Forget Paris – Wisconsin Already Shifting away from Fossil Fuels

Gov. Tony Evers must have needed an easy win on Tuesday, when he vowed to fight climate change by committing Wisconsin to the terms of the Paris accord. That agreement calls for a 26-28 percent reduction in greenhouse gases from the 2005 levels by 2025 – something Wisconsin already made enormous strides toward long before Evers got elected.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) keeps detailed records on energy production, consumption, and emissions. According to its data, Wisconsin’s residents, businesses and government have increasingly demonstrated their commitment to the environment.

Between 2005 and 2016, Wisconsin reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 14.4 percent and overall energy consumption dropped by 10 percent. Wisconsin’s use of coal for energy production dropped 32 percent between 2005 and 2016, according to EIA’s data. The result of all these trends – today Wisconsin gets 20 percent of its energy from non-carbon sources (that includes all renewables and nuclear).

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) predicted in 2016 that renewable energy would continue to make up a larger percentage of the state’s energy production.

“Rather than being driven by future requirements of the Wisconsin RPS, this growth trend is driven by other forces, such as market opportunities, customer demand for additional renewable energy, and multiple processes involved in citing new projects. Therefore, actual production could be lower or higher than these aggregated electric provider estimates,” according to the PSC.