On Aug. 16, Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order on clean energy, establishing a goal for Wisconsin electricity consumption to be carbon-free by 2050, among other initiatives. Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq, and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Preston Cole joined the governor at the executive order signing.
The executive order directs the Department of Administration to create an Office of Sustainability & Clean Energy. (The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee had previously removed a provision in Gov. Evers’s state budget recommendations establishing this office.) The Office of Sustainability & Clean Energy is charged with:
- Setting a goal that all electricity consumed within Wisconsin is 100 percent carbon-free by 2050.
- Developing a clean energy plan to adapt to and mitigate the harm from climate change and coordinating that plan with state agencies including PSC and DNR.
- Promoting clean energy workforce training.
- Fostering research and business development within the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.
- Developing energy efficiency and renewable energy standards for state facilities and state office buildings.
Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin), chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities, in response said, “Since the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow, it is irresponsible to mandate total carbon free generated electricity when there is not technology currently available to sustain a power grid 24/7 using intermittent generation.”
The executive order comes after Gov. Evers joined the U.S. Climate Alliance in February. Members of the Alliance aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.