As technology innovations accelerate project development and
prices decrease, Wisconsin’s clean energy economy is growing every day. Wind prices
have declined 70 percent in the last decade, and solar prices have dropped 88
percent since 2009, which means an increase in economic opportunities.
Currently, Wisconsin receives over $1.6 billion in private investment from the
renewable energy industry. Most importantly, the Badger state is benefiting
from stable incomes for landowners, well-paying jobs for local communities, and
of course, low-cost, clean energy.
installed wind capacity is relatively low nationwide, with only 746 megawatts (MW) online, wind power keeps the lights
on in over 150,000 homes. Yet, the
state still receives up to $1 million in state and local taxes paid by the wind
industry every year, and another $7.6 million in annual land lease payments are
being paid to rural landowners.
solar capacity, however, is growing rapidly. Solar is already powering over 34,000 homes and another 1,700 MW are projected to come online over the next
five years. Solar is currently one of the cheapest electricity sources
available. The solar industry has already invested over $388 million in Wisconsin.
In addition, solar is the largest clean energy employer in Wisconsin, with 3,798 people working in
the state’s 194 solar companies, including 44 manufacturers, 90 installers and
developers and 60 other related companies.
energy sector is in the midst of a major transition to a clean energy economy. According to Clean Jobs
Midwest, more than 76,600 people were employed
in a clean energy job prior to COVID-19 in the Badger State. These jobs
grew 1.5 times faster than the state’s overall employment in 2019. Renewable
energy, which includes wind, solar and storage, is the second largest clean
energy employer in Wisconsin, with 5,958 workers. Although Wisconsin ranks 25th
in the nation for its installed wind capacity, it has 28 manufacturing
facilities that provide thousands of good-paying, family-supporting jobs making
products for the wind industry – the third-highest amount in the Midwest, next
to Ohio and Illinois.
By embracing renewable energy development, Wisconsin will benefit
not only from its low cost and low carbon output, but businesses will
benefit from the economic ripple effect that comes from such development, farmers
can diversify their income with land-lease payments that are steady and
drought-resistant; and citizens can benefit from the local jobs and an influx
of new tax revenue, which can be usedto support schools, roads and other
projects that benefit the entire community.
Everyone wins with wind and solar– and that’s just smart!