|3/2/2021 2:25:00 PM|
Clean energy has its benefits
I have been and will always be a huge champion of clean energy. Not only does it allow us to wean ourselves off polluting fossil fuels, but, if done right, it can have so many local economic benefits, such as job creation and grid resiliency. I have spent the last thirteen years of my career studying and promoting solar technologies and, when best practices are in play, have witnessed many positive project outcomes. No doubt, enormous amounts of renewable energy will be needed to decarbonize our grid and allow us to decommission coal and gas plants. No doubt, energy efficiency will be vital to reducing emissions in the runaway building sector. No doubt, we will need to electrify everything, including transportation and home heating. This is an incredibly daunting task - especially given the timeline.
In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (https://www.ipcc.ch/), the world's top authority on climate, gave governments around the world a mere 11 years to develop a plan (and start implementing that plan) so that we could reach net zero emissions by 2050 and avoid catastrophic climate change. For all of us, this should be the only goal that matters. We now have 8 years.
It took us decades to get to a point where most Americans and politicians understood the basic science and risks that climate change poses and know an energy transition is required. But with an unsupportive State legislature and an understandably eager new Administration, we are at a very fragile place in our country's history. Will there be a federal, state, or local plan for addressing climate? When and in what order? And when/how will the people be consulted? The rhetoric from governments, utilities, and industry has long focused on collaboration, building local wealth, and creating social equity. They love to say this is happening, but nobody has asked us how we see ourselves fitting in. I suppose that is because there is no plan.
When Wisconsin state law fails to protect residents by requiring public input and education and wind and solar developers fail to take this on themselves, people become disenfranchised and disillusioned about renewable energy. Given what's at stake, we cannot afford that! Residents should call their elected representatives and let them know that a plan is needed before it is too late. And county and local governments should put pressure on the state legislature to place a strict stop-work moratorium on any new energy projects until a state plan or federal mandate, that includes and considers the will of the people, is adopted. Everyone is responsible and we must do this quickly. The time for "passing the buck" is over.
Article Comment Submission Form