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Friday, April 16, 2010

Ag Sec: Wisconsin must be renewable energy leader

From a guest column by Wisconsin Ag Secretary Rod Nilsestuen in The Tomah Journal:

Legislators recently announced a substitute amendment to the Clean Energy Jobs Act that will bring down consumer costs, create more than 16,000 jobs in the state and position Wisconsin to continue its leading role in clean energy production. Through the Clean Energy Jobs Act, we will create clean energy that works for Wisconsin and is made in Wisconsin. Our state does not pump a barrel of oil. We don’t have coal deposits or natural gas. Our energy costs n which amount to one out of every 10 dollars generated in Wisconsin n mean we send about $16 billion a year out of our state to pay for fuel and electricity.

Passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act is an enormous opportunity to reduce our dependence on foreign fuels and make sure Wisconsin doesn’t lose out on this chance to create clean energy jobs to countries like China. The world is moving rapidly in this direction, and Wisconsin is well-positioned to capture a significant share of the growing clean energy market.

Especially when it comes to agriculture.

A key component of the recently announced substitute amendment to the Clean Energy Jobs Act is incentives for the development of small-scale renewable energy projects, with a preference for manure digesters. Under the revised bill, $25 million in grants and loans will now be available per year for four years through an expanded Focus on Energy Program. That is a big step forward for rural Wisconsin.

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