A new report says that with aggressive action across all of Wisconsin’s sectors, net-zero emissions could be possible by 2050. The Achieving 100% Clean Energy in Wisconsin Report was produced by Clean Wisconsin and RENEW Wisconsin, with assistance from GridLab and Evolved Energy Research. It uses energy and economic modeling to show different pathways the state can use to reach net-zero emissions. The path to a net-zero economy does come with a sizable price tag. It would also require strong supporting policy. The report shows that transitioning to 100% clean electricity while eliminating carbon emissions from the building, transportation and industrial sectors is the most cost-effective path for Wisconsin. The estimated cost for this clean electricity transition is estimated to cost $3 billion by 2050. Costs include demand side equipment, supply side equipment and energy system operating costs. Examples of demand side equipment include electric vehicles and heat pumps. Additional spending in this category is due to assumed adoption of electrified and efficient technologies by customers and businesses “We talk about building a better world for our kids and grandkids, and this is it,” said Mark Redsten, president and CEO of Clean Wisconsin. “This model shows us the future we can have in Wisconsin if we are willing to do the hard work that gets us there—more jobs, healthier communities, finally making progress in the fight against climate change. It’s not a fantasy. The pathway to that future is right here, and it leads us to a healthier, more prosperous Wisconsin.” The clean energy report was finalized before the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), new federal legislation that includes over $300 billion worth of clean energy tax credits, manufacturing incentives, and other appropriations intended to accelerate the clean energy transition. There would be several benefits to reaching a net-zero economy, according to the report. The state would avoid between $2 billion and $4 billion in health care costs in 2050 and gross state product is estimated to grow by approximately 3%, adding around $16 billion to Wisconsin’s economy and 68,000 jobs. The report estimates the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be around 122 million metric tons by 2050. “Our zero-carbon study provides a comprehensive roadmap for Wisconsin, which is great news for our clean energy future,” said Andrew Kell, policy analyst at RENEW Wisconsin. “The results of these reports outline a dramatic transition to a clean energy economy leading to demonstrable economic, health, and job benefits for Wisconsinites. With proper planning and policies in place, Wisconsin can follow this roadmap and reap the benefits of a zero-carbon future. This is just the start of a dialog on how Wisconsin can get to zero carbon emissions by 2050."
Holiday flash sale! Subscribe to BizTimes and save nearly 40%!