Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes gave the keynote address at Powering Local Leadership: A Summit on Energy and Resilience in Appleton on January 24th. His message was one of leadership and commitment to clean energy and of addressing climate change for Wisconsin. It included the following points (though delivered in an engaging style):
Wisconsin used to be a national leader in clean energy, and we can be a leader again. Economic development and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive. We have no coal or oil here, sending $15 billion annually out of state for energy from fossil fuels, while Wisconsin clean energy companies have had to do business outside of the state. It’s time to change that trend. Currently, we generate only 10% of our energy from renewable sources; and, as a result, we’re missing out on the high job growth in wind, solar, and energy innovation occurring across the country. We have to do much better for the longevity and sustainability of our state and future generations.
The opportunities are abundant for job growth in clean energy and to address the health impacts (such as high asthma rates and respiratory illness) on our children and vulnerable populations. Now there is the political will and leadership; yet, to be successful will require many partnerships with local governments, scientists, businesses, utilities, and others. Lieutenant Governor Barnes is proud to take the lead for the Evers administration on this work of equity and sustainability to promote a clean energy economy and energy independence in Wisconsin.