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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

12,000 Wisconsin Jobs Tied to Renewable Energy

Nov 28, 2011 09:24PM

Photo: Steve Johnson, Convergence Energy

A new study by the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) finds that 171 Wisconsin companies are part of the wind energy supply chain, and 135 Wisconsin companies are part of the solar energy supply chain. The solar and wind industries thus provide more than 12,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

This job growth has been supported for years by utility incentives and state policies like Wisconsin’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and Focus on Energy Program. However, recent policy shifts have undermined clean energy development and job creation.

“Wind and solar energy development have created new jobs and business growth that Wisconsin needs,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “With over 250 local companies ready to grow, Wisconsin’s leaders should be looking for ways to advance public policies that encourage renewable energy development and progress in the state.”

Smart state and local policies can make a big difference in creating economic development and new jobs for the solar and wind sector. For example, low-interest loans provided by the state and the city of Milwaukee convinced Helios to locate and open the state’s first solar panel manufacturing plant in the city. “The Midwest is getting close to becoming a real solar hotspot,” said Helios’ General Manager Brent Brucker. “With a little more foresight on the part of state legislators, this region could really take off.”

ELPC surveyed businesses statewide to identify Wisconsin companies that are actively participating in the renewable energy supply chain. The list includes steelmakers, electrical component manufacturers, engineering firms and other longstanding businesses that are profiting from renewable energy development, as well as start-ups and small businesses developing cutting-edge clean energy technology.

The Environmental Law & Policy Center is the Midwest’s leading environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization. To download the complete report visit ELPC.org/WisconsinEnergy.

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