Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 22, 2022
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Think your electric bills are expensive now? They would explode under Gov. Tony Evers’ carbon-free by 2050 plan, according to a new report from a Minnesota think tank.
Electricity costs for Wisconsin families would increase by $1,960 in 2050, rising over $90 per month, the Center for the American Experiment asserts in “The High Cost of 100 Percent Carbon Free Electricity by 2050.” Commercial customers like small businesses, grocery stores, and other retailers, would see their electricity costs climb by an average of $6,108 per year through 2050, an increase of over $500 per month. Industrial companies would see electricity bills increase by an average of $262,292 per year, a hike of $21,857 per month. These costs would peak at $472,367 in 2050.
All told, Evers’ radical and expensive climate change initiative would cost Wisconsin ratepayers an additional $248 billion combined, the study shows. “Rising electricity prices would threaten jobs in energy intensive industries like manufacturing and agriculture. Jobs in the papermaking industry would be particularly at risk,” the study warns.
Evers plan could lead to devastating blackouts by 2050, if wind and solar output can’t keep up with demand. And it is very unlikely they will be enough to keep Midwest power on.
The report notes:
› Rising electricity prices would harm everyone, including schools. The Muskego-Norway School District, for instance, would see electricity costs increase by approximately $537,588 annually under the Evers Plan. This means the district would have to lay off nine teachers making an average salary of $58,000 per year to pay these higher electric bills or raise property taxes to keep them on staff.
› Under the Evers Plan, the electric grid would experience capacity shortfalls, which means there is not enough electricity on the grid to prevent blackouts, in half the years studied due to weather-driven fluctuations in electricity generation from wind and solar facilities.
› In contrast, utilizing Wisconsin’s existing coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants would reduce electricity costs by using almost fully depreciated power plants while maintaining a reliable grid.
Early in his term, Evers signed Executive Order 38. The edict required the establishment of the Wisconsin Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy (SCE). It also established an executive action to require 100 percent of Wisconsin’s electricity to be generated by carbon-free by the year 2050.
In April, Evers’ SCE issued its Wisconsin Clean Energy Plan, which demands carbon dioxide reduction of at least 60 percent by 2030, en route to carbon free by 2050. The plan suggests a carbon tax on energy and government mandates for carbon-free energy systems.
Evers’ plan is almost entirely dependent on wind, solar and battery storage. Here’s where reality gets in the way.
The plan requires Wisconsin to have 48,081 megawatts of wind capacity, 35,726 megawatts of solar, 41,702 megawatts of four-hour battery storage capacity, and 385 megawatt of small modular nuclear reactors online by 2050. In 2020, Wisconsin had just 724 megawatts of wind, 208 megawatts of solar, zero megawatts of battery storage, and zero megawatts of SMRs.
As it stands, Wisconsin’s electricity prices are the third-highest in the Midwest, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The American Experiment study concludes that building the wind turbines, solar panels, and battery storage facilities needed to meet the energy mandates put forward under the Evers administration carbon-free doctrine would cause Wisconsin to have the highest electricity prices in the country, compared to 2020 electricity rates. “Wisconsin stands at an energy crossroads,” the report’s authors state.
“The Badger State can either choose to prioritize reliable, low-cost electricity, or it can pursue the same policies as California, which have resulted in skyrocketing costs and rolling blackouts. Unfortunately, it appears Governor Tony Evers and some utility companies in the state have opted for the latter.”