Global Warming Bill Misses Chance for Real Jobs

The largest source of carbon-free energy available to Wisconsin is nuclear energy.  Producing that energy in Wisconsin can keep energy dollars here.  That is why the Governor’s Global Warming Task Force recommended lifting the ban on new nuclear energy.

 In place of the outright ban, this bill bans production of nuclear energy beyond what is needed for in-state use. 

 “If this bill is about jobs, they should encourage the export of new nuclear energy,” said Bob Seitz, Executive Director of Wisconsin Utility Investors, Inc.  “The ban means we can buy energy produced by highly paid workers in other states but can’t invest in this carbon-free, green energy source to sell outside of Wisconsin.”

 “The conclusion of the task force and the Governor is that nuclear energy should be considered as a safe, clean alternative energy source,” said Seitz.  “So why shouldn’t Wisconsin workers build and run a plant that can export that clean energy?”

 Lacking the wind, sun or hydroelectric potential of many western states, Wisconsin is likely to remain a net importer of carbon-free energy.  The more low-carbon energy that is mandated, the more will be spent employing workers in other states instead of Wisconsin. 

 The ban on exporting new nuclear energy will cost Wisconsin consumers and businesses much more because the cost of constructing the plant cannot be spread to consumers in other states.

 Utilities and policymakers across the nation are turning to nuclear energy as the only option for large-scale production of reliable carbon-free energy.  As drafted, the bill would prevent Wisconsin from competing for these highly paid “green jobs.”

 “Proponents point out that Wisconsin exports $16 billion for “energy resources,”” said Seitz.  “Nuclear energy should be an option to reverse the flow of energy dollars from our state.

 A nuclear plant capable of exporting power beyond Wisconsin’s needs would bring billions of dollars of construction work in addition to the hundreds of people who would have high quality jobs for the next 50 or more years.  Average pay for a worker in the nuclear industry is $62,000.

 “This bill will raise energy costs by billions of dollars, threatening existing jobs,” said Seitz.  “Nuclear is the only energy source capable of limiting energy costs and creating a significant number of jobs in Wisconsin.”

 Wisconsin Utility Investors, Inc is a grassroots organization made up of over 16,000 small, individual investors in shareholder owned utilities serving Wisconsin.  Most members invest for their retirement and to build and grow Wisconsin.

 “Our members have put their money where their mouth is,” said Seitz.  “They are proud to have invested in Wisconsin.”

 WUI strongly opposes this Bill as written.

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