You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
A beginner's guide to clean, green energy: Groups collaborate on toolkit for municipal governments
Environment

A beginner's guide to clean, green energy: Groups collaborate on toolkit for municipal governments

{{featured_button_text}}

RACINE — Wisconsin environmental groups have collaborated on a guide to developing a clean energy plan for ground-level governments such as cities, villages and towns, across the state.

Last week, Wisconsin Conservation Voters, Renew Wisconsin and the John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club introduced Racine to its latest collaboration, the Wisconsin Clean Energy Toolkit, a how-to for municipal governments considering building up their renewable energy infrastructure and becoming more energy efficient.

“As support grows for clean energy, there is a need to help communities of various sizes with differing resources develop a plan for their transition to renewable energy,” the introduction reads.

The toolkit provides an overview of the current energy landscape in Wisconsin and steps some local governments have already taken in re-evaluating their energy sources. It also lays out some of the different levels of commitment entities can make, from the Paris Climate Accord to Green Tier Cities to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s Energy Independent Communities initiative. Then it walks them through strategies for reaching those goals.

At the launch held on March 12 at the Racine Public Library, 75 Seventh St., state Rep. Greta Neubauer, D-Racine, said that it will be a good resource for communities looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Neubauer also voiced frustration with the lack of environmental action at the state and federal level.

“We hope that at the state level we can catch up with what Racine is doing and what local governments around the state will do with this toolkit,” Neubauer said. “I will keep pushing for that but right now we need you to push all of us at the state level to take action.”

Step-by-step

With the toolkit in hand, Ariana Hones, the southeastern organizer with Wisconsin Conservation Voters, said the next step is for her and other Wisconsin Conservation Voters organizers distribute them to any and all government officials across the state.

“For a lot of communities, this is a new conversation. I think we’re all trying to catch up with all of the research,” said Hones. “So it breaks down those nitty-gritty topics and lays it out to someone who might not be friendly or might not be as familiar with clean energy.”

Among the government bodies WCV is targeting are school districts. Hones sees a synergy between building clean energy infrastructure and economy and educating the generation that will inherit it.

“We’re talking about climate change and climate solutions and jobs that are going to be in the green sector,” she said. “And also, as we’re doing this, we’re putting solar on our rooftops or we’re having climate justice curriculum in our schools.”

One of the highlights of the toolkit for Hones is a segment done in collaboration with Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski that lays out some of the financial resources available for municipalities.

“Especially to smaller communities ... a concern that I hear is, ‘How are we going to finance this?’ “ said Hones. “So it walks through that and says, ‘Hey, we can make this happen and there is a financial incentive to do so.’ “

Hones, who grew up in rural Wisconsin, said she would like to reach out to rural communities and see them take the lead on this issue. On one hand it is for the pragmatic reason that rural communities have more space to install solar panels and wind mills. On the other is the desire to see rural communities become hubs of the clean energy sector.

“I think clean energy jobs, green sector jobs, water sector jobs, those are really the jobs of the future,” said Hones. “I think a big question that I’m asking and trying to figure out is how can we be connecting these dots. How can we connect communities that have been really grounded in agriculture, grounded in manufacturing, how do we help transform these communities and connect these communities to clean energy jobs?”

The Wisconsin Clean Energy Toolkit is available for download at WisconsinEnergyToolkit.com.

“I think clean energy jobs, green sector jobs, water sector jobs, those are really the jobs of the future. I think a big question that I’m asking and trying to figure out is how can we be connecting these dots. How can we connect communities that have been really grounded in agriculture, grounded in manufacturing, how do we help transform these communities and connect these communities to clean energy jobs?” Ariana Hones, southeastern organizer with Wisconsin Conservation Voters

"I think clean energy jobs, green sector jobs, water sector jobs, those are really the jobs of the future. I think a big question that I'm asking and trying to figure out is how can we be connecting these dots. How can we connect communities that have been really grounded in agriculture, grounded in manufacturing, how do we help transform these communities and connect these communities to clean energy jobs?"

Ariana Hones, southeastern organizer with Wisconsin Conservation Voters

Quote
2
0
0
0
0

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Reporter

Christina Lieffring covers the City of Racine and the City of Burlington and is a not-bad photographer. In her spare time she tries to keep her plants and guinea pigs alive and happy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alert

Breaking News