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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

State stumbles toward 2025 energy goal

From an article by Paul Snyder in The Daily Reporter:

Wisconsin still has 16 years to meet its 2025 alternative energy development goals, yet business and utility groups say the state had better pick up the pace.

Charlie Higley, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin, said the state is producing less than 5 percent of its energy from renewable resources.

“Wisconsin is still losing out big to places like Iowa when it comes to wind power manufacturers,” he said. “And I think there’s still focusing to do when it comes to (establishing a direction for) energy independence.”

The state charted its course toward independence last year when it adopted the Clean Energy Wisconsin report, which set 2025 as the year by which the state derives 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Yet local and state governments remain at an impasse over control of wind farm placement, and, after a fast start, ethanol and biomass plant development slowed to a crawl in the last year.

“Yes, we’re behind, and yes, it’s disappointing,” said state Rep. Phil Garthwaite, the Dickeyville Democrat who serves on the Assembly Committee on Renewable Energy and Rural Affairs. “You’d like to be further along, and 16 years seems short. But I think there’s still a lot of work we can do. It’s just going to be a longer process due to economics and public psychology.”

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