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More clean energy to come to Wisconsin through American Jobs Plan

Solar Panels
Posted at 11:45 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 09:46:47-04

GREEN BAY (NBC26) — President Joe Biden recently unveiled the second part of his Build Back Better agenda, the American Jobs Plan. The Need for Action in Wisconsin fact sheet lays out information on how the $2.7 trillion proposal would directly impact our state.

The average low-income family spends around six to eight percent of their income on home energy costs, according to the AJP. The proposal is to upgrade low-income homes to make them more energy efficient through a historic investment in the Weatherization Assistance Program, a new Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator to finance building improvements, and expanded tax credits to support home energy upgrades.

Jesse Michalski, project manager at Eland Electric, says local energy companies might have a tough time meeting the demand.

"We’re going to be busy," he said. “People are retiring from the construction trades faster than people are coming into the trades. We’re going to have a hard time staffing the work.”

Currently, a home solar system can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000, said Michalski. That's about a 13-year payback, which isn't appealing to many homeowners.

“Younger generations and even current generations of homeowners really don’t plan on sticking around their homes for very long," he said.

The AJP also includes tapping into Wisconsin’s potential for innovative energy technologies, like carbon capture and geothermal energy. Wisconsin Public Service is already on track to reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030, with new wind and solar farms and battery centers, as part of the company's ESG Progress Plan, a five-year plan announced last November that would add $2 billion in new renewable energy facilities in Wisconsin.

“It’s an aggressive plan to cut emissions, improve our environmental footprint and deliver significant savings to our customers and maintain superior reliability," said Matt Cullen, spokesman for WPS.

Aside from making renewable sources more affordable, the AJP means more individuals can become energy self-sufficient, said Michalski.

“Even if you don’t believe in climate change, there’s nothing wrong with minimizing carbon pollution," he said. "You don’t have to believe in climate change to still try to do something good for the environment.“