Recent testimony by an independent economic analyst at a rate case hearing in Madison revealed that Wisconsin ratepayers are paying an unnecessary $75 million each year for energy. That's because it would cost $75 million less to purchase available renewables from the Midwest Independent System Operator than to operate the South Oak Creek power plant.
What might happen if We Energies shut down the South Oak Creek plant?
Air quality in the region would improve. This would lower the rate of respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and COPD. This would result in less suffering, longer life expectancy and reduced health-related expenses throughout southeast Wisconsin.
We Energies would save $75 million. Every year.
We Energies could use this money to begin the transition to solar and wind energy.
We Energies could use the money to begin phasing out the larger plant at Elm Road.
We Energies could use it to train its workers for the clean, renewable energy economy, while maintaining workers' wages during the transition.
We Energies could "buy out" all workers close to retirement age or We Energies could continue burning coal, despite it being more toxic and economically expensive.
It could continue burning coal through mid-century, as We Energies' Chairman Gale Klappa expects and told to an earnings analyst last August. (WSJ, Aug. 19, 2019).
Remember: That $75 million is not just a one-time savings. It would be available year after year.
So what will We Energies decide? What would a "good neighbor" do? What would a "good employer" do?
Carl Lindner, Racine
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