OK, so we have been beating the drums for a while about a national Renewable Electricity Standard–talking about how it will save consumers money, create jobs, and help build a clean renewable energy industry in the U.S. Who cares? We're the wind industry, and wind is renewable, so obviously we think it's a good idea.
Now comes the Chair of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PCSW), the regulatory agency that oversees that state's utility industry, and guess what? He thinks the same thing.
Chairman Eric Callisto's letter on the effects of a renewable electricity standard responds to a request from three legislators. The three asked for “a Commission analysis of the expected costs to utilities and ratepayers of meeting a 25% by 2025 Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) as proposed in the Clean Energy Jobs Act.”
Comments Chairman Callisto, “As I have testified to both the Assembly and Senate Select Committees, the electric utility sector policies in the proposed legislation – namely, the enhanced RPS and energy efficiency provisions – represent sound energy policy for Wisconsin. The Commission's analysis shows that if we continue with business as usual, if we decide to do nothing, we are taking on great financial risk in a changing world, and our ratepayers will be leaving substantial dollars on the table.
“As our nation recovers from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, we of course must continue to support Wisconsin's bedrock industries like agriculture and manufacturing. But we must also position Wisconsin to lead in emerging sectors like clean energy. Numerous third party reviews, independent studies, and industry recognized research all show that the Clean Energy Jobs Act will create more than 15,000 net new jobs in Wisconsin, not just in new fields, but in construction, manufacturing, forestry, and agriculture …
“Across the state, companies like Virent, Johnson Controls, Orion Energy, Wind Capital Group, Waukesha Electric, ZBB Energy, Helios USA, Cardinal Glass, Renewegy, Nature Tech, Energy Performance Specialists, Tower Tech and many others provide good jobs for people producing alternative forms of energy. None of these companies would be producing these jobs without good public policy, aggressive energy efficiency efforts, and renewable energy standards.”
There's more–nearly eight pages, detailing the Commission's analysis of the proposed statute and noting that a conflicting study by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and Beacon Hill Institute is “of near zero value,” due to an inadequate series of assumptions. But the central message is clear enough, and is underlined for emphasis by Chairman Callisto: “[W]e will in all likelihood be spending more on electricity in the long run if we don't act now and enact enhanced renewable portfolio standards and take more aggressive action on energy efficiency.”