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September 28, 2022

9/1/2022 1:40:00 PM
Keeping The Lights On May Depend On Your Vote

Dear Editor;
There has been a lot of opposition to the construction of the Cardinal Hickory-Creek (CHC) high voltage transmission line and to the proposed gigantic Uplands installation which would place as many as 172, 650 foot high wind turbines, spread over areas of Iowa and Lafayette counties. The opponents' arguments boil down to this: Yes, we need to replace fossil fuels with renewable sources like solar and wind. But unless we also replace the outdated model of generating electricity in large central plants and delivering it over long distances, we will not realize the benefits of renewable energy, namely environmental protection, lower costs, and reliability.
Acres of farmland and large parts of the unique Driftless Area between Dubuque, Iowa and Middleton, Wisconsin, are being cleared for the CHC transmission line. Once built, it will likely attract more wind turbine installations, like the Uplands project, and huge solar farms, further industrializing rural Wisconsin. So much for protecting the environment (not to mention the health problems experienced by people living near high voltage lines and wind turbines). And lower utility bills? The high cost of constructing industrial scale solar and wind installations and transmission lines like CHC could result in higher not lower utility bills. (Incidentally, since Wisconsin does not need the electricity to be carried by the CHC line, utility customers will, in effect, be paying over 350 million dollars to provide a highway for utility companies to ship their product through Wisconsin to other states.) As for reliability, high voltage lines are vulnerable to fires, storms and hacking (now that we have provoked Russia, it is possible for them to hack into these centralized systems and cause massive blackouts throughout the U.S).
Local generation and distribution is the model we need to follow to realize the benefits of renewable energy. Imagine if instead of building a 30 acre solar array in the countryside, the equivalent number of solar panels were used to install solar on thousands of homes, producing reliable electricity to be consumed where it is generated, avoiding further degrading the environment. Or imagine small scale solar installations built over parking lots and delivering electricity to nearby neighborhoods. This model is not only good for the environment, but also for the local economy. It creates good paying jobs for people in the community who would be building and servicing the residential and small scale installations.
However, for this this new model to work it must be embodied in the laws and policies governing the generation and distribution of energy in Wisconsin. Which brings us to the November elections. What energy future does each candidate envision? What is each candidate prepared to do to bring it about? Better find out before you vote.

Allen Pincus
Town of Brigham, WI





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