How would a national renewable electricity standard (RES) affect Wisconsin?

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: General |

An analysis by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) begins with a list of benefits:

• Create Jobs and Investment: An RES will spur growth in Wisconsin’s wind manufacturing industry, which would supply in-state and out-of-state wind farms. An RES will also support operations and construction jobs.
• Lower Consumer Electricity Rates: The costs of an RES would be more than offset by the resulting lower prices for natural gas, saving consumers money and protecting them from cost spikes. The cost of homegrown wind is stable, and the fuel is free.
• Reduce Emissions: A national RES is a powerful tool in immediately reducing emissions cost-effectively. Implementing an RES in Wisconsin could reduce the state’s emissions of greenhouse gases by up to 20 percent
• Enhance Energy Security: Renewable resources are plentiful and widely available domestically, reducing our reliance on volatile fuel markets.

How Much Wind Power Could Wisconsin Develop to Meet a National RES? In 2008, Wisconsin had one of the fastest growth rates for wind installations in the country, increasing its installation from 53 megawatts (MW) to around 395 MW, with enormous potential to grow further. Current estimates show that Wisconsin has enormous wind resources both on and off-shore.
• To meet a 15 percent RES through wind energy alone, Wisconsin would need to install just 3,400 MW, powering nearly one million homes and offsetting around 6.5 million tons of CO2.
• To meet a 25 percent RES through wind energy alone, Wisconsin would need to install 5,750 MW, powering the equivalent of over 1.6 million homes and offsetting around 11 million tons of CO2.

Wisconsin has good onshore wind resources and excellent offshore resources. With a combination of onshore and offshore wind power, Wisconsin could not only provide enough plentiful, clean, in-state power to meet any national RES, but could export windpower to other states as well.

What Are the Economic Benefits of 5,750 MW of Wind Power in Wisconsin? Developing 5,750 MW of Wisconsin’s wind energy would provide numerous economic benefits, including:
• Operations and management jobs (around 600)
• Yearly construction jobs (around 350 per year)
• Growth and investment in the manufacturing sector
• Significant lease payments to land owners (over $17 million per


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