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WUWM's Susan Bence reports on Wisconsin environmental issues.

Tony Evers Buckles Down On Clean Energy Goals

Leah Qusba
Students who have been knocking on Wisconsin elected officials' doors asking for action to combat climate change joined Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes for the clean energy announcement Friday.

Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order Friday declaring a goal of attaining 100% clean energy throughout Wisconsin by 2050. Evers also announced the formation of an Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy. The office would promote the development and use of clean energy across Wisconsin.

“We’re also going to focus on how climate change disproportionately impacts communities of color and how it impacts our farmers and most rural parts of the state to make sure our solutions are beneficial for everybody in the state of Wisconsin,” Evers said.

Students representing the Alliance for Climate Education and Cream City Conservation Corps flanked state officials at the press conference.

READ: Wisconsin Teens Take Action On Climate Change

"I want to thank the youth who are standing with us today ... because in their eyes and in reality, their future may be bleak if we don’t act right now,” Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said.

Barnes says he'll be working closely with the new office of sustainability to make sure it works.

As for funding the clean energy push, Evers says he’ll be reallocating funds from his office and the Office of Administration to push the initiative forward.

READ: Could Wisconsin Utilities Go Carbon-Free By 2050

Evers says first steps will include setting energy-saving goals for state agencies.

As for buy-ins from energy utilities around the state, Evers says, “I feel confident that this executive order is in concert with the utilities of the state of Wisconsin.”

Public Service Commission (PSC) Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq says her agency hears from consumers throughout the state who increasingly say they want clean, reliable and affordable energy.

“We at the PSC understand that everything that is going to be occurring between now and 2050 will have a customer impact ... and we are ready and willing to find all sorts of solutions,” she says.

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Susan is WUWM's environmental reporter.
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