Energy Rationing Will Not Make Wisconsin Rich

by William Yeatman on January 2, 2009

In last Thursday’s Green Bay Press Gazette, environmentalist Dan Kohler and state Rep. Andy Jorgensen claim that Wisconsin consumers already are saving $200 million a year, thanks to the Doyle administration’s energy policies (Repower America and rebuild state’s economy,” 13/31/2008). Yet they fail to cite this assertion, and I seriously doubt its veracity.

For one thing, they attribute some of these supposed savings to a state requirement to generate 10% of Wisconsin’s electricity with renewables like solar and wind power. But alternative energy is more expensive than conventional energy. How does forcing consumers to use expensive energy reduce their utility bills?

Kohler and Jorgenson suggest that the rest of the $200 million comes from Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program, an educational outreach designed to teach businesses how to save money with energy efficiency. Yet no such claims are made on the Focus on Energy website.

Perhaps they took credit for the decline in energy use as a result of the economic downturn. Of course, that would be misleading. Then again, fake facts are the only way to defend the claim that we can all get rich by fighting climate change.

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