While state agencies have recently removed climate change information from their websites, Wisconsin has a long history of being a leader on climate and clean energy research, including by scientists working for government agencies and public universities.
Indiana legislators have introduced a bill that many fear could kill the state’s solar industry by ending net metering and also essentially preventing people from using the energy from their own solar panels.
“Self-implementing” regulations over coal ash impoundments raise concerns and questions in Illinois, where multiple storage sites are potentially hazardous.
“The Midwest is a pretty good place for us to get things done” despite concerns about the new president, says Howard Learner, director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center.
Wisconsin has stood out nationwide for state officials’ hostility toward solar and other renewable energy sources, but there are also numerous bright spots in Wisconsin’s clean energy landscape, including leadership by rural electric cooperatives in renewable development.
Smart “learning thermostats” can help reduce energy use and bills while increasing ratepayers’ comfort during harsh winter months.
Of the many provisions of the massive energy bill signed by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, one that would have helped further fund advanced grid technology in the state didn’t make the cut.
Despite President-elect Donald Trump’s outspoken denial of climate science being reflected not just though his words but his appointments, there is growing sentiment that the country’s energy future will be decided largely at the state level and by markets, relatively independent of Trump’s positions.
Clean energy advocates are upset that Wisconsin regulators want to use funds from the Focus on Energy program — meant for energy efficiency and renewables — to address the state’s broadband internet crisis.
New Illinois energy legislation was a product of negotiation and compromise, but many details still have to be worked out.