Wisconsin’s Green Fire says the state is failing to keep pace with changes in energy technology.
It’s not only behind several state in the Midwest, but the Midwest as a whole is behind the east and west coast.
“It’s not too late to catch up. Obviously though, I think the sooner that we get into these new energy management and new energy policies, the faster we’ll modernize and catch up,” said Gary Radloff, co-chair of the energy policy committee for Wisconsin’s Green Fire.
The conservation group recently released its “Opportunities Now” report that dives into the issues faces Wisconsin’s current energy plan and policies it’d like to see go into place to fix it.
Radloff says one of the biggest challenges Wisconsin and many states face is what he calls an antiquated energy system or energy operation.
“The system overall has a lot of inefficiencies. Because one, it was built big. Two, over the course of generating energy and getting that to your home, a lot of energy is lost particularly as heat. It also just encourages over building and really using more energy maybe than people need,” said Radloff.
Green Fire lays out several plans for how it would like to see the state reform its energy policy.
It says the cost of clean energy have decline significantly in recent years and that the state should start to transition to more renewable resources. But most of what it’s calling for is an overhaul of state policy’s regarding energy.
It would like to see Wisconsin establish greater energy efficiency standards for utilities to better control demand and reduce carbon emissions, adopt utility performance-based ratemaking, and empower local governments.
Radloff would love to see the public get more involved in these decision-making policies.
“Right now, the energy world is not very inviting to public participation. It’s a very technical area. It tends to often require that you have an attorney to represent you in front of the commission. And that just isn’t right. This is a public entity. It is for the people. So therefore, I think you just need to get the public more involved on commission decision making and activity,” said Radloff.
Radloff says some of the things laid out in the plan will take years to put into place, but there is a lot that can be done now.
“It’s a combination of a commitment by the state, and by the state that probably means the public service commission, and possibly legislative action or the Governor’s budget action,” said Radloff. “You say you’re going to make a commitment to these changes and then you would start to put in the policy and the budge actions to make them happen.”
You can view the entire report on the Wisconsin’s Green Fire website.