable energy record in the first half of 2018 with 3.57 gigawatts of new wind and solar projects tabulated Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center. A new study by GTM Research found that the US community solar opportunity alone could equate to $120 billion growing to 57-84 gigawatts by 2030.

As this month’s Energy On Wisconsin news articles demonstrate, corporations, organizations, utilities and cities are increasingly investing in clean energy. For example, in the US, the 30 largest cities now host 41 percent green certified office space with Chicago leading at 70 percent, according to the U.S. Green Building Adoption Index. The result is that good paying clean energy jobs are growing.

In the 12 Midwestern states, 723,000 workers are employed in the clean energy sector with more than 75,000 of those jobs in Wisconsin according to the 2018 Clean Jobs Midwest report. That is as many Wisconsin jobs as in the farming, fishing, forestry and health care support sectors combined. The clean energy economy is rapidly expanding globally and, with supporting state and local policy and financing, could provide an exceptional path to economic, environmental, and community sustainability in Wisconsin.

Sherrie Gruder