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State must make clean energy a priority

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YVETTE SCHUTT
June 10, 2011
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is among commentaries written by students in the Washington Seminar program at Janesville Parker High School. The seminar is for students in the advanced placement U.S. government course taught by Joe Van Rooy.

In March, Gov. Scott Walker’s administration expressed renewable energy as a low priority. However, clean energy has never been more important.


With the increasing volatility of energy prices and the rising awareness of fossil fuels’ negative environmental impact, renewable energy should not be pushed aside but brought to the forefront of our state’s agenda.


One of the biggest concerns about renewable energy is its higher cost; however, renewables are not necessarily more expensive than fossil fuels. The costs of fossil fuels are spread out, from transportation, to the burning of the fuel, to the disposal of its waste. Of course, there are also environmental costs that we might not pay now but will burden future generations. In contrast, renewable energy expenses are concentrated in start-up costs. Once a renewable resource plant or wind farm is established, costs are fewer and pollution is less than that of a coal-burning plant.


Other benefits of renewable energy exist, as well. Clean energy has a lot of potential to create jobs and boost the economy in Wisconsin. The many shuttered factories throughout Wisconsin could be transitioned to creating renewable energy technology. Already companies in our state are manufacturing wind turbine parts; many other factories could provide thousands of jobs by manufacturing other green technology.


“A major investment on the national level in renewable energy has the potential to create nearly 70,000 jobs in Wisconsin in the manufacturing sector,” says Katy Walter of Clean Wisconsin. Jobs installing this technology would also increase, and these jobs would be very difficult to outsource.


Despite the various benefits of renewable energy, our current administration refuses to prioritize clean-energy policies. This shortsightedness must end soon, before every citizen of Wisconsin faces insurmountable energy costs and distressing environmental damage.



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