A Tale of Two States: Minnesota’s Clean Energy Policies Outpace Wisconsin’s

Bar chart showing nearly 4000 megawatts of wind and over 1000 mw solar in Minnesota, with under 1000 mw wind and under 100 mw solar in Wisconsin
Wind and Solar Energy Capacity in MN & WI

A retired friend who uses solar power suggested that ELPC do a study comparing Wisconsin and Minnesota on renewable energy policies and accomplishments. We expected to see a difference between Wisconsin and Minnesota’s policies, but the findings were still shocking. Minnesota has accomplished far more in renewable energy development as a result of more and better policies to fix broken energy markets. Minnesota clean energy policies make the playing field more level. They foster jobs and business growth, and they help provide clean energy benefits more widely across society and provide for future generations.

Bar chart comparing midwest states renewable electricity goals. Illinois and Minnesota plan to reach 25% renewable energy by 2025, Michigan aims for 15% by 2021, but Wisconsin only plans 10% by 2025
Wisconsin policy lags Midwest neighbors

While the vast majority of Wisconsinites want more renewable energy, today the state lags Minnesota. The badger state has suffered from weak policies, with a heavy coal reliance and fewer jobs and business opportunities. However, Wisconsin has already prospered due to companies serving nationwide, or even worldwide, renewable energy markets.

Wisconsin has the opportunity now to catch up and even pass up. With a bipartisan commitment, Wisconsin can become a renewable energy powerhouse, building on successes to date of the talents of a committed population. New and robust clean energy policies can propel Wisconsin “Forward” with business and job opportunities. We can learn from the experiences of other states and then “leap-frog” them to become, again, renewable energy leaders.

Special shout-out to graduate student Samantha VanDyke from the University of Michigan who helped spearhead this report and law student Austin Putz who provided research.

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