Sunday, July 7, 2019

Urban solar blocked by We Energies, Walker's PSC holdovers

Mired in widespread, GOP/donor-driven mediocrity, Wisconsin ranks 41st among the states in solar power production.

Solar power is fast-growing nationwide - - as are the jobs that come with cleaner air - - but the private sector monopoly protected by Walker's holdover appointees to the Public Service [sic] Commission - - one of whom gets an extra six years on the Commission thanks to lame-duck appointments rubber-stamped by the pro-Walker State Supreme Court - - prefers that Milwaukee customers keep feeding We Energies' bottom line.

Solar flare-up: Utility blocks Iowa firm from harnessing the sun in Milwaukee
I've taken note of these obstacles in the context of progressive Minnesota. 
Compare these two stories on back-to-back from neighboring Upper Midwestern states:


Minnesota set to see second consecutive year of strong solar energy growth
Minnesota is set for a second consecutive year of strong growth for solar energy, anchored by a 23 percent increase in the size of the state’s community solar garden program. 
Developers in the state also are on track to add at least four larger “utility scale” solar arrays in coming years. Each would be bigger than the state’s largest existing solar development near North Branch, which provides power to Xcel Energy. 
Lack of clarity on state law could hinder solar projects, and limit competition
For several months now, solar panels and other equipment have been sitting in a warehouse owned by the City of Milwaukee. 
The idea was to add solar power to seven city buildings, saving money while moving a step closer toward meeting the city's long-term environmental goals. 
The project, set to begin last fall, was put on hold after We Energies refused to connect it to the utility's system, contending that the project is illegal under state law.
And, yes, we've seen these contrasts before, whether related to climate change. or economic growth, or health care costs, outcomes and accessibility.

Walker's hostility to alternative energy and other benefits to the environment are catalogued  by the dozens, here, and in a recently-concludes blog series, here - - despite his propagandizing 'our legacy.'

The right in WI keeps finding ways to minimize solar panels in Milwaukee. These are in California.

1 comment:

BillSell said...

On a smaller scale, We Energies has proved its reactionary mettle by fighting the streetcar. Where the city wanted to build (and did) an electricity alternative to downtown mobility, We Energies (in the persona of its CEO) fought that move all the way to the PSC, and Wisconsin "supreme" court, winning both.

I often imagined that capitalism means you have something to sell, and you do that by competing on price and service. We Energies seems to have more than enough backwards now so that it no longer is a legitimate member of The Market. It is a drone for the right wing and will have its due.