January 08, 2020
On Wednesday, Jan. 8, the Environmental Law & Policy Center released “Wisconsin Clean Energy Business Supply Chain: Good for Manufacturing Jobs, Good for Economic Growth and Good for Our Environment,” a directory of 354 Wisconsin companies in the clean energy supply chain and a policy road map for the state’s clean energy future.
Although clean energy supply chain businesses exist in every Wisconsin Congressional and State Senate District and in 93 of the 99 State Assembly Districts, one of the report’s findings was that those Wisconsin companies often find work on jobs in states with more progressive clean energy policies like Michigan and Minnesota.
“It’s time for Wisconsin to catch up to its neighbors and for the lawmakers in Madison to catch up to the small business owners popping up across the state,” said ELPC Executive Director Howard A. Learner. “Through smart policies that encourage homegrown solar and wind power, Wisconsin can become more energy independent and economically resilient.”
The businesses listed in the report include installers and component manufacturers, but also engineering and design firms, installers, repair services, construction firms and insurers, showing how clean energy spurs job growth throughout the economy.
“Imagine what we could do with strong policies to support Wisconsin’s only home-grown energy – renewable energy,” said report author and ELPC Wisconsin Senior Policy Advocate Andy Olsen. “Wisconsin can improve our environment while growing a clean energy economy. This is not a niche, separate thing for environmentalists and ecologists. It’s construction jobs and design jobs and polysilicon and repair work.”
Solar installer and Arch Electric Inc. President Ed Zinthefer, a master electrician with more than three decades of experience, said he has seen the Midwest’s renewable industry mature since he founded Arch in 2003. With 43 employees at their offices in Plymouth and Milwaukee, Arch Electric has built more than 800 custom solar projects, including commercial rooftop systems like the IKEA in Oak Creek, and residential and agricultural rooftop systems.
“In my first decade of business, Arch installed 1.6 megawatts of solar power,” Zinthefer said. “In 2017 alone, Arch installed 1.6 megawatts of solar. In 2018, Arch had installed 1.6 megawatts of solar by March 31. We have 25 megawatts of solar estimated for installation in 2020 with a continued growth trajectory expected for years to come.”